PSTA: Pat O’Connell Victorious At Op Pro In Oceanside

OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA-USA (Sunday, June 3, 2001) – Three SouthernCalifornians — two crafty pro veterans and a hot newcomer to surfing’s proranks — took the top prizes on the final day of the Op Pro at Oceanside, thesecond stop on the 2001 Professional Surfing Tour of America (PSTA).

Pat O’Connell of Dana Point and Julia Christian of Carlsbad demolished thecompetition in the Men’s Shortboard and Women’s Shortboard divisionsrespectively, while former world longboard champion Colin McPhillips of SanClemente barely squeaked by Josh Mohr in the final seconds to take theLongboard crown. Thankfully for competitors and the large crowd gathered atOceanside Pier, the thick marine layer that had dominated the event finallygave way to bright sun as the semifinals began.

The diminutive, colorful O’Connell, currently ranked 30th on the ASP WorldChampionship Tour (WCT), and the co-star of “The Endless Summer II,” caughta high scoring wave at the beginning of the Men’s Shortboard final and neverlooked back. His final tally of 23.75 was among the highest of the contest,and his win includes an invitation to the prestigious Op Boat Trip Challengein Indonesia next year. O’Connell knew he was in good position to win afterposting a 9.25 to start the heat, but wasn’t about to cruise from there.

“When you have that big of a lead, you don’t want anybody to come back,”explained O’Connell. “I saw Tim Curran get a wave, and a didn’t know he hadfallen in the end, and I was stressing because he does those aerial things.When the heat was half over I started thinking, ‘What shorts am I going towear on the boat trip,’ but then it was like wait a second, I need to makesure the other guys don’t get better waves. I got lucky, got the best waves,and it was fun.”

With O’Connell’s strong start, the race was on for second place, withseasoned veterans Jeff Deffenbaugh of Huntington Beach and Oxnard’s TimCurran battling it out in the final seconds. Curran caught the best tuberide of the contest in his semi-final heat, but ran out of luck in thefinal. Near heat’s end, knowing the winner’s circle was out of reach, Currannearly stuck a backside Rodeo Flip, a skateboard-inspired maneuver thatinvolves a 360-degree flip in mid-air. Deffenbaugh kept to his earlierstrategy of staying with his strength–going backside on lefts and bustingbig snaps–and was genuinely surprised when Curran’s name was announced forthird place.

Christian, who dominated her heats throughout the event, credited localknowledge and a hometown crowd for her success. She has been on a tear oflate, placing 1st, 2nd and 4th in three previous WQS events this year.Christian’s strong backhand attack in the choppy 2′-4′ surf was no match forfellow finalists Amber Puha of Oceanside, Holly Beck from Palos Verdes, andLiz Motshagen, also of Oceanside.

McPhillips’ win was so close that, after exiting the water, he felt sure hehad placed second behind fellow longboard veteran Josh Mohr. McPhillipsbested Mohr by just half a point, prowling the contest area from the piernorth to rip a variety of lefts and rights, punctuated by several of hissignature roundhouse cutbacks, a difficult maneuver on a nine-footsurfboard. “I got a couple of fun waves, but it was hard to find good onesout there,” said McPhillips, who leaves tomorrow for Costa Rica for anotherlongboard event. “I wanted to get one of those lefts down the beach thatJosh kept getting. I hung by the pier and didn’t think my scores were highenough, so winning was a pleasant surprise.”

With the exception of Christian and Beck, all three finals were stacked withveteran pros in a contest designed to be a proving ground for young amateursaiming to make their mark in the pro ranks. As PSTA announcer Mike Morganremarked during the awards ceremony, the finals showed the youngsters thatthey have to go through some of the world’s best surfers before they canmake their mark on the elite ASP WCT circuit.

The 2001 PSTA circuit continues on June 20-24 with the Vans Off The Wall Proat San Clemente Pier, a WQS one-star event featuring men’s shortboard,women’s shortboard, and longboard divisions.

Men’s Shortboard Final

1. Pat O’Connell 23.75
2. Jeff Deffenbaugh 19.25
3. Tim Curran 18.65
4. Dean Randazzo 18.10

Women’s Shortboard Final

1. Julia Christian 21.25
2. Amber Puha 13.00
3. Holly Beck 12.60
4. Liz Motahagen 7.00

Men’s Shortboard Semifinal

Heat 1
1. Jeff Deffenbaugh 21.95
2. Tim Curran 21.25
3. Ryan Simmons 17.60
4. Magnum Martinez 12.60

Heat 2
1. Pat O’Connell 19.65
2. Dean Randazzo 19.50
3. Gabe Kling 13.00
4. Chris Ward 9.00

Women’s Shortboard Semifinal

Heat 1
1. Julian Christian 16.00
2. Holly Beck 11.35
3. Lizbeth Daiz 9.10
4. Kyla Langen 7.50

Heat 2
1. Amber Puha 15.75
2. Liz Motshagen 13.45
3. Jayme Gee 12.75
4. Erin Meyers 8.95

Men’s Shortboard Quarterfinal

Heat 1
1. Ryan Simmons 18.75
2. Magnum Martinez 18.60
3. Zach Keenan 13.75
4. Jason Bogle 13.75

Heat 2
1. Tim Curran 17.65
2. Jeff Deffenbaugh 17.30
3. Bron Heussenstamm 14.00
4. Greg Long 11.35

Heat 3
1. Pat O’Connell 20.50
2. Chris Ward 17.10
3. Mike Todd 17.05
4. David Pinto 10.25

Heat 4
1. Gabe Kling 16.75
2. Dean Randazzo 15.10
3. Max Hoshino 14.65
4. Jesse Merle Jones 6.50

Women’s Shortboard Quarterfinal

Heat 1
1. Kyla Langen 12.15
2. Lizbeth Daiz 10.40
3. Nicole Grodesky 9.90
4. Coleen Hanley 5.85

Heat 2
1. Julie Christian 15.25
2. Holly Beck 13.35
3. Jodie Nelson 10.10
4. Siri Cota 5.55

Heat 3
1. Erin Meyers 10.25
2. Jayme Gee 10.10
3. Nicole Falco 9.35
4. Marni Walquist 6.35

Heat 4
1. Amber Puha 14.00
2. Liz Motshagen 9.75
3. Tanya Booth 8.25

Longboard Final

1. Colin McPhillips 20.25
2. Josh Mohr 19.75
3. Josh Baxter 16.25
4. Brendan White 15.10

Men’s Longboard Semifinal

Heat 1
1. Josh Baxter 21.50
2. Brendan White 16.70
3. Michael Detemple 11.75
4. Travis Northy 10.00

Heat 2
1. Josh Mohr 17.65
2. Colin McPhillips 17.40
3. Mike Gee 13.90
4. Steve Newton 11.00

Longboard Quarterfinal

Heat 1
1. Brendan White 12.25
2. Michael Detemple 9.35
3. Taylor Jensen 8.50
4. Dustin Franks 4.75

Heat 2
1. Travis Northy 12.25
2. Josh Baxter 7.85
3. Linden Broccoli 7.50
4. Vience Felix 6.60

Heat 3
1. Colin McPhillips 15.00
2. Mike Gee 10.25
3. Aaron Garrett 9.25
4. Bing Cosby 8.25

Heat 4
1. Josh Mohr 12.25
2. Steve Newton 9.30
3. Brennan Clark 6.75
4. Ryan Cordon 6.50

For more information, event schedules and TV airdates:
Op Pro at Oceanside:
Official Product and “PSTA Leader Jersey” sponsorPaul Mitchell
Surf forecast partner:Surfline http://www.surfline.com976-SURF; Wavefax
National TV Partner:Outdoor Life Network
California TV Partners:
KCAL Channel 9 (Los Angeles)
KION (Salinas-Monterey)
KKFX (Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo)