TURF: 2013-2014 APSPR Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit Event #1; Middles, Isabela, Puerto Rico; November 8th-10th, 2013.
ENERGY: The last APSPR contest of the 2012-2013 season was held last March in 15- to 20-foot surf — but that’s end of winter, when cold-front swells bless Puerto Rico on the regular and every East Coaster worth his or her salt travels south to escape snow, water temps in the 40s, and the long, hard grip of winter. November? That’s typically when late-season hurricane swells are blessing the East Coast while missing the Caribbean, keeping most Rightsiders scouring the Outer Banks, New Jersey, New York, and beyond rather than looking south toward Puerto Rico.
But 2013 has been anything but a typical year. And while the East Coast was slogging through another average two- to three-foot weekend of surf, Middles on November 10th saw highly contestable waves in the five- to six-foot range that gave all competitors a taste of the winter still to come. Men’s competitors enjoyed the cream of the conditions crop, however, with mid-morning and early-afternoon glass, before trade winds wreaked a bit of havoc on the last few Women’s rounds.
SLIDE: By now, the names and faces of the Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit should be familiar to any East Coast surf fan: Puerto Rican regulars like Brian and Wesley Toth, Gaby Escudero, Alejandro Moreda, Josie Graves (and his brother Dylan when he’s home), Hector Santamaria… On the Women’s side, along with locals like Lilac Alvarado and Maria Del Mar Gonzalez, transplants like Maria Kuzmovich, Amy Murphree, Alexis and Ariel Engstrom, and Quincy Davis (when she’s not traveling) almost always feature in the Corona draw.
However, this year’s event showed a new breed of standouts is poised to make a run at APSPR glory. On the Women’s side of the draw, Barbados wahine Chelsea Tuach kept up her 2013 rampage, advancing through five heats in a row before beating out regular rival Nikki Viesins in the final, 13.33 – 11.13, to take home the impressive $5,000 paycheck. Earlier, when conditions were still ripe for high-performance moves Maria Kuzmovich and Viesins took down the two highest wave scores of the women’s side of the event, 8.33 and 8.1, respectively, with Kuzmovich also nailing the highest total, 14.53, in Round Two of Women’s competition.
On the Men’s side, the big story was Wesley Toth exacting every little brother’s dream dose of revenge on big bro Brian in the man-on-man quarterfinals, with “Wheels” clocking an impressive 16.00 to Brian’s 13.37 (Brian did have the highest score of the entire event, 9.33, in the previous heat). Meanwhile, Cody Thompson, who won the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico just down the road at Jobos last February, just missed making another final at the hands of Gaby Escudero, the local’s feel-good favorite who has been surfing with a passion since enduring a brutal wipeout a couple of years back. In the end, Wesley defeated Gaby in a nailbiter of an all-goofyfoot final, 13.57 to 13.33, earning himself $10,000 and the early lead on the 2013-2014 APSPR Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit standings.
THE PAIN: Brian Toth is such a nice guy that he was probably more stoked than anything about his brother Wesley eventually winning the entire contest. But no doubt Brian will remember his quarterfinal defeat in this contest and get his own revenge one day.
THE MAN: Wesley deserves a whopping round of congratulations for his big win here. But don’t forget about cool, calm, and collected Chelsea Tuach, whose win presaged her even more dominant performance at the ASP Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior back home in Barbados the next weekend. Stay tuned for full coverage of that in the next day or so.
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2013-2014 APSPR CORONA EXTRA PRO SURF CIRCUIT EVENT #!
1. Wesley Toth, $10,000
2. Gaby Escudero
3. Cody Thompson, Alejandro Moreda
5. Asher Nolan, Marley Puglielli, Brian Toth, Josie Graves
1. Chelsea Tuach, $5,000
2. Nikki Viesins
3. Amy Murphree, Alexis Engstrom