Quiksilver King of The Groms Ca. Qualifier
Monday, June 23, 2008
Goldenwest St. Huntington Beach Ca.
The last of the Quiksilver KOG qualifying series wrapped up yesterday at Goldenwest St. Huntington Beach. With the great run of south swell California has been experiencing the KOG was greeted to a mix of NW winds well and S swell creating a multitude of scoring opportunity for all involved.
A-frame peaks, crossed up wedges and clean lines were on tap as the kids, all 16yrs and under tore into HB’s variety pack of shreddable waves. With $100 Skins for each claimed heat winning claim, $500 DC Shoes Highest Wave Score, $200 Future Fins Most Futuristic Maneuver Award and Super Brand Surfboards Most Beat Board Award it was a sure bet this was going to be an all out grommet wave for wave beat down. Stand out performances were had by nearly all the young rippers.
Former ASP Men’s World Champion Tom Curren was on with his kids Patrick and Frank who both surf well beyond their years, evidence of the genetic genius in the Curren family DNA. Quiksilver’s grom brigade of Brogie and Kadin Panesi, Derek Peters, Matty Pasaquindici, Decker McCallister, Cole Moody, Hunter Johnson, Dylan Kowalski and Kelly Zaun also gouged serious tracks of merit. Andrew Jacobsen, Taylor Thorne, Riley Metcalf, Sam Branker, Shayne Nelson, Eric Heimstaedt, Ian Crane, Theo Lewitt, Evan Kane, Nick Fowler, Jeremy Carter and Jack Boyes all walked away happy some loot.
The real drama that is the KOG Skins format unraveled before everyone was between the following surfers, Kolohe Andino and Jared Thorne. Kolohe came out firing on all cylinders claiming a heat # 4 win followed by another in heat 6. Heat 8 things took an unexpected turn as he claimed a 6.0 point ride that was a shoe in for a skin, in what was an already low scoring heat. But Kolohe made a technical error by standing up on a small wave after his scoring claim. The Skins Format rules were announced over the PA prior to competition stating, “that any surfer standing up, riding a wave after his scored claim will be automatically disqualified from the heat.” Out for the round, but not from competition. His roll came to an abrupt halt but with 2 skins to his name kept him in contention going into round 2.
The ever consistent Jared Thorne opened up his KOG campaign with a string of heat wins in heats 5, 7, and 9 with 3 skins and the lead moving into round 2. In the 2nd round the heat draw is flipped. Now surfers starting in heat #1 now surf in the last heat of the day and vice versa giving the helgies a fair shake that had the last heat in round 1 a chance to go on a roll in round 2.
Groms made some moves but no ground was made up as it came down to Jared Thorne’s consistency in heat #10 that would set him apart from all but 1 remaining surfer, Kolohe Andino. Kolohe having regrouped from his previous mistake may be small in stature but if you shrink-wrapped the talent of a WCT surfer into the body of a 13 year old boy who throws fin wafts and carves like a man minus the spray, this is what you’ll get. He posted the KOG events only perfect score of a 10 point ride in heat #11 on a mid sized right hander opening with a critical fin drift float over the section to arcing carve straight into an air reverse off the oncoming whitewater section. Judges loved it, the crowd loved it and well, Kolohe loved it.
Kolohe stole another win in heat #13 leaving the KOG in a stalemate? This is where the fun and games of the KOG start to take shape when royalty is at stake. The groms were now in a death match “surf off.” The winning claim etching 1 grommet’s name into the 2008 KOG qualifying series history books. Jared and Kolohe were given an extra 5 minutes on the clock but time in the heat all but nearly elapsed with both surfers obviously fatigued from a hard days worth of ripping as they wobbled and bobbled thru the afternoon chop trying to make chicken salad oout of well, chicken you know what.
Kolohe’s winning wave ended on a chunky lefthander with a couple backhand lip blasts and a figure 8 carving off the final section for an 8.33 points. Kolohe Andino repeats history taking the win just as he did in 2006 at the very same venue. To date, he is the only 2x KOG Champion in the United States. Next Stop- KOG Global Championships during the WCT Quik Pro France, September. Live webcast of the event at Quiksilver.com.
DC Shoes Highest Wave Score: Kolohe Andino $500
Future Fins Futuristic Maneuver: Ian Crane $200
Super Brand Surfboards Custom Surfboard Award: Trent Popavich
Kolohe Andino $400
Jared Thorne $400
Evan Kane $200
Shayne Nelson $200
Andrew Jacobson $200
Kelly Zaun $200
Jack Boyes $200
Riley Metcalf $100
Hunter Johnson $100
Jeremy Carter $100