Hana Surfers Finish 1-2 at ASP 3-Star Event

July 11, 2012, 2:44 PM HST · Updated July 11, 3:12 PM
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Maui surfer Hank Gaskell holds the winner’s check worth $8,000. Photo by Tony Roberts.

By Rodney S. Yap

A pair of Hana surfers found themselves locked in a championship duel Sunday of an Association of Surfing Professionals three-star event in El Salvador.

The finals of the Copa Quiksilver, El Salvador, staged at a pristine break that offered 4- to 6-foot waves conditions, is where Hank Gaskell defeated fellow Mauian Dege O’Connell.

Gaskell saved his best for the finals, earning the highest single-wave score of the competition, 9.33 out of 10, due to an array of power carves, hacks and a frontside air. Gaskell added a scoring wave of 6.50 shortly thereafter to ensure the victory.

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“That was exciting,” Gaskell said. “It was so much fun out there and I couldn’t have pictured a better final, surfing with one of my best friends. Dege killed that one wave and luckily for me it wasn’t as nice as the one that I had.”

Hank Gaskell was on top of his game Sunday in El Salvador. Photo by Tony Roberts.

“I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say, the waves are just pumping right now. I felt really shaky in my heats this morning and relaxed after a semifinal and felt really good. I had a really good board and thanks to everyone who supported me.”

O’Connell relied mostly on his power moves to advance to his first career ASP men’s final, but was unable to get the same quality of waves in the final and finished runner-up.

“I couldn’t feel better,” O’Connell said. “This is the first final I’ve ever made in a men’s event and it’s at a perfect point break. The wave suits my surfing and I’m staying with my best friends. We’ve been psyching, surfing early and getting familiar with the wave on every tide and I guess it paid off.”

O’Connell was elated with his entire experience at El Salvador and sharing the final with a friend offered the ideal finish.

“This is one of the sickest point breaks I’ve ever surfed,” O’Connell said. “When you’re on the right wave, you just connect the dots. It’s hard to get scores, the judges are being conservative and I think it’s good. The waves are amazing, the people are nice and I’m surfing perfect waves with my friends.”

Shane Beschen, former standout on the ASP WCT, matched his performance from 2011 with an equal third-place finish. The veteran campaigner looked sharp throughout the entirety of competition, but was unable to surpass Gaskell in their semifinals heat.

 Copa Quiksilver El Salvador Final:

1. Hank Gaskell (HAW) 15.83 — $8,000
2. Dege O’Connell (HAW) 11.04 — $4,000

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