San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – October 30, 2009 - The monsters may not have been the mythical biological experiments from Plum Island, but there were monster waves crashing into Ditch Plains last weekend for the inaugural Surfing America Prime East Coast event.
Surfing America Prime presented by Got Milk brings a series of 3 events for the best East Coast “Under 18″ Surfers from the Eastern Surfing Association and the National Scholastic Surfing Association East to compete for coveted slots into the Surfing America USA Championships at Lower Trestles, CA, in late June 2010.
The events are all-4 man 20-minute heats, with Association of Surfing Professional judges, judging to ASP criteria. They are computer scored and professionally announced so that the surfers in the water know what scores they need to achieve to advance.
On Friday, October 23, PacSun USA Surf Team Coach, Ian “Kanga” Cairns, worked with PacSun USA Surf Team members and other competitors on mechanics and heat strategy. He videotaped the action in the water and played it back for the kids on the beach giving them tips to help them in the event the following day.
Saturday morning, the competitors were greeted with shoulder high surf with onshore winds. Not perfect, but highly contestable, so the first round of the event was on. By mid-afternoon, the wind was building from the south and the contest was postponed until Sunday morning, when Surfline.com was forecasting 6 – 8 foot peaks with offshore winds.
The wind quickly picked up to 50 kts and was followed by torrential rains; but by 3:00 AM the clouds parted and the stars shined through. By contest time Sunday morning, the surf showed 6-8 foot faces groomed to perfection by the offshore winds. It was like small Sunset, with a difference: 10-second intervals instead of 22, no breaks between sets, no channel to paddle out through, and 20° colder water. It was definitely a bicep burner day so the call was made for water starts with long, luxurious 30-minute heats.
The first final to hit the water was the Boys U14 division. The boys were tossed by the big conditions but they all managed to make it out the back and pick off some scoring waves. In the end, local knowledge paid off with Andrew Rooney from NJ taking the win with an 8.67 heat score.
Next up was Girls U16. This was some of the biggest surf many of these girls had experienced. They all put in a great effort, but in the end, local girl Quincy Davis showed that local knowledge and big wave experience in Puerto Rico put her in the pole position comboing the field with a 12.50 two wave total.
The boys in U16 lit it up. Cam Richards set the pace with and electric 1st wave that scored him a near perfect 9.83. Knox Harris answered with an 8.50 and a series of excellent mid range waves. Cam sealed the deal with a 9.33 on his 3rd wave and left Knox and Pat Schmidt scrambling for second. Despite throwing down a 6.73 near the end of the heat, it wasn’t enough to overcome Knox Harris for the second slot and Cam Richards sat comfortably in 1st with a 19.16 heat score, the highest of the day.
That high score held, however, only until the Girls U18 division hit the water. A visibly determined PacSun USA Team member, Jasset Umbel, had a plan. USA Team Coach, Coach Ian Cairns told her, “Go outside, wait for sets and make sure you get two bombs and tear them up”. She listened and she executed. She made her way outside and spun and paddled on a way overhead set. With the offshore winds, she hung momentarily at the top of the wave but made the drop, squared off the bottom, and then carved off the top. As the wave softened she finished with a big roundhouse cutback and made her way back outside. The judges rewarded her with a 9.33. She was barely visible on the outside when a macking set came through. She passed on the first couple of waves and went on one of the biggest sets of the day and proceeded to rip the bag out of it. The judges rewarded her with 10′s across the board giving her the win, the high wave score, and the highest heat score of the event.
The final heat of the day was Boys U18. This was a virtual slugfest with all of the boys trading waves in the good to excellent range. Nick Rupp opened with a 7.00 and quickly put the pack on their heels. Hector Santa Maria answered back mid heat with an 8.00, but Rupp tightened the screws with a 7.67 and 7.93 back to back. Hector managed a 6.60 for his last wave, but Nick held on for the win by a 1.00 margin.
This was an incredibly successful inaugural Surfing America Prime East. We look forward to our next event at Sebastian Inlet, FL, March 6 & 7, 2010.
“On behalf of Surfing America Prime, I’d would like to thank ESA and NSSA for supporting the development of their best young aspiring surfers,” said Greg Cruse, Surfing America’s Prime Series Director. “In particular, we’d like to send a very special thanks to ESA’s New York Co-Director, Rick Anthony, for all his personal hard work and support. Without Rick, we might not have held the scaffold together through the storm on Saturday night!”
BOYS UNDER 18
1. Nick Rupp, 15.60 – Shallotte, NC
2. Hector Santa Maria, 14.60 – Puerto Rico
3. Shane Burn, 12.56 – Wilmington, NC
4. Cam Richards, 12.06 – Garden City, SC
BOYS UNDER 16
1. Cam Richards, 19.16 – Garden City, SC
2. Knox Harris, 15.27 – Ocean Isle Beach, NC
3. Pat Schmidt, 13.90 – Manasquan, NJ
4. Noah Schweizer, 5.00 – New Smyrna Beach, FL
BOYS UNDER 14
1. Andrew Rooney, 8.67 – Brielle, NJ
2. Tyler Faulkner, 7.50 – Carolina Beach, NC
3. Daniel Glenn, 6.20 – New Smyrna Beach, FL
4. Luke Kelly, 2.43 – Ocean City, NJ
GIRLS UNDER 18
1. Jasset Umbel, 19.33 – Melbourne Beach, FL
2. Emily Ruppert, 3.84 – Indialantic, FL
3. Jessica Kwiecinski, 1.67 – Jackson, NJ
4. Quincy Davis, 0.00 – Montauk, NY
GIRLS UNDER 16
1. Quincy Davis, 12.50 – Montauk, NY
2. Darsha Pigford, 3.66 – Wilmington, NC
3. Emily Ruppert, 2.40 – Indialantic, FL
4. Jessica Kwiecinski, 1.70 – Jackson, NJ
The Surfing America Prime East Series consists of three stops at top breaks on the East Coast:
Ditch Plains, Montauk, NY – October 24 – 25, 2009
Sebastian Inlet, FL – March 6 – 7, 2010
Outer Banks, NC – April 24 – 25, 2010
Ratings, based on the top two event scores, will determine invites for the Surfing America USA Championships presented by Verizon Wireless at Lower Trestles in June 2010. The PacSun USA Surf Team will be selected after the USA Championships.
Surfing America Prime presented by Got Milk? is proud to be sponsored by the California Milk Processor Board, PacSun, Billabong, Hurley, New Era, O’Neill, Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Verizon Wireless, Surfer, Surfing, TransWorld SURF, Surfline.com, Fuel TV, and Eastern Surf Magazine.
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