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ESKA News: US East Team Trials report and results......Team to be named soon...

US East Team Trials report and results......Team to be named soon...


Andy Gates

Well, team trials weekend started for me when my good buddies Andy and Felipe showed up at my house on thursday afternoon. We packed Andy's Explorer full of smelly paddling gear, camera equipment, and contest supplies and hit the road. We headed up to Raleigh to pick up our friend Alexander, whom we'd met at Nationals, at the Raleigh Durham Airport. Alexander the Great arrived on Friday morning, we picked him up, and headed towards good ol' OBX.
As is my luck, on the way there a kidney stone attacked me, so upon arrival in Kill Devil Hills we dropped Alexander and Felipe off to surf and Andy drove me to Urgent care, where the doctor fixed me up as best he could.

There were overhead sets on thursday afternoon, and many of the competitors got some good practice in. I have to note that hard charger Geoff Kegley surfed on Wednesday when it was by all accounts "scary big".....Kegley's favorite.

We were all pretty bummed that the forecast said the good swell had arrived early, and probably would not hold out through the weekend. For our team trials we run two separate events on two separate days, so we were hoping for surf all weekend. We met up with everyone else on friday night, signed waivers, and shared opinions as to what we thought the surf would be like the next day.

We were pleasantly suprised the next morining when we arrived at First Street and there were plenty of clean chest to shoulder rollers, with some head high sets. The surf was pretty mushy, but no one seemed to mind......especially since the weather was warm and gorgeous! The only problem was that the break was packed with board surfers.....and we had no desire to irritate the locals. Luckily we were able to squeeze our contest site onto a side peak that was pretty much as good as the main one. We had very few incidents with surfers all weekend, and we're glad they were understanding.

The action on Saturday was really competitive, and everyone was having good rides.
Charles Salters surfed solidly all the way to the Men HP finals, and finished first overall for event 1. Close behind him was Philip Aschliman, ripping it up in a borrowed boat.
We were stoked to have Devon Barker and Eric Miller competing with us, and they wound up with some first places as well. "Psycho" Pete Titus did not dissapoint either, taking late drops on the steepest waves he could find to finish first in Masters IC
As is usually the case in the Outer Banks, the shore break was rather viscious, but other than a few wipeouts during paddleouts, everyone handled it like a champ......no doubt most of the competitors are still picking shells out of their hair though!

It was great having Eugene Link in the competition as well. Eugene's first ESKA contest was this past spring, and he was at Nationals as well. He told me he likes coming out to the contests because he always learns something from watching the other riders, and I've notice his skill level progress these last months. He had some very good waves in all of his heats.

After Day 1 was complete, we reseeded the heats and crossed our fingers that we'd have surf the next day (and that it wouldn't be too much like traditional OBX beatdown conditions.

Day 2 saw conditions getting a little smaller and a bit less clean, but there was surf once again.
The weather wasn't as nice though, and the rain started early. It didn't phase the competitors or the spectators though, and everyone toughed it out through the rain.

Once again there was good surfing all around, Paula Rock, Kris Whitmore, and Devon all had good rides in the women's divisions. Eric Miller pulled out another win in the Master's HP class.

Our youngest competitors did very well too, Alexander Stubbs, from the northeast, surfed solidly in all of his heats, showing us some great cutbacks and even a retentive barrel roll. This guy's going to be one to watch for sure. Andy Gates held his own in the Men's HP class, making the consolation finals both days, and taking some big drops all weekend. Alan Young, current junior National Champion, staged a major upset on sunday, beating many of the top contenders to make it all the way to the Men's HP final, where he placed a respectable 3rd.
Ross Fulcher dominated the IC finals both days, with back to back wins.

Sunday was Felipe's day, as he owned every heat and finished 1st overall in the Men's HP sunday event. He was followed closely by Gordon Rock, who made finals both days and finished 2nd on sunday in his new Murky Waters Reaction, way to go Gordon!

Speaking of Murky Waters, we were honored to have Ed and Mariola from Murky visiting us all weekend. They provided some demos for people to try, spoke to many excited competitors for hours about boat design and construction, and even passed out snacks to everyone! Thanks to them for coming all the way down to our event, I imagine they were very happy to see many Reactions (Russ Buskirk, Gordon, Paula, Devon, etc) do well in several of the finals all weekend long.

The results of both days of competition will be added together and calculated out to determine the 2007 US East Team. I've been swamped with work since I got back, but I'm working on figuring everything out, so please be patient.


Felipe

We were lucky at this event, and all season long, to have great consistent judging. There is no greater relief as a competitor than to know that you are being judged fairly, and seeing the judges giving their full attention to every heat was great. Thanks to all of our judges (I'll leave them anonymous because they prefer it that way....always thinking fairly!), and thank you to our head tabulator Jo, for doing an awesome job.

We also want to thank Doug Banjak of Kitty Hawk Kites for helping us with flags and permits, the Town of Kill Devil Hills and the local surfers for letting us compete there, Anthony, Andy, and everyone else who helped out.

Also, a personal thank you to everyone who showed their concern for me when I was under the weather this weekend, this group is like a big family and I appreciate the kindness......I don't know why I seem to always get sick at the big events.....must be allergic to surf kayaking or something.

Congrats to all of the competitors for a good contest. Looking forward to the new US East Team!

--Joey

Here are some photos, and the results from the first and second events, I hope to have some video up soon:

Click here for a slideshow of videostills from the Team Trials

Click here for individual video stills from Team Trials



Event 1:

Men HP
1 Charles Salters
2 Philip Aschliman
3 Den Latham
4 Gordon Rock
5 Russ Buskirk
6 Geoff Kegley
7 Andy Gates
8 Ross Fulcher
9 Alan Young
10 Eugene Link
11 Ben Moore

Men IC
1 Ross Fulcher
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters

Women HP
1 Devon Barker
2 Kris Whitmore
3 Paula Rock

Women IC
1 Devon Barker
2 Paula Rock
3 Kris Whitmore

Junior HP
1 Alexander Stubbs
2 Alan Young

Junior IC
1 Alexander stubbs
2 Alan Young

Masters HP
1 Eric Miller
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Den Latham
4 Pete Titus
5 Ross Fulcher

Masters IC
1 Pete Titus
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Ross Fulcher

Event 2:

Men HP
1 Philip Aschliman
2 Gordon Rock
3 Alan Young
4 Russ Buskirk
5 Ross Fulcher
6 Charles Salters
7 Geoff Kegley
8 Andy Gates
9 Den Latham
DNF Ben Moore
DNF Eugene Link

Men IC
1 Ross Fulcher
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters

Women HP
1 Kris Whitmore
2 Paula Rock
3 Devon Barker

Women IC
1 Devon Barker
2 Kris Whitmore
3 Paula Rock

Junior HP
1 Alexander Stubbs
2 Alan Young

Junior IC
1 Alan Young
2 Alexander Stubbs

Masters HP
1 Eric Miller
2 Ross Fulcher
3 Pete Titus
4 Russ Buskirk
DNF Den Latham

Masters IC
1 Russ Buskirk
2 Pete Titus
3 Ross Fulcher

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