O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro: Day 3 Update & Photos

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America
O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro presented by Ron Jon, ASP WQS 4-Star
Sebastian Inlet, Florida, United States of America
January 12-18, 2009

Explosive Surfing in Stormy Conditions at O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro

SEBASTIAN INLET, Florida (Friday, January 16, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro pres. by Ron Jon saw big scores amassed in the stormy three-to-four foot (1 metre) surf on offer today at Florida’s famed inlet.

The O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro marks the first event of the 2009 ASP WQS season, with all competitors striving to earn one of 15 spots available on the prestigious ASP Dream Tour at season’s end. Surfers at this year’s O’Neill SI Pro are looking to start their year off in the right direction with a good result at the 2009 season opener.

Jesse Heilman (Daytona Beach, FL), 22, smashed the event’s highest single wave score of an 8.83 out of 10 in the opening seconds of his Round 3 heat by issuing two committed forehand cracks on a Sebastian Inlet lefthander. The young Floridian battled the strong current throughout the remainder of his heat in order to find the backup score needed to advance into Round 4.

“Right after the hooter I got that wave and I couldn’t believe it,” Heilman said. “Right as the flag went up I was paddling into this sick old left and had a couple of snaps on it. I was pretty stoked to get that one right off the bat, but I couldn’t find anything afterwards. I ran up the beach and paddled for 15 minutes without catching a wave.”

Heilman, who has spent several of his amateur years competing at Sebastian Inlet, prefers today’s stormy conditions in comparison to the small, cleaner surf on offer in the opening days.

“It’s pretty much a classic Sebastian contest day for me,” Heilman said. “When I began competing in amateur events the conditions would always be all north wind and nasty, so I’m pretty used to it. I’d rather have it be like this, than one-foot and everyone fighting for waves. It’s definitely just you and the ocean out there.”

Asher Nolan (Jacksonville, FL), 30, blasted the event’s highest heat total of a 15.27 out of 20 by taking advantage of the racy lefthanders provided by the north wind produced by the Atlantic Ocean.

“I definitely feel like my endurance isn’t as good it should be,” Nolan said. “I was feeling kind of worn-out out there. With all of the paddling and running, you have to be in good shape out there, but when I did catch a wave I had fun. There were some fun lefts out there and I like the little quick lefts.”

Although Nolan doesn’t surf Sebastian Inlet that often, but he has consistently found success here in the past, including a fourth place finish in 2007. Nolan is hoping he can add another impressive result to his list of accomplishments this year.

“I’ve always had really good luck out here even though I don’t really come down here that often,” Nolan said. “I really enjoy this event. There are always chunky waves like this out here. It’s a little faster, has more power and it suits my surfing.”

Considering that the O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro is the biggest East Coast event of the year, Nolan feels that the event offers up bragging rights for the top Floridian finisher.

“This is a big event for bragging rights in Florida for sure,” Nolan said. “Anytime that a North Florida guy comes down here and does well it always feels good even though all of these guys are my friends. I’m not doing the ‘QS full time anymore and it’s more about coming down here, having fun and hanging out. I still love to compete, but I’m having fun.”

Jason Miller (San Clemente, CA), 22, posted an impressive heat total of 15.00 out of 20, one of the event’s highest, by combining a string of backhand blasts on a two Inlet lefts. The Californian needed to muster up all of his energy to claim the heat win in the challenging conditions.

“About half way through that heat I got a good score,” Miller said. “I guess it was a seven something. I got out, ran up the beach through the deep sand and I didn’t think I was going to make it out after that. I was completely out of gas.”

Miller’s heat win was no easy feat, as he battled the intense current that was sweeping competitors into the pier in order to find his last score.

“I started getting swept down the beach and was able to get another good score and by the time I kicked out I was about 10 feet from the pier,” Miller said. “There was the strongest current and wind blowing me directly into the pier. I definitely had a bit of a fright. It’s non-stop paddling the whole time. It is pretty much nightmare conditions. I think I duckdove about 100 waves and surfed three.”

Tomorrow’s O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro pres. by Ron Jon competition will run Round 4 for four hours tomorrow beginning at 8am local time and then take an intermission for the Red Bull Tow At. The O’Neill SI Pro will reconvene at approximately 4pm to continue competition.

For all of the LIVE O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro pres. by Ron Jon action log on to www.oneillsipro.com

For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org

O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro pres. by Ron Jon Round 3 Results:
Round of 96: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Jacob Kirschenbaum (USA) 11.33, Alejandro Moreda (PRI) 9.00, Ryan Briggs (USA) 8, Scott Posner (USA) 5.00
Heat 2: Andrew Gahan (USA) 12.10, Magnum Martinez (VEN) 10.66, Devon Tresher (USA) 6.30, Eric Worley (USA) 5.33
Hea 3: Oliver Kurtz (USA) 13.83, Manuel Selman (CHL) 10.16, Nick Rozsa (USA) 8.90, Bobby Morris (USA) 3.57
Heat 4: Matt Mohagen (USA) 11.07, Danny Estes (USA) 11.00, Nick Rupp (USA) 6.84, Dylan Melamed (HAW) 6.04
Heat 5: Jason Miller (USA) 15.00, Travis Beckmann (USA) 14.67, Sean Tubbs (USA) 7.17, Cody Thompson (USA) 6.50
Heat 6: Jody Davis (USA) 12.17, Jesse Heilman (USA) 11.70, Chris Abad (USA) 10.67, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 6.13
Heat 7: Matt Meola (HAW) 10.50, Gabe Garcia (USA) 9.23, Kyle Ramey (HAW) 8.10, Kyle Knox (USA) 7.50
Heat 8: Sean Marceron (USA) 11.57, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 11.00, Albee Layer (HAW) 8.74, Adam Virs (USA) 5.67
Heat 9: Aaron Cormican (USA) 12.16, Brent Reilly (USA) 11.03, Dege O’Connell (HAW) 11.00, Granger Larsen (HAW) 9.36
Heat 10: Brett Barley (USA) 12.17, Phillip Goold (USA) 7.16, Brandon Ragenovich (USA) 6.93, Kellen Ellison (USA) 4.10
Heat 11: Asher Nolan (USA) 15.27, Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) 10.23, Kyle Garson (USA) 6.67, Rylan McCart (USA) 5.94
Heat 12: Ryan Helm (USA) 13.77, Ron Keindl (USA) 9.90, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 8.67, Tommy O’Brien (USA) 7.33
Heat 13: Noi Kaulukukui (USA) 12.5, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 7.84, Matt Wetmore (USA) 5.07
Heat 14: Alek Parker (USA) 9.57, Matt Pagan (USA) 8.83, Dylan Southworth (MEX) 7.74, Brandon Guilmette (USA) 5.53
Heat 15: Darrell Goodrum (USA) 12.17, Ted Navarro (USA) 7.74, Matt Keenan (USA) 6.90, Jimmy Herrick (USA) 5.37
Heat 16: Nils Schweizer (USA) 14.84, Sebastian Moreno (USA) 8.10, Eddie Guilbeau (USA) 5.97