TURF: 2013 Outer Banks Pro Presented By Hurley and Pacifico; Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, NC; August 29th-September 2nd, 2013.
ENERGY: With a bleak forecast in the cards, this year's Outer Banks Pro looked to be dead on arrival, with nothing but flatness stretching throughout the waiting period window. But surprise, surprise — a sneaker windswell made the surf come up. And once the sun came out, the beach at Jennette’s Pier was completely packed with Labor Day onlookers and surf fans alike.
FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: For those who journey south after the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks is considered the Rightside’s “country,” where surfers can both compete and decompress in the epitome of Southern comfort. And after a week of US Open-like chaos in VB, nothing sounds quite better than hanging around the friendly surroundings of good ol' Dare County. Secluded sandbars, punchy beachbreak, and delicious BBQ are the norm for first-timers and locals alike, further hinting at why most everyone loves to gather at and compete in this event.
SLIDE: As we mentioned before, the surf at this year’s Outer Banks Pro was fairly unexpected by all. But when chunky, three- to four-foot surf pops up out of nowhere on day one — and becomes groomed by light and variable winds on day two — you can bet that nobody complains. With peaks spread out across the entire competition area, everyone found room to breathe and a zone in which to perform, delivering some incredible heats for all spectators. Did I mention the delicious free Pacifico on tap the entire event? That's what the Outer Banks Pro is all about — Southern hospitality at its finest brought to you by the good peeps WRV, Hurley, and Pacifico!
But don’t let the overflowing beverages make you think this contest doesn’t exhibit a high level of professional competition. And this year, that performance level was set at an all-time high. As multiple rounds progressed, it was plain that more than a few standouts were favorites to win the event, making it nearly impossible to pinpoint “the guy” among all the local and well-traveled pros alike taking to the air, finding barrels, and laying down the types of combos that our beloved Outer Banks are not exactly used to hosting.
As usual, the Florida crew stepped up, with Blake Jones dropping a perfect 10 on a huge one-motion backside air reverse, Jeremy Johnston surfing dominantly throughout the event, and Eric Geiselman, in North Carolina for the first time in years, flashing an above-the-lip varial game that was nuts to witness. Meanwhile, Wrightsville Beach's prince, Benny Bourgeois, took down many with precision polished rail work, and fellow Tar Heel Erik Schub even broke a few hearts on his way to a surprisingly powerful finish.
But in the final, Jacksonville comp veteran and Hurley East Coast marketing and team man Asher Nolan had a love affair with the Atlantic Ocean that seemed to be in perfect rhythm. Although fellow North Floridian Gabe Kling lit off some fireworks with barely two minutes remaining thanks to his own beautiful air reverse, the score fell just short of what he needed to steal Asher's thunder.
THE PAIN: Given the free flow of Pacifico, the incredibly fun surf conditions, the abundant sunshine, and the record-setting gathering of humans who all came out to support this amazing event, there was very little, if any, pain on display this year.
THE MAN: Performing with slight injuries and still going home $10,000 richer, Asher Nolan was the man, bar none, chalking up yet another victory to prove it.
YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “This year’s event was incredible, with a great turnout in really fun Outer Banks surf. And next year looks to be an even bigger and better event — I can’t wait!” –WCT veteran and all-around good human Ben Bourgeois
"The Outer Banks Pro was super fun this year, like it always is! I kind of had a shocker in the contest, but hanging with Benny B, Ricky Whitlock, and [Bob] Yinger was epic. Having BBQs, beach days, and bar nights with great friends you hardly get to see, with really fun surfs in between? You can't ever go wrong when in the Outer Banks. I will come here at least once or twice a year until I die!” –Past Outer Banks Pro champion Aaron “Gorkin” Cormican
"My motivation came from actually being able to compete in good surf. It’s been two or three years since I’ve competed in an East Coast event where there were actually good waves. This year’s field was the best it’s ever been, and once I made the final, I put everything I had into it, knowing the purse difference from 1st to 4th. I knew I could do it if I surfed smart and got the right waves.” –2013 Outer Banks Pro winner Asher Nolan on what it took to win the comp
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2013 OUTER BANKS PRO PRESENTED BY HURLEY AND PACIFICO:
1. Asher Nolan
2. Gabe Kling
3. Jeremy Johnston
4. Eric Geiselman
5. Chris Waring, Matt Pagan
7. Blake Jones, Dylan Goodale