Mike Losness Wins The 2009 Vans Pier Classic; Dillon Perillo Goes Ironman
After Saturday’s summer-like weather complete with bikini clad beauties frolicking on the beach, Sunday at the Vans Pier Classic at Huntington Beach Pier was like a cold kick in the…well you get it, it was freezing! Onshore winds created a bit of havoc on the crossed-up, head-high swell, but like the say, the show must go on, and for the first time in three years, someone not from Huntington Beach won the Vans Pier Classic. That someone was none other than San Clemente’s Mike Losness, who took out a talented field en route to his first WQS win a several years.
I gotta admit that I was a little perplexed earlier in the week when I saw Mike Losness’ name among those gunning for the Vans Pier Classic title. Wasn’t this the same Losness that should be in Tasmania for the O’Neill Coldwater Classic since it offered more points toward the ultimate goal of making the World Championship Tour? “Yeah I’ve been getting that question a lot lately,” said Mike when I asked him why he passed on a 6-star event in favor of the WQS rated 2-star Van Pier Classic. “If I would have gone to Tasmania, I’d have been gone for seven weeks before coming home and heading straight to South Africa. Even though I did pretty well, doing the entire WQS last year took a lot out of me so this year I’m just doing select events and focusing mostly on the movie Reef is doing. I really just want to have fun and time to spend with my family.” While not going to Tasmania seemed a bit odd at first, Mike is already at home in San Clemente with his wife and a big ol’ check for $5,000…we’re guessing Mrs. Losness is quite happy her hubby stayed home.
Dillon “Ironman” Perillo
It seemed like every time I looked up into the blustery Huntington Beach surf, Ezekiel Pro Junior Champion Dillon Perillo was riding a wave. The kid from Malibu surfed an incredible seven heats today, and won the Ezekiel Pro Junior as well as placing second in the Vans Pier Classic against the big boys where he finally hit the wall, “I was so exhausted, I tried my hardest, but every time I went to do a turn my feet kept slipping.” At one point in the morning, Perillo surfed three heats in a row, winning all of them with his smooth style and big maneuvers.—JC
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2009 Vans Pier Classic Final Results
1) Mike Losness (USA) 16.15 $5,000
2) Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.10
3) Hank Gaskell (HAW) 12.75
4) Eric Geiselman (USA) 12.75
Ezekiel Pro Junior Results
1) Dillon Perillo (USA) 17.80
2) Andrew Doheny (USA) 14.35
3) Luke Davis (USA) 12.75
4) Spencer Regan (USA) 12.75
Official ASP Press Release:
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, March 29, 2009) – Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA), 28, claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Vans Pier Classic pres. by Jack’s Surfboards today over fellow finalists Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, who won the Ezekiel pro Junior and finished in second in the men’s event, Hank Gaskell (Hana, HI), 22, and Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 21, in windy two-to-four foot (1 metre) conditions at South Huntington Beach Pier this afternoon.
All surfers competing in the Vans Pier Classic were looking to better their seed towards qualification for the ASP World Tour and ASP Pro Junior surfers were out to kick 2009 off on a good note at their season opener. ASP North American Pro Junior Series competitors look to finish in the top five on the series to qualify for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Losness jumped out to an early lead in the Vans Pier Classic Final by dropping an impressive 8.5 out of 10 on his first wave with several crushing backside blasts on a right-hand Huntington wall. He eventually put the nail in the coffin over his fellow finalists when he dropped a back up score of 7.65 out of 10, solidifying the win.
“It was tough to hear out there and I could kind of hear that I had the 8.5,” Losness said. “I knew I needed another good score though because all of the other guys have been surfing so well throughout the entire event. It seemed like Dillon (Perillo) was getting an 8 on every wave, so I knew I needed another score.”
The explosive goofy-footer felt the key to his success at the Vans Pier Classic was partially due his relaxed approach to surfing in the event.
“The waves were not amazing all week, they were kind of small, but still contestableand still fun,” Losness said. “I came up to this event not expecting too much, I had the goal of making the Quarterfinals and once I made that I figured anything after this is good. It’s cool once you set goals for yourself like that, if you don’t tell yourself that you have to win the event, for me, once I set my goal, I usually do better because I’m happy with myself and I can go from there.”
Perillo was in domineering form throughout the event’s entirety and tore his way through to both the ASP WQS and ASP Pro Junior Finals. The up-and-coming Californian made his progressive fins-free turns and air-reverses seem effortless throughout the five-day contest and claimed the Ezekiel Pro Junior and finished runner-up in the Vans Pier Classic. The Ezekiel Pro Junior win sees Perillo atop the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings for 2009.
“I’m so stoked to have won the first contest,” Perillo said. “Every heat I just tried to stay focused and do the same thing and I had three heats back-to-back. I just had fun and tried to not get too tired.”
Despite surfing seven heats on the final day of competition, Perillo gave the ASP WQS Final his all and ran out of gas while attempting to overtake eventual Vans Pier Classic champion, Losness.
“Mike pretty much blew us out of the water,” Perillo said. “I was trying to win, but then I was just trying to get second. I was so exhausted, I tried my hardest, but every time I went to do a turn my feet kept slipping.”
Luke Davis (Capo Beach, CA), 16, finished in third overall in the first Final appearance of his ASP Pro Junior Series career alongside Perillo, Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 16, who finished second and Spencer Regan (Santa Barbara, CA), 19. The young Californian’s surfing has significantly matured over the off-season, making Davis a standout throughout the Ezekiel Pro Junior’s entirety.
“I’m super stoked to make the Final in the first event,” Davis said. “The waves picked up today and it’s good to be able to start the year off strong.”
The next event on the ASP North American calendar will be the ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro running in conjunction with ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior from April 28 through May 2, 2009.
To check out highlights from the Vans Pier Classic and Ezekiel Pro Junior log on to www.vans.com