FORMER Tathra local Kai Otton has won his first Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) event.
In the early hours of Friday morning (AEDT) Otton prevailed over the USA’s Nat Young to claim honours in the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
He dedicated the win to his late granddad and thanked everyone from his hometown of Tathra for their amazing support.
The event was stop nine from 10 in the 2013 World Championship Tour (WCT), the Rip Curl Pro Portugal finished with five rounds of action-packed competition on Thursday, Portugal time.
Otton’s 30-minute final against Young was described as “wave-starved” by the ASP with small waves between three-to-five feet.
However, Otton was not deterred by the conditions, posting the highest score on his opening ride and gaining momentum in a tactical affair to eventually defeat Young.
Otton said it was a big challenge with swiftly changing conditions on the day.
“It seems like this event was a bit of a grind, every heat the tide changes so dramatically you never really knew what was going to happen,” Otton told ASP media.
Otton’s opponent, ASP rookie of the year, Nat Young said the small waves during the final were “frustrating”.
“I couldn’t really get one good wave,” Young said.
“I’ve been searching up and down the beach for waves and I was exhausted in the end.
“After getting that close a second place is heart-breaking for sure, but it’s still a great result, and rookie of the year is amazing too,” he said.
Otton said he was ecstatic with his first career ASP WCT win.
“It’s the weirdest feeling ever, I just can’t comprehend it,” Otton told the ASP.
“I really want to dedicate it to my granddad.
“He passed away the year I qualified and never saw me on tour so this is for him,” he said.
The win sees Otton advance to number seven in the ASP WCT rankings after what has been one of the most consistent seasons from any surfer on the tour.
His road to victory in Portugal saw him beat a flock of the world’s best.
ASP officials said the goofy-footer was unstoppable on the final day of competition, defeating Hawaii’s John John Florence, two-time ASP world champion and current standings leader Mick Fanning and reigning ASP world champion Joel Parkinson.
Otton said changes in his home life had seen a shift in his performances for the better.
“One of the things that has changed for me this year is my girlfriend being pregnant,” Otton said.
“I’m really excited about that.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s the next chapter I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
Otton said he had tremendous support during the year which helped him during his top performance of his career.
“It’s amazing to have all of the support, all my home town of Tathra, my mum and dad who support me all of my career.
“To get here is a kind of pinnacle for me,” Otton said.