Vans Pier Classic and Ezekiel Pro Junior Kick Off West Coast Leg of WQS

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Thursday, March 20, 2008) ­ The hallowed sands of Huntington Beach Pier will host the West Coast kick off to the 2008 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America season when the Vans Pier Classic and Ezekiel Pro Junior both presented by Jack’s Surfboards will take place from March 26 ­ 30, 3008.

The Vans Pier Classic pres. by Jack’s Surfboards will offer an ASP WQS 2-Star Men’s event as well as an ASP WQS 1-Star Women’s event, while the Ezekiel Pro Junior pres. by Jack’s Surfboards will make up the second event of the 2008 ASP North America Pro Junior Series as an ASP Grade-2 Pro Junior.

Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), the current leader on the 2008 ASP WQS following his impressive win at the opening event of the season in Florida and another solid result in Brazil, will look to keep the momentum up at the Vans Pier Classic, collecting valuable ratings points and honing his competitive savvy for the road ahead.

“Dane, Tanner and I all looked at the Vans event as the perfect opportunity to compete at home,” Gudauskas said. “We do about 20 events this year and you’re on the road a lot so to be able to sleep in your own bed and eat well is a real treat. Huntington always has really rippable waves and we’re looking forward to a good event.”

The past two Vans Pier Classics have been won by Huntington Beach locals, but Gudauskas will look to apply world class act to the venue in hopes of grabbing another win this season.

“All the HB guys surf so well and I know they’re all hungry to keep the title at home,” Gudauskas said. “Guys like Micah (Byrne) and Shaun (Ward) are surfing so well and they know the break better than most. I’m really looking forward to the event and hopefully I can put another win up on the board.”

Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), defending Van’s Pier Classic champion, is keen to come out on top again this season, motivated by his fellow Huntington Beach surfers to keep the Vans Pier Classic Title a hometown affair.

“There’s a lot more motivation this year,” Byrne said. “There are so many good local guys around here, and when we all free surf together there’s adifferent stand out everyday. But when you win this comp, you’re the man for the whole year! We’ve all talked about it and we’re going to keep the crown here in HB for at least another 3 yrs!”

Other standouts competing at the Vans Pier Classic presented by Jack’s Surfboards include Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA), Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), Eric Geiselman (New SmyrnaBeach, FL), Sunny Garcia (North Shore, HI), among others.

Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), who finished runner-up in last year’sevent, will look for to repeat her finals berth this season. With Huntington Beach as her primary training ground, Conlogue hopes to use her extensive knowledge of the break to her advantage.

The ASP Grade-2 Ezekiel Pro Junior pres. by Jack’s Surfboards, running in conjunction with the Vans Pier Classic, will be stop No. 2 on the 2008 ASP North America Pro Junior Series, and will see some of the top junior talents in the world vie for valuable ratings points and prize money.

Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), who is fresh off a win from the Billabong Pro Junior Sebastian Inlet, will head into the Ezekiel Pro Junior as the man to beat, currently leading the ratings on the 2008 ASP North America Pro Junior Series. Arrambide’s dominating finish over the competition in Florida announced to everyone that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season throughout his campaign to qualify for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.

Eric Geiselman, (New Symrna Beach, FL) who claimed a victory at the Ezekiel Pro Junior last year, will join Arrambide in the punchy beachbreaks of Huntington Beach along with fellow top juniors Travis Beckmann (Vero Beach, FL), Cody Thompson (Jacksonville Beach, FLL) and defending ASP North America Pro Junior Champion Adam Wickwire (Satellite Beach, FL)

The Van’s Pier Classic presented by Jack’s Surfboards will begin on March 26, 2008 and will be webcast LIVE at Vanssurf.com/pierclassic. For more information, log onto ASP World Tour or ASPNorthAmerica.org.