CARLSBAD, California (Thursday, September 4, 2008) - The Vans El Ponto Loco presented by Sun Diego continued today, completing Round 2 and Round 3 of competition in two-to-four foot surf. Only 32 of the event's top performers remain in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star event, the sixth of nine ASP WQS contests held in North America.
Today's action saw the event's top seeds hit the water against yesterday's standout competitors, with each surfer vying for the valuable ratings points on offer towards qualification for the ASP World Tour. Today's top performers included Brent Reilly (Carlsbad, CA), 18, Jason Miller, (San Clemente, CA), 22, Rylan McCart (Melbourne Beach, FL), 22, Brandon Guilmette (Huntington Beach, CA), 25 and Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 24.
Reilly, who is also competing in the Billabong Pro Junior event, was a standout in today's competition. The young talent earned the highest heat total of the day, a 16.50 out of a possible 20, claiming a Round 3 heat victory.
"I was just trying to better my scores," Reilly said. "I just sat outside and tried to wait for a set and hoped to just better each score and it worked out. I'm also riding a different board. I usually ride a swallow tail and I'm riding a round tail here and it's working good."
Reilly, a Carlsbad native and Ponto local, used his local knowledge to dominate his Round 3 heat and is enjoying having a contest so close to home.
"I surf here pretty much every day," Reilly said. "It's pretty cool to have a contest at home."
Guilmette matched Reilly's high heat total of a 16.50 out of a possible 20 in his heat. The Huntington Beach local used a clean backhand approach on the Ponto lefts to earn his high score, carving his way into Round 4.
"There were a few really fun waves that came through in that heat," Guilmette said. "I just lucked out again. I paddled out and saw a few waves that the guys were too deep on. Luckily I got a couple of waves."
Guilmette, who issued some of the top scores in yesterday's competition, was in form again today, taking advantage of the improved conditions on offer this afternoon.
"It's better out there today." Guilmette said. "Yesterday there was that tough rip current, and today it's a little easier. We don't have the current today and the waves are lining up a little better. It seems like there is a little more swell today and it's not as hard to catch waves."
The first heat of Round 3 offered explosive surfing from McCart and Miller, both earning some of the day's top scores by attacking the lefthanders on offer at Ponto. McCart started the heat off with a series of massive frontside blasts, earning a solid 8.75 out of a possible 10 for his opening ride to put him in the lead.
"I know that the judges want to see a committed first turn and I just tried to throw it up there," McCart said. "My board is working so good that I wanted to just keep going on that wave."
The Floridian followed up with a second single wave score of 7.25, for a combined heat total of 16.00 out of a possible 20 to fend off Miller for the heat win. Miller advanced to Round 4 in second behind McCart.
" I was sitting out there with Jason (Miller) just laughing," McCart said. "I was surfing further north and Jason was surfing further south. We were both covering the different peaks, kind of working together."
Miller answered back to McCart's big scores with one of his own. The regular-footer posted a near-perfect 9.50 out of a possible 10 with two committed backside snaps, earning the day's highest single wave score.
"I saw some well overhead sets going unridden in the heat before," Miller said. "I saw that medium size wave and I could see the bigger one on the horizon. I stood up and did a proper bottom turn and had a good top turn and the wave just stood up. It felt good. It was a little short though."
Miller tried to find a second score to take the lead from McCart, but was unable to find the wave he needed to post another big score. Miller still advanced in second behind the goofy-footer and will surf again in Round 4 tomorrow.
"I'm glad me and Rylan (McCart) made it through," Miller said. "It's the second time he's beat me in a row though."
Ettinger was another surfer who posted big scores today. The explosive goofy-footer is fresh off of the European leg of the ASP WQS and was in form at Ponto today, posting the day's second highest single wave score of a 9.25 out of a possible 10 point score.
"I was stoked when I got down here and saw that there were good waves," Ettinger said. "It's great to surf at home because there is so much pressure when you fly to an event. It's nice to be able to drive to an event and I love Carlsbad, so it's a good to have a reason to drive down here."
Tomorrow's action will include the men's Round 4, which includes the event's top 32 surfers, as well as the first two rounds of the Billabong Pro Junior Presented by Sun Diego. The event's top competitors will hit the water at 8am standard time.
For all of the LIVE action and heat scores check out www.vanssurf.com/ponto
Vans El Ponto Loco presented by Sun Diego Results
Round of 96: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 9: Rick Gannon (USA) 10.25, Heath Walker (AUS) 9.40, Chris Dennis (USA) 7.75, Nick Skawinski (USA) 5.95
Heat 10: Chris Davis (USA) 11.75, Sean Taylor (USA) 11.75, Alex Ganguli (USA) 10.80, Jensen Callaway (USA) 10.40
Heat 11: Cory Arrambide (USA) 14.00, Leif Engstrom (USA) 9.85, Jason Harris (USA) 9.25, David Giddings (USA) 8.90
Heat 12: Riley Metcalf (USA) 11.75, Nick Rupp (USA) 11.10, Johnny Craft (USA) 7.60, Tommy Bursian (PRI) 6.30
Heat 13: Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 11.70, Michel Flores (BRA) 11.50, Gabe Garcia (USA) 9.25, Eric Worley (USA) 5.95
Heat 14: Paul Pugliesi (USA) 10.40, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 9.95, Matt Mohagen (USA) 9.55, Tom Rezvan (USA) 7.65
Heat 15: Brett Barley (USA) 14.25, Eric McHenry (USA) 9.20, Matt Pagan (USA) 7.75, Matt Pagan (USA) 7.75
Heat 16: Magnum Martinez (VEN) 13.90, Justin Swartz (USA) 11.65, Peter Mel (USA) 9.25, Willie Safreed (USA) 7.80
Round of 64: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Rylan McCart (USA) 16.00, Jason Miller (USA) 13.75, Matt King (USA) 10.45, Matt Meola (HAW) 10.25
Heat 2: Brent Reilly (USA) 16.50, Dillon Perillo (USA) 8.60, Jordan Gaudet (USA) 7.80, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 5.65
Heat 3: Travis Mellem (USA) 13.25, Micah Byrne (USA) 9.40, Eddie Lester (USA) 7.00, Victor Done (USA) 4.60
Heat 4: Scott Hammonds (USA) 9.75, Shane Beschen (USA) 9.00, Chris Abad (USA) 9.40, Blake Jones (USA) 6.65
Heat 5: Brandon Guilmette (USA) 16.50, Kieran Horn (USA) 11.65, Sean Maceron (USA) 10.40, Matt Myers (USA) 5.85
Heat 6: Kevin Kapsky (HAW) 12.75, Matt Johnson (USA) 8.90, Blake Howard (USA) 8.10, Micah Mullen (USA) 6.75
Heat 7: Jason Collins (USA) 13.50, Nat Young (USA) 12.75, Sean Bacon (HAW) 8.15, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 7.60
Heat 8: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 15.00, Ted Navarro (USA) 13.65, Andrew Doheny (USA) 9.15, Duran Barr (USA) 5.25
Heat 9: Brad Ettinger (USA) 15.00, Sean Taylor (USA) 14.40, Rick Gannon (USA) 10.05, John John Florence (HAW) 8.98
Heat 10: Dane Johnson (USA) 11.50, Shey Yates (USA) 9.50, Heath Walker (AUS) 1.65, Chris Davis (USA) 1.50
Heat 11: Travis Beckmann (USA) 15.50, Cory Arrambide (USA) 12.65, Adam Virs (USA) 9.05, Nick Rupp (USA) 8.15
Heat 12: Richie Collins (USA) 10.20, Leif Engstrom (USA) 10.10, Riley Metcalf (USA) 10.10, Zach Keenan (USA) 7.75
Heat 13: Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 16.00, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 12.05, Darrell Goodrum (USA) 11.00, Dylan Melamed (HAW) 7.15
Heat 14: Casey Brown (HAW) 11.25, Noi Kaulukukui (HAW) 10.10, Michel Flores (BRA) 7.95, Paul Pugliesi (USA) 6.65
Heat 15: Evan Geiselman (USA) 15.85, Kyle Knox (USA) 14.25, Brett Barley (USA) 9.25, Justin Swartz (USA) 7.95
Heat 16: Magnum Martinez (VEN) 12.50, Josh Montgomery (USA) 11.85, Justin McBride (USA) 10.40, Eric McHenry (USA) 7.50