Now at the halfway point of the 2010 Vans Pier Classic, Friday saw the sun blazing, bikinis showing, and some buzzer beating heat victories. It was like March Madness down at the Huntington Beach Pier today with some previous Vans Pier Classic champs bowing out.
16-year-old phenom Kolohe Andino was one of the first victims of the NCAA like buzzer beaters that ran rampant today. In the eighth heat of the morning Seal Beach’s Chris Waring threw down the highest scoring wave of the day: a 9.0 in which he rained down two huge backside hits in the glassy Huntington surf. Florida’s Cody Thompson also started off strong and the two remained in control of the heat. With a minute left Kolohe battled his way back to second, grabbing a 7.1 that he worked to the beach. Needing a 5.86, Thompson got the luck of the draw while Andino watched on from the beach with mere seconds remaining. Thompson got a left and threw two backside fin releases and a floater to finish it off as the buzzer sounded. The score came in at a 7.85, putting him in first, Waring in second, and Andino in third.
2009 event champ Mike Losness was another one who fell at the hands of a last second effort. He surfed a bit conservative throughout his heat, but held second for the better part. Adam Lambert threw caution to the wind with seconds remaining and blew the tail out, putting him through and sending Losness packing.
Other standouts today included the Hurley team manager duo of Brandon Guilmette and Asher Nolan, who ran their heat and knocked out a former event champ and local favorite Shaun Ward. Guilmette also put up the highest scoring heat of the day, a 15.50.
Carlsbad’s Ricky Whitlock also had himself a day, racking in a 14.25 and all smiles. Some pro juniors took a few heats in the big boy event as well—Ian Crane, Evan Geiselman, and Nick Rupp all winning their heats. And in a North Carolina connection with Rupp, former ASP World Tour competitor Ben Bourgeois once again surfed solid. He seems calm, cool, and collected, living the dream. Easy to do when your life is a vacation like his is (Barbados for a month, the Caribbean, etc., etc.).
The Round of 32 is now set for Saturday morning. Will it be boys who are looking to set their WQS paths with a 2* victory, or will it be the likes of vets Benny B, Micah Byrne, or Ricky Whitlock who end up dominating? If you’re in the area this weekend be sure to get down to the beach. Tons of action in the water, bikinis on the beach, blue skies, and March Madness that is spring break.—Ryan Brower