Who: A few hundred pro surfers and several pro junior surfers.
What: The first stop of the ASP World Qualifying Series North America Tour, The Vans Pier Classic. Plus the Ezekiel Pro Junior contest.
When: March 24-28
Where: The southside of Huntington Beach Pier
Vans Pier Classic: Mike Losness
Ezekiel Pro Junior: Dillon Perillo
Interview: 2009 Vans Pier Classic Champ Mike Losness
Last year at the Vans Pier Classic San Clemente's Mike Losness took the cake. Foregoing the grind that is the WQS, he was at home for this North America 2-star event held at the Huntington Beach Pier. And it proved to be a decision worth $5,000. With the Vans Pier Classic getting underway on March 24th, we picked Mike's brain a bit on the decision.—Ryan Brower
You won this event last year. How important is defending that title?
Mike: I wouldn't say that I'm putting pressure on myself to get that result again, but if anything it gives me confidence. And kind of shows me that I could win an event, so just go up there and do what you do and have fun. And if you win on the last day you win, but if you don't then its all good still.
You're foregoing the 6-star and the 6-star PRIMEs this year again electing to do this event again. What's your reasoning behind that?
Well I'm not doing the whole 'QS this year. I'm not doing any 6-stars other than the ones that I can get into like the Lowers contest, the US Open, and Santa Cruz [Cold Water Classic]—just the ones in the US. So it really has nothing to do with deciding between Margarets [Drug Aware Pro] or the Vans Pier Classic. I was never gonna do the whole 'QS this year anyways. So since I'm home, I wanted to enter the contest.
Over the whole grind of the 'QS?
Yeah, I mean a couple years ago I gave it a full run and for me I felt like I did really good. A 2nd in a 5-star, a 3rd in a 6-star, a 5th in a 6-star and then some other random results. But at the end of the year I still ended up at I think 49th place. So at that point I kinda was like, "Man, I just spent a lot of money and put a lot of time into this, and I feel really good about my results, but I still finished in 49th."
So at that point I decided to focus on doing other things—traveling to places that I still really want to go to, focusing on things that my sponsors wanted me to do. This past year we did the Reef movie, so I went on like four or five trips for that.
Last year Dillon Perillo won the Ezekiel Pro Junior event and he finished second in the main event. I think the last day he surfed seven heats total. You think he wants to get that big win for the 'QS event this year?
You know, I'd say anyone who enters an event wants to win. So I'd have to say yeah, of course, and especially for someone who got second—it shows him the same confidence that it showed me. That I could win. So I'm sure that he's amped to go down to the contest and surf his best just like everybody else is.
Huntington Beach can be tricky at times, as I'm sure you're well aware of. Have you been surfing up there this winter?
No. I never go to Huntington. I've surfed there so much over the years since I was a kid that I kind of just know what that wave is like, and if I don't have to surf there I'm not gonna. And you know it's a beach break. It's like Oceanside or anywhere else. It's just got a little bit of a reform on the inside. So I think it's a good wave for a contest. It kind of allows each guy to show his stuff and there's good little sections, little air sections.
How much does getting a seeding into the round of 64 help with an event like this?
I mean it helps in any event really. I mean if it's a 2-star or a 6-star, if you don't have to surf a heat or two then you're stoked. That's two less opportunities that you might have had to lose. I think anytime that you're granted a couple extra rounds where you don't have to surf is a good thing.
What's the latest on your artwork? Have you been working a lot on that this winter?
Actually I have. I just finished up a big project that I did for Reef. I did all the artwork for the Reef Hawaiian Pro. It went really well, so Reef wanted to have a second go at it and see about putting some of my artwork on some products. So I just did two paintings for them and they are going to be the theme for their summer line of clothes. They turned out pretty cool. I was stoked and they were stoked.
What's the latest with the new Reef movie we've been hearing about?
I think they just finished the editing process. I think they're having a premiere around the time of the Lowers 6-star PRIME in May. So it's coming out pretty soon. It's basically a video about the Reef team traveling to exotic locations and surfing warm water and perfect waves. Kind of like what happened all along the way.
Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for full coverage of the Vans Pier Classic, which runs from March 24-28 in Huntington Beach, CA. And you can watch the entire event LIVE at Vans.com.