Bron Heussenstamm Takes The PSTA At Morro Bay

Bron, Liz, Victorious at Body Glove Central Coast Pro

MORRO BAY, CALIFORNIA-USA (October 14, 2001) – A brilliant morning ofglassybomb sets approaching double overhead gave way to thick fog in the finals,but that didn’t dampen the stoke Bron Heussenstamm and Liz Motshagen feltafter winning their first WQS contest on the final day of the Body GloveCentral Coast Pro at Morro Bay, a 1-Star rated ASP World Qualifying Seriesevent and the fifth stop on the Professional Surfing Tour of America(PSTA).

All three finals were held in fog so thick, the judges had to move to thewater’s edge directly below Morro Rock, and the finalists were told to stayclose to the rock where a sand bar was delivering clean head-high lefts andthe occasional bomb closeout far outside. Even then the visibility wasnearly bad enough to call the contest and divide the awards equally betweenall the finalists. Contestants could not be updated with continual wavescores because of the change in judges’ location. But the show went on andthe contestants did their best to perform their magic in near white-outconditions.

In her acceptance remarks Motshagen was clearly ecstatic about the biggestwin of her professional career–“I finally won one!” she exclaimed–thenasked for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent terroristattacks. Liz’s bravura performance in the semis with sets approachingdouble-overhead made her the favorite in the final, until the fog forced anequalizing effect on the finalists. “There were some sets, but we needed tostay close to the rocks so the judges could see us,” recalled Motshagen.”Therefore it made it harder on when we could take off or not. But therewere some bombs coming in. Winning feels really good. I felt strongalthoughI lost a bit of focus in the fog, but I stuck it out.”

Heussenstamm was equally pleased with his first WQS win, especially afterknocking off PSTA Men’s Shortboard points leader Ryan Simmons in theprocess. “I had no idea how I was doing, I thought I got second or third totell you the truth. I saw Ryan Simmons get a really good wave, but I guesshe didn’t get a good third wave, and that’s what it came down to. I wasriding a bigger board all morning, then changed to my small wave boardbecause it looked like it was dropping. I just tried to hit it as manytimesas I could before the wave ended, that was my strategy and I guess it paidoff.”

In stark contrast to the afternoon fog, the morning semi-finals were heldunder a sunny sky with sparkling bomb sets, exhausting paddles and quickexchanges. While the waves were well-overhead, the nature of the bottom atMorro Rock creates flat spots that can confound surfers trying to pull hardbottom turns and lip snaps.

In the upset of the contest, PSTA Women’s Shortboard points leader JuliaChristian failed to advance out of her semi-final heat, catching only onewave for a 3.0. On the other hand, Oceanside’s Motshagen used herexperiencein big O’side Pier surf to catch two solid waves and prevail, with KarinMoran also advancing to the final. On Christian’s loss, Motshagen said,”It’s not such a shock to me because I train really hard to be powerful,andwhen these waves kick up my training kicks in. I don’t just tap it, barelyhit it and make it through the section. I’m a heavy footed surfer so whenthe waves call for me to dig in, I get a chance to do that.”

By the men’s semi-final #1 the incoming northwest swell began building insize and consistency, with all four surfers–Ryan Simmons, JeffDeffenbaugh,Jason Senn and Dave Giddings–putting on an awesome power surfing display.The men’s semi started with a full ten minutes of bomb sets that worked allfour competitors inside. Simmons and “D-Bah” were able to catch their quotain the challenging conditions.

“I went back to my shortboard, I rode my 6’2” after riding my 6’5″earlier,”said Simmons, explaining the strategy that has propelled him to the top ofthe PSTA rankings. “When those sets came in I thought maybe I made thewwrongdecision. I got my first wave and decided to run down the beach to get backout quicker, then I picked off that right that I got three turns on. If youcan get three 5.5s or sixes, you’re going to make your heat. If you getthree open faced waves you’re going to make it. On that right I got threeturns and had time to catch my third wave.”

Body Glove Central Coast Pro Final Results, Oct. 14, 2001

Women’s Shortboard Final
1. Liz Motshagen 16.00
2. Diana Mattison 15.70
3. Kyla Langen 13.25
4. Karin Moran 9.35

Men’s Shortboard Final
1. Bron Heussenstamm 18.85
2. Ryan Simmons 18.10
3. Jeff Deffenbaugh 16.50
4. Mike Hoisington 15.20