TURF: Arnette Cash Pot Surf Series; Ponce Inlet, FL; August 13th, 2012
ENERGY: Well, we are talking about Ponce Inlet, so as long as it wasn’t totally flat, you know conditions were fairly decent. And as it turned out, a little microswell snuck into state waters earlier this week, giving the break just enough juice to work with. It ended up being waist-high and glassy with beautiful weather; the perfect excuse to blow off work and school for a day at the beach… oh yeah, and then there was the tempting possibility of winning some of Arnette’s free money — as if you really needed another reason.
FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Central Florida girls are a fearless breed. Arnette’s Cash Pot Surf Series doesn’t have a women’s division, but that didn’t stop the girls from showing up ready to throw down. They were fully prepared to take on the guys, but so many women signed up that event organizers actually decided to create a separate women’s heat. Good thinking, fellas. Might be time to make that a permanent fixture.
SLIDE: The entire format of the Cash Pot Surf Series is designed to keep competitors surfing all-out. The winner of every heat gets a cash prize — $25 for the Juniors and $50 for the Pros — and by the time the finals rolled around, the surfer with the most heat wins got another $50. And that’s not even including all the cash up for grabs in the finals.
The Pro-Am and Junior Pro fields were hotly contested this year. The lineup was filled with heavy hitters like Aaron Comican, Jeremy Johnston, and Cam Richards, but in the end, it was a pair of Sunrise Surf Shop teamriders and Jacksonville natives who pulled out the win. Jake McGuire took the $250 Junior Pro division check over South Carolina’s Cam Richards, New Smyrna Beach standout Noah Schweizer, North Carolina’s Knox Harris, Melbourne, FL’s, Corey Howell, and Barbados’ Dane Mackie.
Meanwhile, Ryan Briggs made $500 for his efforts in the pro division, where he defeated Evan Thompson, Jeremy Johnston, Devon Thresher, Gorkin, and Eros Exarhou. “There were lots of good guys there, and it felt very good to win because those guys have been beating me for a long time,” Briggs said. “I feel like I’m just now starting to come into my own.” Briggs also had a theory about why Jacksonville natives like himself, McGuire, and Thompson did so well in Monday's contest. “All of us from up here are pretty tight-knit, and we feed off of each other,” he said. “We want to see each other do well, but we also really want to win, so I think that has a lot to do with it.”
On the women’s side of things, Flagler Beach, FL, wahine Haley Watson rode to victory over a crew of younger girls including Avery Aydolette, Skyler Magliochetti, and others. There weren’t cash prizes for the girls (sad face) but Haley at least got to claim some free schwag. And, of course, everyone had a great time out in the water.
THE PAIN: It kind of sucks to win the most heats overall in an event then barely miss taking the title. Cam Richards and Evan Thompson both found themselves in that position Monday, as they ended up coming in second in the Junior Pro and Pro-Am divisions respectively. But luckily, their winnings from slaying all those earlier heats added up to help ease the pain in a major way. Looking on the bright side is easy when your pockets are stuffed with cash.
THE MAN: As Instagram and Facebook photos will testify, the most awesome performer at Monday’s event was the weather. It’s late summer in Florida, which, for those of you who don’t know, means the skies can go from blue and sunny to dark and stormy in no time flat. Monday’s thunderstorm was particularly impressive, and the contest had to be shut down for about 45 minutes while menacing, purple-black storm clouds rolled through and lighting cracked all over the place. It passed relatively quickly and no one was hurt, but it did make for one hell of a show while it lasted.
YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “Bro, I haven’t surfed this place since I was 17 years old… Does it always break this good?” –Central Florida shaper/coach/pro CT Taylor stoked on the contest conditions.
“Me and Evan Thompson kind of have a little rivalry going. He’s from up here too. I think we’re even now, but it felt good to beat him in the finals. He’s one guy who I was pretty happy to beat.” –Pro-Am division winner and Jacksonville Beach standout Ryan Briggs.
“I thought it was really cool that Arnette decided to make a girls heat. I was also kind of looking forward to competing against the guys, but it’s just such a fun event either way.” –Girls division champ Haley Watson.
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2012 ARNETTE CASH POT SURF SERIES PONCE INLET STOP:
1. Ryan Briggs
2. Evan Thompson
3. Jeremy Johnston
4. Devon Thresher
5. Aaron Cormican
6. Eros Exarhou
1. Jake McGuire
2. Cam Richards
3. Noah Schweizer
4. Knox Harris
5. Corey Howell
6. Dane Mackie
1. Haley Watson
2. Avery Aydolette
3. Skyler Magliochetti
4. “Crazy-Stoked” Hubler