NEWPORT BEACH, California (Friday, September 19, 2008) - Increased swell in the four-to-five foot (1.5 metre) range graced the contest venue at Newport Beach's 56th Street today and competitors in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Oakley Newport Beach Pro and the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior lifted the performance levels once again, narrowing the draws to the final 16 and final four respectively.
Stop No. 2 of 3 on the 2008 Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series (an ASP North America Specialty Series), the Oakley Newport Beach Pro and Oakley Pro Junior represent a vital part of the ASP North America West Coast schedule, and today's athletes reveled in the increased swell and hollow conditions.
Brett Barley (Cape Hatteras, NC), 18, a relative unknown on the ASP WQS and Pro Junior Series, continued his blitzkrieg of the 2008 Oakley Newport Beach Pro today, netting the day's high heat total of a 17.07 out of a possible 20.
"The conditions out here are really similar to the Outer Banks back home when we have swell," Barley said. "There was a bit of a rip running through the lineup close to the jetty so I just moved down the beach and picked off a couple of good ones. I'm stoked I got through."
Barley also secured the day's highest single-wave score with a 9.00 forehand barrel, rocketing the explosive goofy-footer into the Quarterfinals of the Oakley Newport Beach Pro.
"This is definitely the best I've done in a contest before," Barley said. "I guess these conditions really suit my surfing and hopefully they stick around for the rest of the event."
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 27, two-time defending Oakley Newport Beach Pro Champion and 2006 Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series Champion, advanced into tomorrow's Quarterfinals with ease this morning, moving one step closer to clinching his third consecutive event title.
"The conditions were pretty fun out there and I'm stoked to keep moving forward in the event," Yeomans said. "I would love to win three in a row out here, but obviously, the No. 1 goal is to qualify for the ASP World Tour. I'm sitting in the 20's right now on the ASP WQS and I'm looking to bust my way in before the season is finished. This event won't factor into my qualifying campaign, but it's cool and it's close to home so I'm pumped to be into the Quarterfinals."
Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, was another regional standout who capitalized on today's barreling conditions, slotting himself into a deep forehand tube to net an 8.73 out of a possible 10.
"That was a really good one that opened up for me," Ettinger said. "I'm a pretty big guy so I wasn't sure I would find any barrels out there, but I kind of drifted into the spot and found a good one. I'm stoked it put me through the heat and hopefully it's similar out here tomorrow."
The ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior hit the water following the completion of the men's ASP WQS action, and the juniors took to the increased swell with style, punch and bite, putting in some of the most explosive performances of the season as they decided the four finalists.
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 20, lost out yesterday in the men's event, but has taken his world-class form to the Oakley Pro Junior with a Finals berth on Sunday.
"I'm stoked to get through to the Final on Sunday," Gudauskas said. "That Semifinal out there could have been a Final as there were so many good surfers in it. I'm bummed I lost out in the men's division, but am happy to still be in the running for the Pro Junior. Hopefully the waves stick around and we can have an exciting finish."
Finishing Equal 3rd in last January's Billabong ASP World Junior Series, Gudauskas took top honors for the North American juniors on the global stage and hopes to improve come next January.
"The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships are the biggest thing for junior surfers and you really feel like you're part of something special being there," Gudauskas said. "Last year I qualified as being the highest rated junior on the 'QS so I'm looking to do that as well this season."
Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, current No. 8 on the 2008 ASP North America Pro Junior Series, is the only surfer still competing in both the Oakley Pro Junior as well as the Oakley Newport Beach pro and stands as the only surfer able to potentially win both events.
"I got a pretty good result in the last WQS event I surfed and that gave me a lot of confidence," Perillo said. "I'm stoked to be in the Final for the Oakley Pro Junior and I'm hoping I can get a good result and put it towards qualifying for the ASP World Junior Championships."
Gudauskas and Perillo will be joined by fellow finalists Michael Dunphy (Virginia Beach, VA), 18, and Trevor Saunders (San Clemente, CA), 19, on Sunday to compete for the Oakley Pro Junior Title.
Tomorrow will see the Oakley Newport Beach Pro Quarterfinals run before all the action culminates on Sunday, September 21, 2008. The 20th Annual Newport Beach Surf Championships will also run tomorrow.
The Oakley Newport Beach Pro and Oakley Pro Junior will be webcast LIVE via www.newportbeachpro.com
RESULTS: Day 4
Oakley Newport Beach Pro - ASP WQS 2-Star Men's
Round 5: 32 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Dillon Perillo (USA) 15.66, Jason Miller (USA) 10.27, Marcelo Trekinho (BRA) 9.46, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 8.10
Heat 2: Darrel Goodrum (USA) 15.16, Jason Harris (USA) 9.54, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 5.77, Dane Johnson (USA) 5.26
Heat 3: Travis Mellem (USA) 14.44, Brent Reilly (USA) 13.46, Tim Curran (USA) 11.16, Richie Collins (USA) 8.07
Heat 4: Brett Barley (USA) 17.07, Brandon Guilmette (USA) 11.90, Danny Estes (USA) 10.60
Heat 5: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.50, Blake Jones (USA) 13.14, Nat Young (USA) 11.34, Leif Engstrom (USA) 7.50
Heat 6: Brad Ettinger (USA) 16.30, Micah Byrne (USA) 15.86, Kieran Horn (USA) 9.37, Dane Zaun (USA) 8.63
Heat 7: Shaun Burrell (USA) 12.17, Dane Ward (USA) 11.84, Brandon Ragenovich (USA) 9.97, Ryan Briggs (USA) 8.17
Heat 8: Asher Nolan (USA) 15.40, Evan Valiere (HAW) 14.00, Ted Navarro (USA) 12.20, Justin McBride (USA) 10.00
Oakley Pro Junior - ASP Grade-2 Pro Junior
Round 3: 32 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advancing)
Heat 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.06, Blake Jones (USA) 12.70, Jason Harris (USA) 10.37, Kyle Kennelly (USA) 8.44
Heat 2: Andrew Doheny (USA) 14.84, Fisher Heverly (USA) 10.73, Phillip Goold (USA) 9.74, Daniel Shea (USA) 8.53
Heat 3: Dillon Perillo (USA) 14.50, Evan Thompson (USA) 13.40, Quinn McCrystal (USA) 10.27, Cody Thompson (USA) 7.04
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.40, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.60, Albee Layer (HAW) 11.37, Victor Done (USA) 6.97
Heat 5: Oliver Kurtz (USA) 12.34, Spencer Reagan (USA) 10.60, Kellen Ellison (USA) 9.14, Travis Beckmann (USA) 5.67
Heat 6: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.00, Hunter Heverly (USA) 11.34, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 9.97, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 8.59
Heat 7: Michael Dunphy (USA), 12.63, Nat Young (USA) 12.50, Matt Mohagen (USA) 9.00, Taylor Thorne (USA) 5.70
Heat 8: Trevor Saunders (USA) 11.57, Brent Reilly (USA) 11.00, Leif Engstrom (USA) 8.80, Brett Barley (USA) 7.93
Quarterfinals: 16 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advancing)
QF 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.34, Andrew Doheny (USA) 12.90, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.20, Evan Thompson (USA) 7.57
QF 2: Dillon Perillo (USA) 12.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.10, Blake Jones (USA) 10.50, Fisher Heverly (USA) 9.70
QF 3: Oliver Kurtz (USA), Nat Young (USA) 13.43, Brent Reilly (USA) 8.70, Evan Geiselman (USA) 8.34
QF 4: Michael Dunphy (USA) 11.40, Trevor Saunders (USA) 9.50, Spencer Reagan (USA) 7.97, Hunter Heverly (USA) 6.20
Semifinals: 8 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advancing)
SF 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.60, Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.67, Andrew Doheny (USA) 12.30, Sebastian Zietz (USA) 11.83
SF 2: Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.80, Trevor Saunders (USA) 11.90, Nat Young (USA) 11.73, Oliver Kurtz (USA) 11.30