PSTA: Curran, O’Connell, Knox Advance on Day 3 of Op Pro at Oceanside

OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA-USA (Friday, June 1, 2001) – Pro surfing’s elite topguns including Tim Curran, Taylor Knox and Pat O’Connell all advanced to theweekend and the men’s shortboard round of 32 on Day 3 of the Op Pro atOceanside, the second stop on the 2001 Professional Surfing Tour of America(PSTA).

Wave conditions remained small and inconsistent, forcing competitors toemploy strategy and experience to gain an adequate wave count and advance. Asignificant tidal change from a morning high to low at midday to high againin the late afternoon dictated where surfers positioned themselves amongOceanside Pier’s plentiful sand bars. At mid-tide, surfers had the choice ofsitting inside for the chance to catch the more abundant smaller waves, orsitting outside in hopes of snagging a bigger but rarer set wave. The vastmajority of competitors surfed without leashes to reduce drag and eliminatethe possibility of getting hog-tied on the small waves.

Op’s top gun Timmy Curran of Oxnard made his first appearance of thecontest, winning handily against an international field that included PeterRangel of Venezuela and Llewellyn Whittaker of South Africa. It was Curran’sfirst contest since coming down with a mysterious internal ailment inWestern Australia earlier in the year.

“I might have gotten food poisoning, it was the worst sickness I’ve had inseven years,” explained Curran, who failed to make the cut on the ASP’sWorld Championship Tour (WCT) at the end of last season and will attempt torequalify this year. “I wasn’t able to do the contest at Margaret River(West Aust.), and stressed out over two weeks of tests, but I’m fine now. Ithink it was just food poisoning.”

Curran looked anything but rusty after his unscheduled layoff, pulling offstrong snaps and probably the biggest air of the contest that he didn’tquite land.

“It feels good just to be in the water. Basically this is a year to regroupon the WQS. It was unfortunate that I fell off (the WCT) last year, butthings happen. This year I’ve been able to do some photo trips, andeditorial wise, other than Op running ads (Curran’s two-page spreads are allover the magazines) it’s been awesome. I just got my first (magazine) coverever, so I’m stoked.”

Asked if he’s thought about going the full editorial route with photo tripsversus the pressures of competing, Curran’s intentions are clear: “I’m 23,and hopefully the next five years I will be in my prime. I’m a competitorand I hope to get right back up there where I left off at #6 (on the WCTtour). With Op sponsoring this event, it’s huge for me. They’re my sponsor,and Op has put a lot of money and effort into US surfing and doing contestslike this. There’s nothing better than competing at home against all theguys I grew up with, there’s so many great guys out here. This is what weneed. Hopefully these contests will get bigger and better each year.”

Current ASP Top 44 surfer Taylor Knox from nearby Carlsbad also shined intoday’s small surf. Knox said he got a hall pass from his family to spend anhour at the beach, where he promptly dispatched his opponents after spendingthe previous day surfing warm six-foot waves a thousand miles south in sunnyCabo San Lucas. Exiting the water after his heat, Taylor the family mancavorted with his kids on the shore before turning in his jersey.

Also advancing were WCT surfer and gregarious star of “Endless Summer II,”Pat O’Connell, PSTA vets Dean Randazzo and Chris Drummy, 2000 PSTA championJeremy Sommerville, Oceanside favorite son Jason Bennett, Chris “Where’sWardo?” Ward, Huntington Beach journeyman Jeff Deffenbaugh, and Tim Curran’sbrother Nathaniel.

The Op Pro at Oceanside continues tomorrow on the north side of OceansidePier with more men’s shortboarding, the Women’s Shortboard division thatincludes hot California upstart Julia Christian and ASP vet Jodie Nelson,and the Men’s Longboard division. Former longboard world champ Joel Tudorwas hanging at the contest site this morning, chhecking the conditions. Thewinner of the Op Pro men’s shortboard division will be invited toparticipate in the 2002 Op Boat Trip Challenge in Indonesia.

Op Pro at Oceanside, Day 3-Men’s Shortboard Round of 96Heat 91. Matt King 11.352. Tyler Fox 9.853. Hamish Campbell 7.654. Jason Hinds 6.75Heat 101. Jim Hogan 6.252. William Sue A Quon 5.903. Chris Pionessa 4.254. Gustavo Reataguy 2.25Heat 111. Chris Brown 11.652. Nate Yeomans 11.503. Josh Sleigh 6.854. Tim Frisk 6.10Heat 121. Carl Holm 8.002. Frank Welsh 7.103. Mike Lamm 6.354. Josh Denning 6.25Heat 131. David Diaz 11.002. Jeremy Ryan 6.853. Kris Keets 6.504. Sean Petersen 5.00Heat 141. Max Hoshino 12.002. Zach Plopper 6.253. Ted Gibson 5.40Heat 151. Noah Budroe 10.252. Walt Cerney 9.003. Scott Finn 8.754. David Baughman 8.10Heat 161. Todd Kline 8.002. Gabe Kling 7.353. Casey Sinder 7.204. Chad Wells 5.80Men’s Shortboard Round of 64Heat 11. Zach Keenan 11.252. Ryan Simmons 10.503. Geoff Moysa 7.904. Jamie O’Brien 6.90Heat 21. Taylor Knox 11.502. Ian McPhillips 9.653. Josh Baxter 6.25Heat 31. Nathaniel Curran 10.752. Mike Losness 8.603. Ted Navarro 8.554. Peter Berkey 4.90Heat 41. Magnum Martinez 8.852. Jason Bogle 8.003. Colin McPhillips 5.504. Seth Tilakos 4.75Heat 51. David Giddings 11.502. Greg Long 10.003. Jason Senn 6.25Heat 61. Bron Heussenstamm 13.752. Jeff Hurley 9.253. JJ Rhoads 8.854. Damea Dorsey 8.00Heat 71. Tim Curran 10.752. Peter Rangel 7.503. Benji Severson 7.354. Llewellyn Whittaker 7.00Heat 81. Jeff Deffenbaugh 11.252. Julian Mullins 10.103. Garth Englehorn 5.25Heat 91. Chris Ward 9.902. Dave Pinto 8.903. Matt King 8.504. Tyler Fox 6.35Heat 101. Chris Drummy 11.002. William Sue A Quon 10.253. Jim Hogan 9.254. Dino Andino 8.25Heat 111. Pat O’Connell 12.002. Mike Todd 9.753. Chris Brown 6.354. Nate Yeomans 6.25Heat 121. Frank Walsh 6.252. Carl Holm 6.253. Andy Hobson 6.254. James Crush 5.35Heat 131. David Diaz 11.752. Dean Randazzo 11.503. Jeremy Ryan 10.404. Asher Nolan 8.50Heat 141. Jeremy Sommerville 8.852. Max Hoshino 8.753. Golden Depesa 7.004. Zach Plopper 6.00Heat 151. Jason Bennett 10.752. Noah Budroe 9.253. Mike Hoisington 8.554. Walter Cerny 6.75Heat 161. Gabe Kling 13.852. Jesse Merle Jones 11.003. Todd Kline 7.35For more information, event schedules and TV airdates: http://www.psta.tvOp Pro at Oceanside: http://www.op.comOfficial Product and “PSTA Leader Jersey” sponsorPaul Mitchell http://www.paulmitchell.comSurf forecast partner:Surfline http://www.surfline.com976-SURF; WavefaxNational TV Partner:Outdoor Life Network http://www.olntv.comCalifornia TV Partners:KCAL Channel 9 (Los Angeles) http://www.kcal.comKION (Salinas-Monterey) http://www.kiontv.comKKFX (Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo)