OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Dominant performances by San Clemente’s Chris Ward and San Francisco’s Diana Mattison led to victories in the Men’s and Women’s Shortboard divisions at the Paul Mitchell Pro, the second stop on the Professional Surfing Tour of America’s (PSTA) 2002 season. Brendan White was yesterday’s victor in the Longboard division.
Ward, currently ranked 20th on the Association of Surfing Professionals’ World Qualifying Series tour, left fellow men’s finalists Dane Johnson, Ryan Simmons and Micah Byrne in his wake by registering the highest wave score of the contest, a 9.25, on a long well-formed left that ‘Wardo’ demolished all the way to the sand just a few minutes into the final. As it turned out, he clinched the heat on his next wave, a similar long left, to score an 8.0. Current PSTA points leader Simmons made a valiant attempt to cut Wardo’s victory run short with a humongous backside top slash on a decent left, but his 6.0 score with just a minute remaining was not enough to overtake the lead.
Mattison, 21, was equally dominant on the Women’s side, finding the longer, higher-scoring lefts off the pier that her adversaries couldn’t. Conditions throughout the day were difficult, with a strong onshore wind creating a hodgepodge of pockets and sections that only the two victors seemed to get wired. Like Ward, this was Mattison’s first PSTA victory after several tries.
“I decided to hang back when we first paddled out,” Mattison said of her strategy, “and let everybody scramble for waves. I wanted to stay calm and let the ocean work for me, ’cause if you try and beat her you’ll get smacked down. There was a peak more out in the middle of the beach, so I figured if everybody was crowded by the pier, I could always go over there and catch a couple of waves and stay away from paddle battles, ’cause they can throw you off mentally. When they came over to that middle peak, I would paddle back closer to the pier, and ended up getting some good ones.
“I feel awesome, this is my first professional win,” continued Mattison. “I feel that I’m always right there, but it was never quite enough. Today I really found the rhythm.”
For Ward, 23, this PSTA win keeps him on track for his best-ever competitive season as he heads to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean for the next WQS event.
“I remember in my heat in the round before the quarters, I linked a good 8-point right down the beach and I was trying to remember what I did on that,” said Ward. “I went all the way to the beach and got distance with maneuvers. I tried to do that again and seal the deal. It was small wave surfing, but it has a west push so you?re moving down the beach a lot. Even though it was choppy, it was good that there were some lip sections rather than being slow and mushy.
“I’ll be heading into the next contest with a good, confident vibe,” Wardo continued. “I’m focused to qualify for the ‘CT (World Championship Tour), and also work out some freesurfing. I think this is the year to step up and eventually go for the world title. I’m still young, as long as I make it before I turn 30 (laughs). This is good training for the beach breaks of Europe when the WQS goes there, so I’m stoked.”
The final day of the Paul Mitchell Pro also provided a glimpse into the future of American pro surfing with the Surf One/Sticky Bumps/HSS Junior event, won by 15-year-old Chris Waring of Seal Beach. Waring won a seesaw battle against fellow rippers Chad Compton, Steven Janoaz, and Ian Eckberg.
“My strategy was to sit next to the pier and try to collect the lefts into the beach,” said Waring, who advanced through two heats in the Men’s division of the PSTA Imperial Beach Open held last week. “I knew I needed a 5.15 to get into the lead, so I had to find a nice-looking face and hit it as many times as I possibly could, and I pulled it off. I’m stoked there’s a junior division here, it gives me good practice for the ppro ranks.”
When the spray cleared, Ryan Simmons of Seal Beach retained the black Paul Mitchell Leader’s Jersey signifying the current PSTA points leader in each division. With her appearance in the finals, Nicole Grodesky of San Clemente came away with the Paul Mitchell Jersey in the Women’s division, which was temporarily held by Jodie Nelson before her elimination in the semifinal. Carlsbad’s Julia Christian was the Women’s points leader coming into the event, but a prior commitment kept her from competing in Oceanside.
Next up on the PSTA schedule is the San Clemente Pro, at the pier in San Clemente, Calif., June 13-16.
For a complete results of the Paul Mitchell Pro and upcoming events, go to http://www.prosurfingtour.com The Paul Mitchell Pro will be televised as two half-hour shows on the Outdoor Life Network airing this summer.
Official event product sponsors include the new Subaru Baja, Paul Mitchell Salon Haircare, Balance Bar, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (1-800-USA-RAIL), Tobacco is Wacko, YM Magazine, and Outdoor Life Network. Industry sponsors include Havaianas, Surf One, Mountain High Resort, Sticky Bumps, Transworld Surf Magazine, Cut 4 Media, Mandero Sports Products, Peak Sunscreen, Poor Boy, and Surf Quest Media.
For complete information on the 2002 Professional Surfing Tour of America, go to http://www.prosurfingtour.com
PAUL MITCHELL PRO FINAL RESULTS
Surf One/Sticky Bumps/HSS Junior Final
1. Chris Waring
2. Chad Compton
3. Steven Janosz
4. Ian Eckberg
Women?s Shortboard Final
1. Diana Mattison
2. Nicole Grodesky
3. Kyla Langen
4. Kim Hamrock
Men’s Shortboard Final
1. Chris Ward
2. Ryan Simmons
3. Micah Byrne
4. Dane Johnson
See complete results here:http://www.prosurfingtour.com/oceanside%20men%20final.htm