Simmons Takes The Season While Virs Takes The Contest At The PSTA Finals

Virs, Christian Win at PSTA US Surfing Championships

VENTURA, CALIFORNIA-USA (November 4, 2001) – Awesome battles on long pointwaves capped an epic finale to the Professional Surfing Tour of America’s2001 season at California Street in Ventura during the PSTA US SurfingChampionships Presented by Billabong & Oakley, a 1-Star rated ASP WorldQualifying Series event and the final stop on the Professional Surfing Tourof America (PSTA).

Hot Ventura local Adam Virs came out on top in a tight confrontation, while PSTA Women’spoints leader Julia Christian easily won her third PSTA contest in fourattempts this year, as well as the 2001 PSTA Season Championship in theWomen’s Shortboard division.

Christian, 19, from Carlsbad, started strong in the final and never lookedback. For nearly the entire heat she had the other competitors “combo’d,”meaning they needed a total score of over 10 points–the maximum pointsawarded for a single wave–to overtake the lead. Christian continued heruncanny ability to seek out and destroy the best set waves in a given heat,even during a final plagued by an extended lull. It was her second ride, along lined up right, that cinched the win and the season title.

“I saw that Nicole Grodesky was too deep, and I knew I was in positioninside of her,” recounted Christian. “I wanted it so bad, I knew it wasgoing to line up. I ended up connecting it all the way through, it was areal long wave. It’s so much fun out there.”

Christian attributed her wave knowledge to experience and persistence:”Before the heat I sat on the point and watched where the men were sitting.I have pretty good wave selection, it’s something I had to work on becauseIused to take scrappy little waves and miss the sets. It takes practice tolearn and have patience.”

On her new title of America’s Pro Surfing Women’s champion, Christian said,”I’m so stoked I accomplished the goal I set for myself this year, I’m sohappy right now. It’s time to relax a bit, at least for a day. I’m goingtoHawaii after this. I just want to thank my brother, he went to every singleone of my contests, he came here today with my parents. He gives me a lotofsupport and helps me out with my surfing. Al Merrick was here today too,he’s been making some insane boards and it’s really helped step up mysurfing, knowing I can ride any one of my boards and surf my best outthere.”

The Men’s Shortboard final was far more dramatic, rankingamong the best heats on the PSTA circuit this year. The conditions weretailor-made for high performance surfing: long, smooth-faced sectionyrightsin the head-high range offering speed pockets that the surfers exploited tofull advantage.

It was a toe-to-toe battle between two localfavorites and friendly rivals: Oxnard’s Nathaniel Curran, 17, and Ventura’sAdam Virs, 22. The lead changed hands after nearly every ride; Curran,stillan amateur, was the more conservative and deliberate surfer, while Virssurfed as it he downed 10 cups of coffee before his heat, going faster andhigher than anyone else. As in the Women’s Final, the most contestablewavesswung wide to the south, and Virs took the lead for good with a long rightthat swept down the point for an 8.25. Virs added an insurance wave,keepingboth Curran and Jeff Deffenbaugh off a good right by standing up first andgoing left, a daring maneuver that could have cost him an interference andthe win if either of the other two surfers stood up with him.

“Out there you gotta have speed to make all those sections,” said thegregarious Virs, “and this being my local spot was a big factor. All myfriends are Nathaniel Curran’s friends. When I see Nathaniel getting pumpedup, I know he’s getting good waves, and it amps me up. He’s a toughcompetitor and will definitely be a standout when he turns pro. We all surftogether, I hang out at the Strand and surf with all the Curran brothers,and when they come here they get the same love.”

On that tactical left, Virs said, “I knew there was a point brreakinterference rule in effect, and if they got up on their feet I would havelost, and my 8.25 would have gone bye-bye. But I took my chance and sealedthe deal.”

Already assured the PSTA Men’s Shortboard Season Championship, RyanSimmons’bid to go all the way and win the last contest of the year was thwarted inthe semifinals due to a knee injury and strong performances by JeffDeffenbaugh and Mike Parsons.

The three PSTA 2001 Season Champions–Christian, Mohr and Simmons–wereeachrewarded with special trophies and a $500 cash prize by season sponsor JohnPaul Mitchell Haircare Products.

Finishing off the day was the Oakley Aerial Expression Session, aninvitation-only special event showcasing surfing’s best frequent flyers,from pioneers like Christian Fletcher and Matt Archbold to new schoolinnovators like Dave Post and Eric McHenry.

“We wanted to do something different and separate ourselves from the norm,”said Oakley Sports Marketing Manager Dino Andino, former US SurfingChampionwho’s still active in competition and made it to the Round of 32 in thisevent. “We wanted to create a more Oakley-esque event, so we created ourownjerseys and got the pioneers of the sport involved, guys like Christian andArchy. They ain’t pretty, they ain’t nice, but they’re sure good. This isone of the first contests Oakley has actually sponsored, although we arejust involved as anybody in all sports worldwide without claiming to be asponsor. We have somebody at almost every event. I think the PSTA is agreatplatform for young surfers to grow and progress to the world tour, and alsogives them the chance to take guys out who are solid. It’s a confidencebuilder. We’ve got to continue nurturing this tour and bring Americansurfing back to a force to be reckoned with in the world.”

PSTA US Surfing Championships Final Day, Nov. 4, 2001
Men’s Shortboard Quarterfinals
Heat 1
1. Adam Virs 14.60
2. Benji Severson 13.80
3. Bobby Martinez 13.60
4. Danny Nichols 10.10
Heat 2
1. David Pinto 14.05
2. Nathaniel Curran 13.35
3. Chris Drummy 10.80
4. Bron Heussenstamm 10.50
Heat 3
1. Ryan Simmons 18.75
2. Mike Parsons 13.60
3. Mike Todd 12.25
4. Kyle Knox 10.14
Heat 4
1. Jeff Deffenbaugh 17.00
2. Bart Templeman 13.85
3. Omar Etcheverry 13.65
4. Kirk Tice 9.10
Women’s Semifinals
Heat 1
1. Nicole Grodesky 13.50
2. Holly Beck 13.10
3. Amy Williamson 7.25
4. Erin Meyers 6.95
Heat 2
1. Julia Christian 20.00
2. Jodie Nelson 11.35
3. Liz Motshagen 10.25
4. Diana Mattison 7.65

Men’s Shortboard Semifinals
Heat 1
1. Adam Virs 18.35
2. Nathaniel Curran 14.40
3. David Pinto 12.00
4. Benji Severson 11.75
Heat 2
1. Jeff Deffenbaugh 19.302. Mike Parsons 18.00
3. Ryan Simmons 15.05
4. Bart Templeman 12.10
Women’s Final
1. Julia Christian 22.25
2. Jodie Nelson 11.25
3. Nicole Grodesky 11.20
4. Holly Beck 8.35

Men’s Shortboard Final
1. Adam Virs 20.00
2. Nathaniel Curran 18.70
3. Mike Parsons 14.35
4. Jeff Deffenbaugh 14.15

Oakley Aerial Expression Session
1. Josh Sleigh 7.15
2. Bobby Martinez 6.50
3. Matt Archbold 5.85
4. Ratboy Collins

PSTA 2001 Final Standings
Men’s Shortboard
1. Ryan Simmons 4246
2. Bron Heussenstamm 3315
3. David Pinto 3216
4. Jeff Deffenbaugh 3170
5. Dean Randazzo 3150
6. Mike Todd 2674
7. Benji Severson 2640
8. Zach Keenan 2500

Women’s Shortboard
1. Julia Christian 4400
2. Holly Beck 3607
3. Jodie Nelson 3518
4. Liz Motshagen 3454
5. Kyla Langen 3052
6. Diana Mattison 2751
7. Nicole Grodesky 2682
8. Amber Puha 2642