• subtitle: Kling, Nicholl Take Down Corona Extra Surf Circuit Event #2 In Puerto Rico

Written by  Allison Arteaga
Thursday, 10/11/12

TURF: APSPR Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit Event #2; Middles Beach, Isabela, PR; October 5th-7th

ENERGY: Relatively clean 3- to 4-foot waves rolled in throughout the weekend, and though it was a bit mushy at times, the sets brought plenty of scoring potential. Naturally, top pros from the Isla Del Encanto and beyond had no difficulty capitalizing, especially since there was a good chunk of cash up for grabs, with a $10,000 men’s prize purse and $5,000 for the ladies. And lets not forget that this contest was sponsored by Corona, so you can bet that not a single lime wedge went lonely as spectators kicked back and relaxed with an abundance of ice cold brew.

FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Besides the typical festive atmosphere and the same beautiful venue, this year’s Middles contest bore few other similarities to last year’s edition. Among the approximately 200 competitors who showed up and threw down, the women’s field was especially dense this year, while the men’s side was more saturated with local talent thanks to the fact that many members of the stateside crew that usually swamps the contest found themselves otherwise engaged. But the bigger change came from the ocean’s offerings. “The waves couldn’t have been more different from last year,” said Florida pro Gabe Kling who (spoiler alert) went on to win the Men’s division. “Last year, it was just huge and out of control, and this year, it was a lot smaller but definitely still really fun Middles.”

SLIDE: Well, now that we’ve ruined any chances of hitting you with a surprise ending, we’ll just go ahead and come out with it: Florida’s Gabe Kling and Amy Nicholl did, in fact, win. But it wasn’t just as simple as that. On the women’s side, New Smyrna Beach native Amy Nicholl took down Indialantic, FL’s, Nikki Viesins in a hard-fought final. When it was all said and done, Amy had won by a margin of just 11.03 to 10.40, a close result that spoke to the talent and drive of both women. “Today I just took it heat by heat, got a couple seconds, a couple firsts, and in the end of the day, ended up on top,” Nicholl said. “And I’m really excited about that.”

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Gabe Kling had to survive a nail-biter of a semi-finals heat before he could even face Jose Graves in the final. “My semifinal against Brian Toth was definitely my toughest heat,” Kling said. “It was really close. He got two good scores right off the bat, and he’s from the area, so the whole crowd was backing him. I finally got a good one, and then he had priority for a while. He went on one, and then I got the one after it and got the score I needed. Then with a minute left, he needed an eight, and he caught a wave and ripped it. I had priority and I let him have it, because I thought it was a bad one, but it ended up being good, so his local knowledge definitely helped. A lot of people felt that he had gotten the score with that wave, but then it turned out that he didn’t. I was just stoked to be on the good end of it.”

Kling advanced to the finals, where he faced Josie Graves, another of the island’s most talented rippers. Graves hadn’t surfed Middles in about six months thanks to summer travels and a shoulder injury, but he still had a great showing throughout the contest and was happy to make the finals. But at the end of the day, it was Gabe Kling who claimed the $10,000 in prize money. “Last year, I did this same contest at Middles and got 2nd,” said Kling, “so it felt really good to win after last year, when I was just standing up there on the podium and seeing the check but not actually getting it.”

THE PAIN: This one would have to go to Brian Toth for his oh-so-close loss on home turf.

THE MAN: Obviously, Gabe Kling and Amy Nicholl were the day’s big winners, but Nikki Viesins was also a standout. She won every  heat she surfed, from Round 1 right up until her narrow loss in the finals. But luckily, even though she didn’t take home the big check, her efforts didn't go unnoticed. “All the photographers and directors of the contest were commending me for an excellent performance,” she said. “…Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the wave I needed to win the final, however it was really close. I was super thankful for all the support.”

YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “It’s actually pretty cool to have a real Puerto Rican circuit with that much money in it, and it’s just like a huge party on the beach.” Men’s Pro Winner Gabe Kling

“I was excited to compete at the Corona Pro, because of the location and the fact that it as a pretty big event. There was a really good turnout, too. There were probably 200 people. The waves were waist- to head-high and consistent every day, so I was really pleased to have competed in good waves.” — Women’s Pro runner-up Nikki Viesins



1. Gabe Kling

2. Josie Graves

3. Alejandro Moreda

3. Brian Toth


1. Amy Nicholl

2. Nikki Viesins

3. Liza Caban

3. Alexis Engstrom

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