Op Pro At Oceanside 2001 – Day 1

**** Puerto Escondido Local Stands Out on First Day of Op Pro at Oceanside Pier ****

OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA-USA (Wednesday, May 30, 2001) – Puerto EscondidolocalEric Ramirez was among the standouts on Day 1 of the Op Pro at Oceanside,the second stop on the 2001 Professional Surfing Tour of America (PSTA).

Overcast skies and a small but well-formed southwest swell greetedcompetitors in the Round of 144. Forecasts for both a moderate southernhemisphere swell and possible action from Hurricane Adolph later in theweekkept spirits high among the surfers.

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Hailing from the Mexican village of Puerto Escondido, known as the “MexicanPipeline” for its powerful beachbreak, Ramirez nonetheless looked strongandsmooth in the waist-high conditions on the north side of Oceanside Pier.

Asked to compare Puerto with the waves in his heat, he responded with alaugh, “I have NEVER seen Puerto Escondido look like this, never in mylife!” The 26-year-old Mexican is employed by his main sponsor, Squalo,andsays he intends to surf several PSTA/WQS events this year. He said his goalis to crack the top 100 of the ASP’s World Qualifying Series next year, andjudging by his performance today, that goal should be easily attainable.

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Also competing on Day 1 was Mickey Kook of Israel. Although he finished 3rdin his heat and failed to advance, Kook remained optimistic over hischancesin upcoming PSTA events. He has extensive contest experience in Israel,Europe and also in California, where he has lived for the past four years.He placed 7th in the College Men’s division of the NSSA for the past twoyears, and said he is gaining valuable contest strategy experience on thePSTA tour.

“The conditions were pretty good today, but I just needed to wait for thesets I guess,” said the Tel Aviv native. “I was stressing over the time,and I saw Dave (Baughman) get some good waves, so I lost my focus a littlebit. You’ve got to have patience, you have to wait for the sets.”Commentinghis unusual last name, Kook said he was actually the focus of a San Diegonewspaper article entitled, “A Kook In Search of Big Waves.”

“To be honest, I don’t even care (about the teasing). It actually helps inaway. People go, ‘you’re a kook and you surf pretty good!’ I’m not planningon changing it. Actually the biggest Rabbi in Israel has that name.”

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The Op Pro at Oceanside continues tomorrow with the scheduled appearance offormer three-time world champion Tom Curren, who will wear the black”Leader’s Jersey” as the tour’s current points leader and winner of thefirst PSTA event of the season, the Quiksilver Pro at Trestles.

Op Pro at Oceanside-Day 1 Results
Heat 1
1. Tom Steenbock 13.50
2. Josh Baxter 11.65
3. Peter Mussio 8.35
4. Alex Kamkoff 5.65
Heat 2
1. Travis Mellum 10.75
2. Andy Hobson 10.25
3. Jared Lang 7.25
4. Dylan Portillo 5.25
Heat 3
1. Eric Ramirez 11.60
2. Cody King 7.10
3. Sean Hayes 6.85
4. James Spires 6.35
Heat 4
1. Peter Rangel 12.50
2. John Robertson 12.00
3. Hagen Kelly 8.50
4. Chris Rodriques 7.10
Heat 5
1. Matt King 13.00
2. Gustav Reeataguy 11.25
3. Adam Virs 11.10
4. Kaden Alesantro 10.00
Heat 6
1. Nate Yeomans 10.25
2. Frank Walsh 9.00
3. Javier Carallo 6.75
4. Robby Munoz 4.00
Heat 7
1. Rodger Eals 10.25
2. Matt Yates 8.55
3. Joe Stauffer 8.35
Heat 8
1. Dave Baughman 13.25
2. Gabe Kling 10.00
3. Mickey Kook 7.50
4. Dan Kernion 7.25

For more information, event schedules and TV airdates:
http://www.psta.tv
http://www.op.com

Official Product and “PSTA Leader Jersey” sponsor:
Paul Mitchell http://www.paulmitchell.com
Surf forecast partner: Surfline http://www.surfline.com 976-SURF; Wavefax
National TV Partner:Outdoor Life Network http://www.olntv.com
California TV Partners: KCAL Channel 9 (Los Angeles) http://www.kcal.com
KION (Salinas-Monterey) http://www.kiontv.comKKFX ((Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo)