HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Wednesday, March 23, 2011) - The opening day of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Vans Pier Classic presented by Jack's Surfboards saw ASP World Tour talent Josh Kerr (AUS), 26, ignite the day's top scores in the peaky three foot (1 metre) surf at Huntington Beach Pier today to headline an impressive first day of action.
Surfers competing at the Vans Pier Classic are out to capitalize on the crucial points on offer to build their seed on the ASP World Ranking.
Kerr, who is currently competing on his third year on the ASP World Tour, effortlessly won both his Round 1 and 2 heats today with a blend of progressive tail-drifting turns, committed aerials and classic power surfing to net the day's highest single wave score of a near-perfect 9.17 out of 10 while clinching the opening day's highest heat total of 16.63 out of 20.
"It's really clean still," Kerr said. "It was slow in our heat with the high tide, but if you get the right ones they have a really good wall through the inside. I was lucky enough to pick off only two waves, but they were two good ones."
Kerr, who is surfing in the early rounds of the Vans Pier Classic due to a late entry, is looking at the opening round heats as an opportunity to build momentum for the latter rounds.
"I didn't realize I entered late, but it's okay, it's only a few more heats and it lets you get a flow going and build some momentum," Kerr said. "I enjoy surfing these events and surfing four-man heats as well. You can go out and do your own thing out there."
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 30, who was a last-minute entry into the Vans Pier Classic, tore into the playful Huntington conditions as well today with calculated surfing on both his forehand and backhand to notch a 15.34 out of 20 heat total while staying sharp in between ASP World Tour events.
"I went home for a little bit and just came in yesterday," Kling said. "I figured if I could get in, I'd do it. I didn't know I was going to be around or else I would have entered. I'm kind of stoked to get in and it's always good to compete."
Conner Coffin (Santa Barbara, CA), 17, was one young competitor flaring on the opening day of Vans Pier Classic action. The talented up-and-comer's careful wave selection in his slow, high-tide heat saw Coffin notch one of the day's highest heat totals as well, a 15.00 out of 20, to take a Round 2 heat victory and a spot into Round 3.
"I had that 6.8 and wanted to get a decent wave at the end," Coffin said. "It's pretty slow so anyone can get two quick scores with the bowls on the inside."
Coffin is also hungry to progress into the later rounds of Vans Pier Classic action, where he hopes to take on the top ASP World Tour talent.
"I saw the seed list with guys like Josh (Kerr) and Taylor (Knox) and Damien (Hobgood) and was surprised, it's pretty sick," Coffin said. "I don't think I've ever surfed with any of those guys, it's pretty cool."
Coffin, who will also be competing in the ASP 4-Star Vans Pro Junior, is looking at his early round success as a jumpstart into the crucial ASP Pro Junior event, which plays a vital role in his campaign towards qualification for the coveted ASP World Junior Tour.
"It's nice to have surfed already," Coffin said. "It's kind of weird going into the Juniors cold especially since this year I have the Top 32 seed. Last year I would surf a few times before I had the hard round so it's nice to surf a couple of rounds before and kind of carry some momentum over from that."
The Vans Pier Classic presented by Jack's Surfboards runs from March 23 through 27, 2011 and is webcast LIVE via vans.com/pierclassic.
Vans Pier Classic Round of 128 Results:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.34, Kalani David (USA) 7.60, Scott Posner (USA) 7.40, Kellen Ellison (USA) 6.63
Heat 2: Mike McCabe (USA) 11.03, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 8.00, Zoltan Torkos (USA) 4.90, Blake Burns (USA) 3.47
Heat 3: Gabe Kling (USA) 15.34, Ian Gentil (HAW) 13.40, Taylor Clark (USA) 8.44, Tayler Brothers (USA) 5.74
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA) 15.00, Keala Naihe (HAW) 9.27, Derrick Disney (USA) 7.47, Fisher Heverly (USA) 5.66
Heat 5: Jair Perez (CRI) 12.20, J.D. Lewis (USA) 7.30, John Daniels (USA) 7.27, Cody Sammons (USA) 2.27
Heat 6: Kyle Knox (USA) 8.57, Mark Dawson (USA) 8.46, Alejandro Moreda (PRI) 8.40, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 6.70
Heat 7: Levi Gonzales (HAW) 13.10, Keto Burns (USA) 10.24, Koa Smith (USA) 9.20, Chris Tucker (USA) 3.27
Heat 8: Shaun Burrell (USA) 10.93, Ted Navarro (USA) 10.54, Ian Sammons (USA) 9.37, Dustin Cuizon (HAW) ns
Heat 9: Richie Collins (USA) 8.74, Willie Safreed (USA) 8.20, Hunter Lysaught (USA) 5.83, Gianfranco Gasparro (ITA) 0
Heat 10: Ian Crane (USA) 10.06, David Gonsalves (HAW) 6.94, Antoine Allain (USA) 2.67
Heat 11: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 13.10, Dane Zaun (USA) 9.20, P.J. Raia (USA) 7.83, Theo Niarchos (HAW) 3.12
Heat 12: Nic Hdez (USA) 11.50, Travis Beckmann (USA) 8.40, Tom Rezvan (USA) 8.34, Pete Rocky (USA) 3.73
Heat 13: Colin Moran (USA) 8.10, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 7.60, Sean Hayes (USA) 3.83, Alex Kamkoff (USA) 1.83
Heat 14: Robert Patterson (USA) 10.96, Jason Shibata (HAW) 9.77, Morgan Faulkner (USA) 8.00, Matt King (USA) 7.13
Heat 15: Eddie Guilbeau (USA) 8.30, Eli Olson (HAW) 7.43, Gary Strahle (USA) 6.40, Erik Furuholmen (USA) 0.50
Heat 16: Asher Nolan (USA) 15.10, Christian Saenz (USA) 12.90, Victor Done (USA) 12.20, Jeremy Carter (USA) 6.37
Vans Pier Classic Round of 144 Results:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.53, Mikey McCabe (USA) 10.83, Scott Weinhardt (USA) 6.17, Mike Maurer (USA) 5.60
Heat 2: Taylor Clark (USA) 9.47, Derrick Disney (USA) 9.23, Brandon Roberts (USA) 6.87, Dean Randazzo (USA) 5.90
Heat 3: Jair Perez (CRI) 10.27, Kyle Knox (USA) 9.57, Jacob Halstead (USA) 6.64, Matthew Taylor (USA) 5.60
Heat 4: Chris Tucker (USA) 9.40, Ian Simmons (USA), Patrick Furlotti (HAW) ns, Scott Posner (USA) ns
Heat 5: Hunter Lysaught (USA) 10.60, Jamie Meistrell (USA) 9.87, Bruno Rodrigues (BRA) 9.50, Adam Virs (USA) 8.93
Heat 6: P.J. Raia (USA) 9.67, Pete Rocky (USA) 5.70, Frank Chenault (USA) 4.70, Cameron Faris (USA) 3.60
Heat 7: Colin Moran (USA) 11.03, Jason Shibata (HAW) 10.67, Matt Mohagen (USA) 8.60, Trevor Thornton (USA) 8.13
Heat 8: Eddie Gilbeau (USA) 9.43, Christian Saenz (USA) 9.33, Michael Powell (USA)6.33, Ian Bloch (USA) 2.67