Story by: The Furbandits ( Please scroll all the way through for contest photo gallery! )

This year’s 2017 Quiksilver “King of the Peak” held at Sebastian Inlet after a five year hiatus did not disappoint. New energy and commitment from Quik and many blessings in the form of a jamming roster of progressive surfers, great weather, fun 3-4 foot plus surf with light north winds perfect for punting made for many stand-out moments performed high above the wave faces.

The KOP event site overview Saturday afternoon at Sebastian Inlet. Photo: Mez

For the rejuvenated, 19’th appearance of the v.2 KOP, Director Matt Kechele came up with some new and meaningful twists that put another hot shot of adrenalized excitement into both the competitors and all the arm chair quarterbacks spectating and frothing vicariously over each “claim” on the beach.

In the current, reconstituted format the surfers now get 1) two skins claim opportunities per heat and 2) a “leader’s chair” that is set-up next to the judging tent and, if you claim a ride which becomes the top score at that moment you must exit the water and take a seat in the chair. You then either wait to win based on that score you claimed if nobody tops it or, if somebody does claim a higher score, it’s back into the water you go to try and top that number while the new leader takes the chair to await his fate.

QS competitor from Vah Beach, Mike Dunphy in the “leaders chair” waiting to see if his claimed score will be good enough for another $255. or if a heatmate would un-seat him with a higher number requiring Dunny to paddle back out to try and top that higher score to re-take the lead once again- exiting stuff! Photo: Mez

To say this adds new dimensions of excitement and strategizing into each wave surfed and score claimed into what was an already super-charged, highly entertaining format where the competitors truly decide their fate is an understatement.

Contestants are truly rewarded for not holding back their air game and it is not a stretch to say this comp has morphed into one of the all time great progressive formats out there anywhere.

Simply put, both ideas were totally brilliant.

Evan Geiselman chucking fins while the judges watch and wait to see if the QS’ star wants to claim it for a score. Photo: Mez

Credit due must also go to the judging panel who adapted to the new wrinkles quickly and came through with flying colors by handling the sometimes lightening fast exchanges and scoring madness with aplomb while delivering spot-on decisions with consistency and with little or no dissension.

In another add-on to the written judging criteria reflecting contest surfing today, critical board placement above the lip is officially mentioned and very much emphasized which suited some of the East Coast’s finest above the lip surfers who entered like Aaron Cormican, Daniel Glenn, Robbie Mc Cormick, Travis Beckmann, Evan Geiselman, Chauncey Robinson, Logan Hayes, Tommy Coleman and Lucas Rogers.

Florida Beer Company Airshow winner Travis Beckmann’s $400 fly-over. Photo: Mez

And with Brevard’s area code serendipitously being 321, and Cape Kennedy so nearby, the Space Coast was never more appropriately nicknamed as the wave riding aerial-nauts totally went for broke all contest long. They then went completely bonkers during the Florida Beer Company Airshow at the end of day one launching some of the gnarliest, most tweaked boosts ever seen at Sebastian Inlet during a KOP event which is saying an awful hell of a lot.

Now getting down to the action side, to start the contest off with the traditional, pull a name out of the hat heat draw by random competitors, judges, photog’s, support staff it was “Gorkin Flip” originator Aaron Cormican whose name came out slotting him into heat one, round one on day one.

Helping with the heat draw, Ben Graeff of Nub TV picked eventual airshow winner Travis Beckmann out of the hat. Photo: Mez

You could call it fate but this event, running for 19 years, has such a rich history filled with so many dramatic, crazy, surprising, unthinkable twists and turns it wasn’t much to think about – somebody has to go first, right?

a previous KOP champ, Cormican started surfing and winning right out of the chute.

And winning and winning and winning one heat after the other while collecting $255 for every “skin” he took down, setting the tone for all others to follow and attempt to catch up to.

Arron Cormican’s second heat, 8.73 stomp ( see previously posted “ESM Sick-quence!” here on  ). Photo: Dugan

The man was truly on a roll and stayed there with many of his victories won by aerial assault but also mixed nicely with some skins based on deep gouging on rail moves giving the judging panel comprised of successful contest vets like Jeff Klugel, Barry Pasonski and Jeremy Saukel, exactly what they were looking for.

However, even when somebody gets on a day one, Gorkin-like roll, we’ve all witnessed enough day two rolls to know that no one should even think about the KOP crown resting on their little salt encrusted noggin until all others are completely and mathematically eliminated. Contest Director Matt Kechele recalled some monster runs over the past 19 years by former “Kings” like Bryan Hewitson, Jeremy Johnston, CJ Hobgood, and of course, King Kelly Slater, but a 10 straight skin’s in a row roll on day one by Cormican was a magnificent first.

Bryan Hewitson, former KOP  winner and a man who knows a little something about getting on a roll. Photo: Dugan

But by the end of day one, only four surfers had the opportunity to tie Gorkin and those were the surfers in heats one on day two. (With day one heat draw now flipped upside down for day two.)  It was a tall task that they had to do what Gorkin did, and to force a tie and possible surf off. Still, Gorkin had to lose in his last heat skin opportunity of the day.  It’s only happened once in KOP storied history.

While everybody was looking for a story book, game 7 type finish between Gorkin, Asher Nolan, Daniel Glenn and Gabe Kling at the end of day two, it just didn’t happen this time.

What did happen was more exciting skin runs and a full blown showcase of shit hot surfing by the likes of Daniel Glenn who was on fire pocketing 4 Skins while bagging the highest score with the gnarliest, highest air of the event that was good for a 9.33.

Daniel Glenn boosts his insta-legendary, FS grab then bomb drops from the heavens to land and ride it out for a 9.33 and the highest score of the 2017 KOP. Look for the bonus, “ESM Sick-quence!” in it’s entirety here tomorrow on Photo:Mez

Meanwhile, Asher Nolan showed he’s still the boss from Jacksonville Beach by taking five skins to fellow Jax Jaguar lover and 2 skin winner, Evan Thompson while former WCT’er Gabe Kling rolled to three stealing day one’s last heat of the day from the “Great Gorkin” at the hooter (using a pair of fins Cormican loaned him no less) to steal a skin away from the 37 year old and keep him from running the entire table for 11 consecutive skins.




Asher Nolan gave it hell on day two but could not conjure up a magic roll like Cormican’s day one Tour De Force but still nailed 5 skin’s and a tidy $1,275. perhaps as a down payment for Jaguars playoff tickets. Photo: Dugan

Evan Geiselman, a first timer at the KOP also nabbed two skins while calling the KOP “the most fun contest he’s ever been to” along with Junior surfers Tommy Coleman, Blake Speir, and Chauncy Robison obviously loving the newer criteria and doing some scene stealing with tail high aerials that blew minds.

Just to show how far things have come in this year’s event after the 5 year absence, we saw more aerial completions than any KOP ever with the popular side show of the KOP “Air Show”.

The Florida Beer Company Airshow talent – some of the gnarliest Dare Devils Of The Sky ever at the KOP. Photo: Dugan

Presented by the Florida Beer Company – Florida Lager with an $800.00 overall purse putting an exclamation point on that statement and no doubt pushing everybody higher and higher. It was the most exciting KOP Air Shows by far with fifteen invitees and a 30 minute “Free For All” with the cash prizes going to the top three single best boosts. This was also a photographer’s dream smorgasbord of photo ops with the winners $400 payout going to New York’s Travis Beckmann landing a handful of solid variations, second place going to hard charging goofy from Virginia Lucas Rogers and a solid third place going to young Floridian, Chase Modelski.

Second place finisher in the airshow, Lucas Rogers. Photo: Dugan

Quiksilver KOP at Sebastian Inlet – welcome back, we really missed you and thanks for returning with one huge, loud successful BANG!

2017 Quiksilver “King of the Peak” Results:

Aaron Cormican 10 Skins  $2,550.00
Asher Nolan  5 Skins  $1,275.00
Daniel Glenn  4 Skins  $1,020.00
Gabe Kling  3 Skins  $765.00
Chauncey Robinson  2 Skins  $510.00
Nick Alexander  2 Skins  $510.00
Tommy Coleman  2 Skins  $510.00
Michael Dunphy  2 Skins  $510.00
Evan Geiselman  2 Skins  $510.00
Blake Speir  2 Skins  $510.00
Evan Thompson  2 Skins  $510.00
Sam Duggan  1 Skin  $255.00
Mason Sapp  1 Skin  $255.00

We’ll drink to that! Your new KOP champ and two time winner of the event Aaron Cormican. Photo: Dugan


No one trick pony, AC did it all- in the air, on rail, frontside and backside. The man knows how to surf a heat. Photo: Mez

Even after Gabe Kling put a stop to his first day roll in the last heat of the day using a set of fins magnanimously loaned to him by the 2017 KOP champ, King Gorkin was more than gracious and respectful in his singular defeat. Photo: Mez


Evan Geiselman was stoked on the contest, the format and the fun of it all and pocketed $510. just to for coming down from Smyrna to check it all out for his first time ever and vowing to return. Photo: Dugan


Little E’s fellow QS warrior buddy, Mike Dunphy also scored two wins and really put on a clinic showing what serious, pro level surfing looks like. Photo: Mez

Lots of beautiful drama in and over the waters of Sebastian Inlet during the two day event. Photo: Mez

One of the stand-out aerial-nauts during the contest was Jetty Life teamer, Logan Hayes from central Florida. Dude can huck! Photo: Dugan


Former KOP winner and a total east coast legend still surfing as good as ever, Dave Speir. Photo: Dugan


Dave’s son, Blake Spier won two skins in his inaugural appearance good for $510. and bragging rights at home. You did buy dad lunch or something, right Blake? Photo: Dugan

Tommy Coleman was in is element surfing off Larry’s Lefts during the airshow and launching a couple of potential winners he just couldn’t quite ride out of but still scored 2 skin’s for his efforts. Photo: Mez

Oopsy! With the conditions and tides sometimes making things a bit difficult on wave selection it was not surprising to see Eros Exarhou ( going down ) and Gabe Morvil getting their wires crossed for a double interference. Photo: Dugan

With five skins and $1,275. in his boardshort’s pocket why would Asher Nolan not be smiling? Photo: Mez

And this is how you win those 5 skins. Slashsmash with his knife out and skinning this wave for another $255. Photo: Mez

Jerseys Ben Gaeff couldn’t get on the KOP gravy train but still put in a good show and is one of those guys that are just plain fun to have around. Photo: Dugan

Speaking of fun to have around, King of the Peaks youngest competitor, Logan Radd lived up to his last name by charging set’s and taking chances putting smiles on everyones faces and turning up the stoke meter to 11. Photo: Dugan

Evan Thompson headed back to Jacksonville with $510. and two skins for his efforts. Photo: Mez

Robbie Mc Cormick above the lip attack is no over amped joke. The guy can boost – and land – with altitude, dynamic amplitude and a crazy mix of grabs both front side or backside. He might not have walked away with a skin but he left behind a few slack jaws and more respect for his air game which is as good as gold sometimes as well. Photo: Mez

Chauncey Robinson was another stand-out, in form surfer with two skins and some of the most memorable airs of the weekend. Photo: Mez

Cormicans “Team Hairy Monkey Fist” claim was by far the most original of the day next to the beer shotgun claim during the contest’s last heat of the day. Next year wants to sponsor “the best claim award” for a cash prize. Let Kech know what you think about it. Photo: Mez

Talk about getting frothy. Cormican knows how to celebrate – and claim – his 2017 KOP win. Photo:Mez

the Hairshow. Jensen Calloway let’s his magnificent freak flag fly during the airshow while bombing several impressive attempts. Photo: Dugan

King of the Peak, Florida Beer Company Airshow winners Travis Beckmann 1’st place, Lucas Rogers 2nd place and Aaron Cormican surfboards team rider, Chase Modelski 3’rd. Photo: Dugan

One of the standout airman at the KOP, Eros Exarhou going for a frontside three during the airshow. Photo: Dugan

To the victor goes the icy cold one. Cheer’s Gorkin! Photo: Mez

King Cormican. Photo: Mez