CARLSBAD, California (Saturday, September 6, 2008) Casey Brown (Kona, HI), 20, claimed a win at The inaugural Vans El Ponto Loco presented by Sun Diego today over Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, Jason Collins (Santa Cruz, CA), 34 and Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, in one-to-three foot surf at Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, California.
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star event marks the completion of six of nine events held in North America, with all ASP WQS events offering points towards qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour.
Brown jumped out to an early lead over the field but the experience and patience of Collins seemed to be paying off. Collins caught a wave that offered an inside air section that was enough to bump him into the lead over the goofy-footer, but Brown answered back to Collins' score with one of his own. Brown's second score proved to be enough for the win.
"I haven't won an event in such a long time," Brown said. "It's a good confidence booster because I can't remember the last time I won an event."
Brown was a standout throughout the event's entirety. The young Hawaiian earned his Final berth in a wave-starved Semifinal heat by posting a 7.00 score out of a possible 10 in the closing minutes of competition, advancing him into the Final.
"I've never made a final before, so I'm stoked," Brown said. "Even though this event is only a 2-Star it feels good. This event has been really good practice for me because I'm leaving for a contest tomorrow in Spain. It feels good to come over here and do well."
Perillo was a standout in both events this week and the 2nd place finish marks the best result of his career. Perillo caught a wave in the final seconds of competition, but it wasn't enough to take the lead from Brown. The regular-footer posted the highest heat total of the event yesterday in the ASP Pro Junior contest with an impressive 18.25 out of a possible 20 point score and was one to watch in today's event.
"This is the best result I've ever had," Perillo said. "This feels better than winning at nationals and I'm stoked to have made the Final."
Collins, an ASP WQS veteran, made his first Final appearance in two years, but was unable to fend off the young standouts, finishing 3rd behind Brown and Perillo.
"My board was working really well and I'm pretty happy," Collins said. "This is my first Final in a couple of years, so I'm happy to have made it."
Ettinger surfed solid all the way up to the Final and finished in 4th overall. The Huntington Beach native was happy with his performance.
"This event has been so special," Ettinger said. "I had so many good heats and to get in the Final feels really good. To be able to surf close to home and do well just feels really good."
Running in conjunction with the Vans El Ponto Loco was the inagural Billabong Pro Junior presented by Sun Diego. Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 17, won the ASP North America Pro Junior Series Grade-2 event over fellow finalists Blake Jones (Melbourne Beach, FL), 20, Brent Reilly (Carlsbad, CA), 18 and Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 15.
All surfers on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series are working towards compiling their best six results towards qualification for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships held in Narrabeen Australia each January. The Billabong Pro Junior at Ponto Beach this week marks the eighth of 10 events on the series, with the top five surfers at year's end earning a chance to showcase their talent against the world's top junior competitors.
Young posted two solid scores for a come from behind win over Jones, who jumped out to an early lead. With Jones unable to find a second score, the surfer from Santa Cruz was able to find two longer lefts that gave him the scores needed to claim the win.
"I'm so stoked with the win," Young said. "I got kind of lucky because Blake (Jones) had the 9.00 and he would have won if he was able to find a second score, but Im stoked with the win."
The Billabong Pro Junior victory secures Young's No. 3 spot on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, significantly improving his changes of qualification for the Billabong ASP World Tour.
"I think my worst result is a fourth place in the Quarters, so I'll definitely be improving on that by making it into the Final today," Young said. "This helps my chances at the World Juniors."
Jones jumped out to an early lead in the final by posting a 9.00 out of a possible 10 with several backhand blasts on a lefhander. The regular-footer was unable to find a second score and could not stop Young from taking the lead. Jones earned his first Final berth of the season by defeating current ASP North America Pro Junior ratings leader Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), 19, in his Semifinals heat and continues to hold down a top five position in the series after his second place finish today, improving his chances at qualification for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
"It feels good," Jones said. "This is the first Final I've made all year, so I'm pretty stoked. I've made a couple of Semifinals and a couple of Quarters so it hasn't been the best year, but I'm stoked."
Reilly earned his first ASP North America Pro Junior Final berth and was a standout in the ASP WQS event. The talented goofy-footer jumped from No. 8 to No. 6 on the ASP North America Pro Junior series with his 3rd place finish in front of his home crowd.
"This is my first Pro Junior Final, so I'm stoked," Reilly said. "It feels good to do well at home."
Reilly earned the event's only perfect 10 in his Quarterfinals victory with massive frontside turns and a carving 360 on a long Ponto left, showing the competition that he was the local force to be dealt with.
"I just saw the wave was going to be good and I just wanted to make sure I didn't fall," Reilly said. "In the men's I blew it on a really good wave, so I wanted to make sure I didn't do that in the junior's so I just tried to stay super focused."
Doheny earned his spot in the Final behind Jones. The standout surfer was not expecting to post any big results this year, but Doheny has managed to become a top competitor on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, sitting in the No. 4 position after his Final appearance today.
"This year I was just planning on having fun," Doheny said. "I wasn't planning on making any Finals or anything, but I'm stoked I'm did."
Today's performance by Doheny also puts him in good qualification for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships as well.
"If I make the world's I'd be stoked," Doheny said. "There's no pressure though, I've got plenty of years to go and it's all good experience."
The next stop in North America will be the Oakley Newport Pro, also an ASP 2-Star event, held from September 16-21, 2008 at 56th Street in Newport Beach, California. An ASP Grade-2 Pro Junior will accompany the event.
Vans El Pono Loco presented by Sun Diego Results
1 - Casey Brown (HAW)
2 - Dillon Perillo (USA)
3 - Jason Collins (USA)
4 - Brad Ettinger (USA)
Semifinals (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Dillon Perillo (USA) 16.00, Jason Collins (USA) 13.50, Kieran Horn (USA) 8.93, Jason Miller (USA) 7.60
Heat 2: Casey Brown (HAW) 11.90, Brad Ettinger (USA) 8.60, Dane Johnson (USA) 6.70, Travis Beckmann (USA) 1.67
Quarterfinals (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Dillon Perillo (USA) 11.70, Jason Collins (USA) 10.23, Kevin Kapsky (HAW) 9.06, Brent Reilly (USA) 6.90
Heat 2: Jason Miller (USA) 12.66, Kieran Horn (USA) 12.16, Micah Byrne (USA) 11.30, Ted Navarro (USA) 6.03
Heat 3: Travis Beckmann (USA) 14.00, Dane Johnson (USA) 12.83, Noi Kaulukukui (USA) 9.80, Kyle Knox (USA) 7.10
Heat 4: Casey Brown (HAW) 14.77, Brad Ettinger (USA) 11.17, Magnum Martinez (VEN) 8.77, Shey Yates (USA) 5.47
Billabong Pro Junior presented by Sun Diego Results
1 - Nat Young (USA) 13.83
2 - Blake Jones (USA) 12.30
3 - Brent Reilly (USA) 9.33
4 - Andrew Doheny (USA) 8.67
Semifinals: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Blake Jones (USA) 14.50, Andrew Doheny (USA) 10.96, Cory Arrambide (USA) 8.17, Fisher Heverly (USA) 4.63
Heat 2: Brent Reilly (USA) 13.34, Nat Young (USA) 11.26, Travis Beckmann (USA) 8.66, Victor Done (USA)
Quarterfinals: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Cory Arrambide (USA) 14.37, Fisher Heverly (USA) 9.10, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 8.50, Phillip Goold (USA) 3.76
Heat 2: Blake Jones (USA) 11.17, Andrew Doheny (USA) 8.50, John John Florence (HAW) 7.93, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 4.17
Heat 3: Brent Reilly (USA) 17.83, Nat Young (USA) 13.04, Dane Zaun (USA) 9.10, Ford Archbold (USA) 4.90
Heat 4: Travis Beckmann (USA) 11.43, Victor Done (USA) 8.00, Nick Rupp (USA) 7.80, Evan Geiselman (USA) 7.50
Round of 32: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Fisher Heverly (USA) 11.17, Andrew Doheny (USA) 11.00, Oliver Kurtz (USA) 7.90, Matt Mohagen (USA) 7.40
Heat 2: Phillip Goold (USA) 16.00, Blake Jones (USA) 13.50, Luke Davis (USA) 7.83, Hunter Heverly (USA) 6.63
Heat 3: Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 12.10, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 11.50, Evan Thompson (USA) 7.53, Cody Thompson (USA) 7.03
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 10.90, Cory Arrambide (USA) 8.40, Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.70, Jensen Callaway (USA) 2.60
Heat 5: Ford Archbold (USA) 11.50, Travis Beckmann (USA) 8.54, Quinn McCrystal (USA) 7.74, David Suhadolnik (USA) 4.30
Heat 6: Brent Reilly (USA) 11.00, Victor Done (USA) 9.10, Connor Coffin (USA) 8.34, Jason Harris (USA) 5.60
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA), Nick Rupp (USA), Marshall Alberga (USA), Jordan Gaudet (USA)
Heat 8: Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.50, Dane Zaun (USA) 14.17, Michael Dunphy (USA) 8.60