A day of upsets.
For the second day (Wednesday) of heats in the 2001 NSSA Nationals, a common theme surrounding the contest seemed to be upsets. In the main event, otherwise known as the Explorer Juniors division, there were some early losses for favorites such as Travis Mellem, Eric Taylor, Che Stang, Mike Klein, Tom Dosland, Sean Moody, and many other familiar names.
Stang, part of the Carlsbad team, still has a chance in the Open Mens, but doesn’t want to think about it. He’s been to the finals before, but could only pull fourth twice. The Nationals are important to him because, “It’s everything I’ve worked for so far,” says Stang. Although it’s probably his last year in the NSSA, he’s sure what life holds for him next year, “I’m gonna figure it out after the contest.”
Moody, who was winning his heat, got caught in a double interference with Shane Upchurch. Both would have made it, but got anxious with 30 seconds left and crossed up for the whammy and subsequently the loss. Flynn Novak also received an interference, but somehow squeeked through to the semi’s.
Names left include: Evan Valiere, Jonathon Flick, Cheyne Magnusson, Justin Ellingham, Dane Johnson, Nathaniel Carroll, Novak, Dustin Cuizon, Greg Long, Ian Walsh, Joel Centeio, and Justin Wiegand.
When you talk about contests at Trestles, you have to talk about interferences. Heat after heat, there’s usually one or two and it’s because surfers playing the game pay the price.
Years ago, a judge told me one thing everyone should hear before entering a heat at Lowers, “When in doubt, pull out.” If another competitor decides to try to call your bluff, better pull back — it’s not worth it.
Because contestants can choose to either go left or right, and in the Explorer division’s case there’s six guys battling, you have to be careful — strategy’s a huge part of the contest. Sure it’s an incredibly fun wave, but your best friend can be your enemy when the horn rings.
Another feature of the contest is the sponsor tents lining the point. There’s definitely been an increase from last year and that alone shows the importance of the contest.
And with the tents come Team Managers. They’re responsible for everything having to do with their junior members of the team whether it be feed them, house them, or babysit them. Nationals week is a very tedious week for these company soldiers — buy them a beer if you know one.
Today’s surf was somewhat inconsistent, but surprisingly still there. Although the wind picked up and the waves got smaller, it still was pretty fun and competitors were tearing it apart. There’s supposedly swell on the way for tomorrow. Until then. AC