Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Basque Goes to the ASP World Tour

This interview comes to us thanks to Surfline:

Aritz Aranburu First Ever Basque and Spanish Surfer To Qualify For The ASP World Tour

February 4, 2008

Name:Aritz Aranburu
Age: 22 years old
Lives in: Zarautz, Euskadi
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Pukas , DC

After almost a decade of competition and training, two runner-up places on the ASP Europe Junior ratings in 2005 and 2006, several wins on the European Pro Surf Tour events including his latest and mot exciting Zarautz Pro Surf crown at his home town of Zarautz, Basque Country, Aritz Aranburu has become the first ever Basque and Spanish surfer to get his ASP World Tour pass. It all started in Zarautz, world famous surf town of the Basque country which used to host some of the biggest events of the World Qualifying Series in the past. Being a smart and focused kid, Aranburu grew up fast with the right state of mind to become a champion. Always ready and fit, Aritz made his way to the top of surfing's hierarchy step by step, learning all the keys to becoming a professional surfer with great determination.

"My coach always told me that I had to get through every level to believe in my ASP World Tour chances. To become a top 45 member, I always had it clear that I had to be champion of my town first, then my country, then the ASP Juniors, then the ASP European Pro Surf Tour, etc... I missed out the Junior title twice but eventually got the 2007 European Pro Surf Tour championship, before finishng the year with this great qualification for the ASP World Tour. All I could hope for..." says Aranburu when asked about his career.

Since he became a full time WQS campaigner in 2006 where he impressed by his attitude and focus, getting a 3rd place finish in the O'Neill Highland Open 5 Star WQS, Aranburu lost no time and kept working hard to reach his goal. In 2007, he started the year with a win at the Hang Loose Pro 5 Star Prime WQS and then kept pursuing his dream, securing his elite spot in the second last event of the year, the Reef Haleiwa Pro 6 Star Prime WQS in Hawaii. Aritz Aranburu will be one of Europe's Fantastic Four to start at the end of the month his maiden ASP World Tour year, and we wanted to get a few words from the man himself.

1. You are the first Basque, and Spanish to make it to the top 45. How has it been at home? Crazy? Difficult?

Its been an amazing time... After my final in Lacanau, things got bigger and bigger at every event. When I won the Zarautz event at home, local people and were going crazy and I felt a big support. It was really nice to see how people get involved and support you because they feel like you can represent them well. I had a couple of great emotions, and off course some big parties to celebrate! I don't party a lot but when it comes with the results, it's just so good!

2. You secured your spot in Haleiwa with this beautiful semifinal. How was the end of the year?

The contest in Haleiwa was some big time.The waves were huge, powerful and massive but I was having a lot of fun every heat I was paddling out for. I got smashed a couple of times by really big sets but it ended very well for me. It was really amazing for me to end up the year like that. I feel like this semifinal in such a major event, and moreover in Hawaii, gave me a lot of confidence and I prooved to myself I could keep going this way. Perfect before the ASP World Tour kicks off, very soon...

3. You had a very focused and serious training in 2007. Do you feel prepared and fit to sur against some world champions?

I am definitely ready to face some of the big names of the top 45. I mean wouldn't I? I've been training hard, always focused on my targets and I will keep going like this for the whole year. Everything starts now, because once you are on tour, you don't want to miss it because of stupid mistakes. The only thing I've had on my mind so far is to start the tour with the best feeling possible, regarding mental and physical aspects, and boards.

4. What about the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and its Superbank?

I just love this wave. I've been surfing there for a few winters now and I can't wait to hit the water for my first heat of the year.

About ASP

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the governing body of professional surfing. Crowning surfing's undisputed world champions since 1976, the ASP sanctions the following tours: the Foster's ASP World Tour, the ASP Women's World Tour, the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and the World Longboarding, Junior and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world's best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.

I find the insistence on adding "and Spanish" right after the mentions that Aritz is Basque quite amusing. Makes me wonder why the main stream media does not rely on the "ethnic Basque" label like they do with the "ethnic Albanians" from Kosovo.

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