Quiksilver King of the Peak Returns in November

August 9, 2017 • News

This November, the Quiksilver King of the Peak contest will return to Sebastian Inlet State Park for its 19th year of competition. Considered one of the most prestigious pro surfing events on the East Coast, the event was originally conceptualized by the greatest surfer ever, Kelly Slater, as a unique skins format where each time a competitor wins a heat, he wins cash and the opportunity to advance on to try and win more for each and every skin win. In the end, the surfer with the most skin wins is  deemed the King of The Peak!

Quiksilver’s Matt Kechele says he expects top surfers from up and down the Eastern Seaboard as well as possible appearances from past world champions like CJ Hobgood and World Tour vets like Cory and Shea Lopez. Expect upwards of 94 competitors, quality waves in the November 4th-12th contest window, more information posted at the Quiksilver King of the Peak Facebook page, and tons of local and national media attention (including an exclusive EasternSurf.com retrospective on the entire 19-year contest history) as the King of the Peak returns!

One of the most venerable venues in the US will host the triumphant return of the rejuvenated Quiksilver King of the Peak this November. Photo: Mez

The King Of The Peak was Kelly Slater’s idea passed on to mentor Matt Kechele, who with Quiksilver’s generous blessings ran with it. Kelly was the KOP’s first winner in 1999, donating all his winnings to charity. Photo: Mez

The KOP annually attracted the East Coast’s top surfers like New Jersey’s Matt Keenan, who was both a pro and a perennial standout winner in both NSSA and ESA competition. Photo: Mez

Likewise for Sir Jeffrey Myers from the Outer Banks of North Carolina via Virginia Beach. When guys like Jeff hit the water, sparks  — and spray — always seem to fly, as pictured here in 2009. Photo: Dugan

King Of The Peak beach set-up circa 2007. Photo; Dugan

To score a wave, the competitor must raise a hand in order to “claim” the ride before the judges will give it points between 1 and 10, which gave rise to to some inventive gestures like CJ Hobgood’s heavy metal claim. Photo: Mez

By its very nature as a river jetty break, Sebastian Inlet is a series of sandbar waves with many, many different facets, features, and wave faces, from First Peak, Second Peak, Third Peak, and Larry’s Lefts up to O.K. Signs, which fronts the north parking lot. And, like the proverbial box of chocolates, you just don’t know if it’s going to deliver a delicious, well-groomed bite like this clean little refractor or… 

…Hand out the beating of your life like this beast at Larry’s Lefts with Chris Duff literally running for his during the 2011 event, which is noted for having the largest, most unruly surf ever for the KOP. Photos: Dugan (previous) and Mez

Asher Nolan, 2007, going HAM off First Peak. Photo: Dugan

2010 Quiksilver King Of The Peak winner Aaron Cormican is credited with punting and cleanly pulling a huge frontside 3 that was memorable for being both the most rad air ever during KOP and for having the best-ever wave claim, which went from an exultant double bird to the judges to an Andy Irons shotgun claim to hands behind the back to finally raising hands high just to make it official. Photo: Mez

Contest organizer Matt Kechele presents a treasure chest full of gold and silver for Gorkin, a true wave pirate and a surfing original who always flies under his own flag. Photo: Mez

Alek Parker about to enter the sand suck zone of a low tide Second Peak  drainer during the 2007 KOP. Photo: Dugan

Balaram Stack came all the way down from the Empire State and his Long Island home seeking a crown at the 2008 KOP. Photo: Mez

Presented here for your viewing pleasure is a two-shot, opposing-angle ESM Crossfire capture of what has been called the sickest turn in KOP history by eventual 2006 winner Jeremy Johnston, with Tom Dugan’s head-on POV taken with a 300mm lens here and…

…A more up close and personal dissection of this slashing, full wrap-around tail waft taken from down by the jetty looking north by Dick Meseroll with a 600mm long telephoto.

JJ crowned. Photo: Mez

As a cool little sideshow at the surf break that is credited with pioneering the launch of man and surfboard into the uncharted space above the wave face, ESM sponsored many a Quiksilver King of the Peak Air Shows, with Ryan Helm taking three of the always anticipated, hotly contested two-heat air affairs. Photo: Mez

The Aquanaut and his son proudly display Pop’s 2006 ESM/KOP Airshow check for his record-setting third win, which still stands to this day. Photo: Dugan

First Peak legend Paul Reinecke has won a bunch of scalps and come oh-so-close to winning a KOP crown a few times, hailing as the highest-ranked Sebastian Inlet regular to not have a title. Though this shot was taken during the 1999 event, Rhino is still surfing the joint as good as he ever has — here’s hoping he will go for it once again this November, making him the instant sentimental favorite. Photo: Mez

The “you have to claim it to score it” format puts the onus directly on the surfer, encouraging and rewarding progressive, high-performance surfing instead of discouraging it. You don’t make a wave? No biggie. Don’t raise your hand, paddle back out, and go HAM ’til you do, then call on the judges to score it. Here’s Chris Tucker going for broke and looking to spin for a skin. Photo: Dugan

Third Peak reeling in front of the judges’ tent during the 2007 event. Photo: Mez

Every now and then, this guy shows up un-announced to check out how his brainchild is doing, both mingling and freesurfing with the local crew. Kelly Slater, having fun at the 2009 Quiksilver King of the Peak. Photo: Dugan

In the most epic heat battle ever at the KOP, best friends David Spier and Paul Reinecke were tied going into the final heat needing only one skin to beat his longtime buddy and claim the crown. Held in the most pristine First Peak conditions ever for the event, the duo traded classic kegs all heat long, with Spier hanging on by his fingernails to narrowly beat Rhino with this heat-ending clincher at the buzzer while Paul sent him a victory hug out on the shoulder. Photo: Dugan

We can hope! November 4th-12th serves as the waiting period for this year’s return of the Quiksilver King of the Peak, with 94 slots available. Be there! Photo: Mez

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  • matt keenan

    thanks for talking about me in the caption but the photo is of the main man from NJ Rob Kelly.