A dramatic finish led to victories for Danny Nichols, Erica Hosseini and Josh Constable in the Men’s and Women’s Shortboard and Longboard divisions, while Nichols, Anastasia Ashley and Josh Mohr were crowned the Professional Surfing Association of America’s 2003 season champions on the final day of the Dos Equis Oceanside Pro Presented by Paul Mitchell Salon Hair Care at the Oceanside Pier.
The drama began unfolding early in the day when all three leading contenders for the 2003 overall points crown failed to advance. Mohr, who seemed all but assured of the 2003 Longboard title, failed to advance out of his quarterfinal heat. Men’s Shortboard leader Layne Harrison followed suit, also losing in the quarters, while Women’s Shortboard leader Lauren Sweeney lost in the semifinals. By midday, all three titles were still up for grabs in the blistering heat and a rising 3′ to 4′ southwest swell.
By winning the Men’s Shortboard final, Nichols jumped from 4th to 1st in the season-ending rankings, and his performance earned him $2,000, a trip to Tahiti and a $1,000 cash bonus. It was the Huntington Beach local’s first PSTA win after many attempts.
“It feels long overdue, said a subdued but satisfied Nichols. “I made a decisive move in the beginning of the heat. A wave came through and I was in position, but the other guys tried to paddle around me thinking I wasn’t going. I went, and that set the tone. The other guys may be over me, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I was getting sick of making finals and not winning because I was the nice guy. I had a goal of winning this thing and the overall title. I’m not so much ecstatic as feeling it was long overdue.
Mohr, who seemingly had the 2003 title and a trip to Tahiti well in hand after winning the first two 2003 PSTA events in Huntington Beach and Imperial Beach, was stunned after getting eliminated in the quarters. He could only sit and watch from the competitor’s tent all day to see if fellow Huntington Beach surfer Cyrus Sutton could pull off a huge upset by winning the Longboard division, which would have given Sutton the season crown. Sutton was on a roll all day, and won the BiC Surfboards One-Design Challenge. But Sutton ran out of gas in the Longboard final, giving Mohr the overall title.
“I hate having my fate being out of my hands, said a relieved Mohr. “I don’t usually lose in the quarters, not for any other reason that I feel like I’m more consistent than that. It was a hard heat, the Australians really tore it up. I was irritated at myself having to sit all day and then watching somebody who had the potential to beat me. There should have been no reason why I couldn’t have finished it off and not let it slip. But now it’s all good. I look forward to getting some sick barrels in Tahiti and sipping martinis on the beach with my girlfriend.
Winning the Dos Equis Oceanside Pro was also sweet revenge for 16-year-old Erica Hosseini of Newport Beach, who was eliminated in this season’s first event due to an interference call, and missed her first heat in the second event after getting stuck in traffic.
“It’s a big confidence booster to win the final event of the season, said Hosseini, who won the Governor’s Cup at the NSSA Nationals earlier this summer. “I was a little nervous at first, but toward the end I got a couple and got them under my belt, and I figured I had it locked up because I could hear the scores from the water.
By placing second in the Women’s Shortboard final, 16-year-old Ashley Anastasia of San Clemente took the season title from front-runner Lauren Sweeney. “I just tried to do my best, said Anastasia, who recently won the NSSA Explorer Women’s title. “When I got second in the first contest I thought I maybe I could win, but I never expected it. I didn’t think it would happen this year, so I’m stoked!
Leading the international contingent was Josh Constable of Noosa, Queensland, Australia. In an amazing finiish, Constable went from last to first with just two minutes remaining in the Longboard final. But he had to deny fellow countryman and good friend Bart Wilson, who was leading the heat at the time.
“A peak came in, and he wanted to split it, recalled Constable of the exchange. “He wanted to go right and I wanted to go left, but I had more paddling momentum so I got into it earlier. He’s a Noosa boy as well, but contests are contests. We surf against each other all the time. He congratulated me on the beach. It’s cool, he would have done the same thing, and he’s just as stoked I won it. The Aussies were first and second, so we can’t complain.
Winning the BiC Surfboards One-Design Challenge was Sutton, who admitted that surfing six heats in one day left his tank nearly empty for the Longboard final and a chance to wrest the title from Mohr. Nonetheless, he took home a new Bic longboard and $750 for his efforts.
For more information and complete results from today’s competition, log onto: www.prosurfingtour.com.
Final Results — PSTA Dos Equis Oceanside Pro Presented by Paul Mitchell Salon Hair Care
1. Danny Nichols
2. Adriano de Souza
3. Bron Huessenstamm
4. Jeff Hurley
1. Erica Hosseini
2. Anastasia Ashley
3. Jodie Nelson
4. Allison Arvizu
1. Josh Constable
2. Bart Wilson
3. Taylor Jensen
4. Cyrus Sutton
BiC Sport Surfboards One-Design Challenge
1. Cyrus Sutton
2. Travis Northey
3. Tommy Lloy
4. Brendan White