TURF: Arnette Cash Pot Surf Series Stop #4; Ponce Inlet, FL; August 12th-13th and Arnette Cash Pot Surf Series Stop #5; Outer Banks, NC; August 15th
ENERGY: From the Ponce Inlet stop, Gulf Coast-native-turned international star Shea Lopez reported: “It was a two day event, and the first day was probably waist- to shoulder-high and super fun: glassy all day. It was actually some of the more fun waves I’ve had for a contest on the East Coast. The second day was less consistent and smaller, but when they came in, they were very nice. It’s fun when there are a lot of opportunities to catch and ride waves in your heats, and that’s what we had for this competition. I entered the competition because my friends were running it, and then I saw guys like Geiselman and Jeremy Johnston and Aaron Cormican and the Schweizer brothers and the Heilmans and the Thompsons, and pretty much all this top East Coast talent, were coming down to my local break, so I thought it would be great to go out and have some fun with my friends.”
From the Outer Banks stop, Jeff Myers reported 2- to 3-foot-plus onshore choppy conditions. But hey, it was enough to work with. The boys handled it and got things done. Nobody was stressing. Just a fun, lighthearted vibe as the up-and-coming generation proved their worth against guys they grew up idolizing.
FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: The whole concept of a free contest that hands out cash to the winners of each heat as well as the finalists may be standard for Arnette’s Cash Pot Surf Series, but it’s relatively novel in the industry as a whole. “There’s no money you had to put down, and that meant no one had a lot invested in this besides the gas money,” Pro-Am competitor Shea Lopez said after the Florida event. “And every heat was an opportunity to make between 20 and 50 bucks for winning, then there was also $500 for 1st-place and $300, $200, and $150 for the other finalists. So I think everyone just had a lot of fun competing without the pressure. At a 4-star event like ECSC in Virginia right now, there’s a lot of pressure to get points, and there’s a lot of money that you spend traveling to get there and then on your accommodation and entry fees and membership fees too. But this was kind of just a fun bro experience down at the beach with all our friends. It’s a good vibe. Any time you can surf in a contest for free with the opportunity to make money, it’s like, who’s going to pass on that chance?”
SLIDE: From the Florida stop, Shea Lopez reported: “Highlights of the event were watching Aaron Cormican come back into form. He’s won four ECSC titles and pretty much every event on the East Coast, and it’s been a year or two, I think, since he’s won something now. But at this event, he took out everybody on his own hand-shaped board. It’s probably one of the first or second boards he’s ever shaped, so he came down there and just was really relaxed. Noah Schweizer gave him the best run for his money for sure in the finals. Noah’s grown like six inches and probably put on 10 pounds since last year, so he was surfing really well and was able to compete with some of the bigger surfers, and that was cool to see. Noah and Aaron each got two good waves in the finals, where Jeremy Johnston and I each got one, and it came down to Aaron’s last wave. He was able to get a really good wedge off the jetty and got like an 8.5 or something, and that was where he walked away with it. I also saw some of the Bajans like Josh Burke and Che Allen, who got 1st and 2nd in the 16 & Under division, and those kids are going to be coming up really strong in the next year or two. They’ll be in the pro division soon competing with guys like Aaron Cormican, Jeremy Johnston, Asher Nolan, and Ben Bourgeois, and next thing you know, they’ll be the standout guys. They’re getting better by the day.”
From the Outer Banks, Jeff Myers’ report indicated a bit of friendly generational jousting as young guns Shane Burn and Taylor Brothers, from North Carolina and Florida respectively, took on their elder regional counterparts Jeff Myers and Jeremy Johnston. But in the end, it was Shane who pulled out the win over Johnston, with Brothers and Myers finishing 3rd and 4th. "I was actually surfing pretty bad my first couple of heats and wasn't expecting much,” Burn said. “I kind of got lucky and just got some good waves in the final. But I was really stoked to win, I've never won a pro contest before. The event was really awesome overall. It had a really fun vibe, and when I won and everyone else in the final was stoked for me, it really made the event for me, because it was guys who I've always looked up to. The result really could've gone either way between me and Jeremy, so for him to still be stoked for me was really rad."
Meanwhile, in the 16 & Under division of the Outer Banks event, Carolina Beach, NC, native Tyler Faulkner held it down for his home state, taking down South Carolina’s Luke Gordon and Micha Cantor along with Maryland’s Simon Hetrick in the finals. “I thought that the conditions were pretty fun, like waist-high wedges, and that the contest was super fun,” Faulkner said of the event. “I’m also stoked to win and make some money!”
THE PAIN: It’s hard to be pissed off at a series of fun, free contests with cash prizes for anyone who wins a heat. If you weren’t smiling at these events, you were missing the point.
THE MAN: Everyone who won their divisions this year amidst some really stiff competition definitely deserves big ups. But this one has to go to Arnette for bringing such an awesome contest series to the people. East Coast surfers look forward to it every year.
YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “The best thing about the event is that it’s free, and it’s more about having a good time with friends on the beach. All the New Smyrna Beach boys were hanging out and catching up after our travels throughout the year, so that’s good stuff. Jeremy Johnston and Evan Geiselman are always tough to beat, no matter what the conditions, but then sprinkle in Shea Lopez, Noah Schweizer, and Nils Schweizer, and dang! The waves were small, but super fun little peaks everywhere, like mini D’Bah in Oz. One thing that helped me in the final was paddling over to First Peak after I saw a sick little one there. It felt great to get a W. It just gets the ball rolling for the next month or so of events that we have here on the East Coast.” –Ponce Inlet stop Pro-Am winner Aaron “Gorkin” Cormican
“I think this was kind of a warm-up for the contest season, because every fall we get six or seven events that go off between Florida and New York, so this is the season when everyone starts to get their competitive juices going. And this was probably one of the first events for everyone to get together and see how everyone’s progressed over the year.” –Ponce Inlet stop Pro-Am finalist Shea Lopez
"I'm super stoked to see two groms who I've watched grow up as surfers drive up last minute and take the whole kit and kaboodle. Seeing my good friend Jeffrey Myers cash in and make the final was just the icing on the cake." –event announcer and Arnette big-wig Travis Ajay
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2013 ARNETTE CASH POT SURF SERIES EAST COAST EVENTS:
PONCE INLET STOP:
1. Aaron Cormican
2. Noah Schweizer
4. Shea Lopez
16 & UNDER
1. Josh Burke
2. Che Allen
3. Matt Zaccaria
4. Dane Mackie
OUTER BANKS STOP:
1. Shane Burn
2. Jeremy Johnston
3. Taylor Brothers
4. Jeffrey Myers
16 & UNDER
1. Tyler Faulkner
2. Luke Gordon
3. Simon Hetrick
4. Micha Cantor