HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Thursday, January 14, 2010) – The opening day of the Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge presented by Primo, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Specialty event, was graced with pumping six-to-eight foot (2-2.5 metre) surf at North Huntington Beach Pier today and saw Nick Rozsa (Oxnard, CA), 22, lead the front for team Reef.
The Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge offers a unique team-based format, with all four-man teams out to compile their best results in their quest for the best total performance in order to claim the event win and a healthy prize purse. Individual performances are also awarded alongside the best team.
Rozsa, who was a former standout on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, hasn't been focusing his time on competition, but seemed to easily find his feet in today's contest and posted the day's highest single wave score of a 9.63 out of 10 while helping the Reef team launch out to an early lead.
"I don't know, that thing just came out of nowhere," Rozsa said. "There's a ton of current and it's pretty scary out there once you get close to the pier. It's just fun to surf in a team event. It takes the pressure off of you since we all have to do well to win the contest."
Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), 28, who is surfing for team Matix, opted for a change in equipment to negotiate the strong current and solid surf pushing into Huntington Pier and his choice for a bigger board paid off while he nabbed the second-highest single wave score of the day, a near perfect 9.60 out of 10 with three powerful frontside gouges on a thundering righthander. The Huntington Beach regular-footer tagged another solid score into his score line while clinching the day's highest heat total as well, 17.43 out of 20.
"There is so much water moving out there with the high tide," Byrne said. "I rode a bigger board, a 6'3", and the board still felt small out there. The paddle out is brutal, but I was able to get a couple of good scores."
Byrne is also taking some time to enjoy the long-running Huntington Beach event and the unique team format which is a rarity in professional surfing.
"This is a fun event with the team format," Byrne said. "There is a lot of talent in this event and it's pretty much the same as doing an ASP 3-Star, but even if we're not on the same team we're all just cheering each other on."
Tom Curren (Santa Barbara, CA), 45, who is a three-time ASP World Champion and two time Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge winner (1982, 1987), is heading up the Rip Curl team and found himself back in a jersey at this year's event and convincingly won his opening round heat more than 27 years after he first won the contest.
"This event brings back a lot of memories, a lot of good ones," Curren said. "Back in the 80's, this was our (Californians) only chance to surf with all of the professional surfers. It's nice to be back surfing in the event again."
After today's completion of Round 1, Team Reef leads with 16 points, followed by Team Surfline with 15 points, Team Fox with 14 points, Team Body Glove with 13 points, and last year's reigning champion, Team Hurley with 12 pts.
The Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge presented by Primo will be back on tomorrow morning, January 15, 2010 and will begin at 7:30am local time. A champion will be crowned by day's end. For all of the LIVE action log on to katinproam.com. In addition to the live webcast, fans can get up-to-the-minute updates via text message by texting KATIN to 53137.
For additional information log on to aspnorthamerica.com.
The Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Brad Ettinger (USA) 10.84, Evan Thompson (USA) 10.50, Drew Snyder (USA) 8.20, Bobby Morris (USA) 6.38
Heat 2: Teddy Navarro (USA) 11.83, Jeff Lukasik (USA) 6.97, Ryan Simmons (USA) 5.83, Brandon Guilmette (USA) 2.43
Heat 3: Dane Gudauskas (USA) 11.00, Quinn McCrystal (USA), Andrew Gahan (USA), Paul Pugliesi (USA)
Heat 4: Jason Harris (USA) 8.17, Adam Lambert (USA) 6.13, Mike Hoisington (USA) 5.07, Dave Lovato (USA) 1.86
Heat 5: Ricky Whitlock (USA) 9.00, Jesse Evans (USA) 8.50, Kalani Jabour (HAW) 7.50, Danny Misken (USA) 3.70
Heat 6: Micah Byrne (USA) 17.43, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 8.06, Nate Winkels (USA) 6.27, Tom Rezvan (USA) 0.77
Heat 7: Matt Mohagen (USA) 10.10, Jeremy Hansen (USA) 9.00, Ryan Carlson (USA) 7.66, Whatt Simmons (USA) 10.10
Heat 8: Adam Virs (USA) 10.50, Matt Taylor (USA) 9.30, Jake Halstead (USA) 5.17, Jake Halstead (USA) 5.17
Heat 9: Gabe Garcia (USA) 10.33, Pascal Stansfield (USA) 9.50, Timmy Reyes (USA) 6.17, Jimmy Rotherham (USA) 3.04
Heat 10: Chris Waring (USA) 11.84, Anthony Petruso (USA) 6.70, Jake Halstead (USA) 5.17, Shaun Ward (USA) 2.44
Heat 11: Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.10, Derrick Peters (USA) 5.24, Jimmy Harrick (USA) 4.50, Jack Boyes (USA) 4.06
Heat 12: Bright Yves (USA) 8.60, Matt Pagan (USA) 6.70, Riley Metcalf (USA) 3.83, Bobby Okvist (USA) 3.00
Heat 13: Michael Dunphy (USA) 10.50, Justin Rogge (USA) 7.43, Rick Downs (USA) 5.13, Gabe Kling (USA) 2.37
Heat 14: Nick Rozsa (USA) 13.30, Shaw Kobayashi (USA) 6.74, Shayne nelson (USA) 5.23, Sean Taylor (USA) 4.16
Heat 15: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.67, Andrew Gesler (USA) 5.60, Evan Kane (USA) 2.57, Brandon Tipton (USA) 1.93
Heat 16: Shaun Burrell (USA) 14.93, Christian Saenz (USA) 8.14, Eddie Elles (USA) 8.00, Pete Mussio (USA) 6.24
Heat 17: Tom Curren (USA) 12.50, Terek Kashoggi (USA) 9.93, Kyle Knox (USA) 5.60, Roberto Mealomo (USA) 0.67
Heat 18: Jesse Merle-Jones (USA) 13.26, Andrew Doheny (USA) 12.17, Jeff Deffenbaugh (USA) 8.10, Duane O'Toole (USA) 2.10
Heat 19: Sean Marceron (USA) 8.73, Che Stang (USA) 3.57, Victor Done (USA) 2.80, Chris Love (USA) 2.16
Heat 20: Damien Fahrenfort (USA) 11.33, Porter HOgen (USA) 6.66, Tyler Stanaland (USA) 4.50, Willie Safreed (USA) 4.33