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March, 2009:

Event Report: US East Surf Kayak Team Trials 2009

A bunch of the crew celebrating a great day of surfing.

A bunch of the crew celebrating a great day of surfing.

All photos in this post by Spencer Cooke of RapidTransitVideo.com
I forgot to thank PAULA ROCK when I first posted this, she did a LOT to help organize Team Trials. Thank you Paula! Sorry I’m such a dummy!

Pelican at Hannah Park

Pelican at Hannah Park

This weekend the ESKA held the 2009 Team Trials for the US East Surf Kayak Team at Hannah Park in Jacksonville, FL.  Selection for the Men’s and Masters divisions were completed.  The US East Team will participate in the 2009 World Surf Kayak Championships in Portugal this summer.

Rolling to JAX

Rolling to JAX

Friday afternoon I met up with Spencer Cooke to make the drive down to JAX.  We were both pretty excited to be able to take a surf trip together for the first time in a long while.  After postponing the Team Trials event for two weekends, it looked like finally we’d have enough surf to compete.

We arrived in the early evening, set up camp, and met up with the other competitors.

The contest site

The contest site

In the morning, we headed over to the contest site, and were pleased to find contestable surf conditions.  Thigh to waist, but clean, not incredible, but enough to work with.  However, the weather report for sunday led us to make a difficult decision.  The method for the US East team selection is to hold two seperate team trials contests, combine these results, and form the team based on the total results.  Because it looked as if a nasty storm was on its way for Sunday, we made the decision to run BOTH events on Saturday…making for a lot of surfing.

Although not huge, there were some nice waves to be had.

Although not huge, there were some nice waves to be had.

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Our judges for the event were the crew from Epic Surf Ministries.  Led by head judge Mickey Ross, these judges are ESA trained, highly experienced, and a very professional.  We’ve used them for a variety of contests in the past, and they are a lot of fun.  It is also an added bonus that they have a real interest and appreciation for surf kayaking.  We hope to participate in one of their events in the future.

Me and Patchy, together again

Me and Patchy, together again

Gordon Rock, floater

Gordon Rock, floater

We had a great day of competition.  Everyone was surfing at a high level, making the best of the set waves coming through periodically.

Tom May, studying the conditions.

Tom May, studying the conditions.

One of the most notable stories of the weekend was the performance of Tom May.  Tom is a seasoned stand up surfer that began surf kayaking several years ago because of a knee surgery.  He has recently taken an interest in competition.  His knowlege of waves truly shine through in his surfing, he shows great patience during heats.  His style is smooth and fluid, as I heard noted from several competitors on the beach.  His skill paid off for him, as he finished 1st in EVERY heat he participated in, Mens HP and Masters HP, leading to wins in both divisions for both events.

Tom put on an impressive performance at the trials

Tom put on an impressive performance at the trials

Spencer Cooke once again showed his prowess in the IC class, finishing first in both events in the Men’s division, as well as making both Men’s HP finals.  Also Russ Buskirk was a top finisher in four categories.

Spencer in the Ninja, getting it done.

Spencer in the Ninja, getting it done.

We were happy to welcome Will Rudisil, a junior who is taking an interest in surf kayaking.  He was accompanied by his parents, and he took full advantage of having lots of surf kayakers and kayaks around, practicing his skills all day.  We hope to welcome him to the US East team as a Junior soon.

Charles Salters, always rocking the creative facial hair, and "creative" boat paint jobs

Charles Salters, always rocking the creative facial hair, and "creative" boat paint jobs

It is important to note that Anthony Bell was not competing at the team trials, because he finished first in circuit rankings in both HP and IC classes, earning him a pre-qualification spot.  Even though he already made the team, he made the trip anyway to help out with the event, and support the other paddlers.  Congrats to Anthony for his 4th? straight team pre-qualification finish.

Paul Scrutton, coming in from a heat

Paul Scrutton, coming in from a heat

Andy Gates

Andy Gates

The 2009 US East Team trials were fun for all involved.  Though we were all  completely worn out after having to surf countless heats (I believe Russ Buskirk said he surfed 15 heats!), it was good to get on the water with friends and enjoy some competition.  Thank you to everyone who attended and helped out, and a big thank you to Mickey and the Epic judges, we all agreed that they were professional, consistant, and extremely focused.  Thanks again to Paula Rock for her organizational help.

Our most excellent judges.

Our most excellent judges.

Charles, post heat

Charles, post heat

See the top finishers overall below, followed by the top finishers from both seperate events.

We will be announcing the roster for the US East Team soon. —Joey Hall

Russ Buskirk, Matt Lewis, Gordon Rock

Russ Buskirk, Matt Lewis, Gordon Rock

Andy and Virginia

Andy and Virginia

Top Combined Results:
Men HP
1 Tom May
2 Spencer Cooke
3 Gordon Rock
4 Russ Buskirk

Men IC
1 Spencer Cooke
2 Joey Hall
3 Russ Buskirk
4 Charles Salters

Masters HP
1 Tom May
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters
4 Paul Scrutton

Masters IC
1 Russ Buskirk
2 Charles Salters
3 Paul Scrutton

Top Results, Team Trials Event 1

Men HP
1 Tom May
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Spencer Cooke
4 Gordon Rock

Men IC
1 Spencer Cooke
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters
4 Joey Hall

Masters HP
1 Tom May
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters
4 Paul Scrutton

Top Results, Team Trials Event 2
Men HP
1 Tom May
2 Spencer Cooke
3 Joey Hall
4 Gordon Rock

Men IC
1 Spencer Cooke
2 Joey Hall
3 Charles Salters
4 Russ Buskirk

Masters HP
1 Tom May
2 Russ Buskirk
3 Charles Salters
4 Paul Scrutton