QUARTERFINALISTS IGNITE AT OAKLEY NEWPORT BEACH PRO DAY FIVE
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Oakley Newport Beach Pro ran the Quarterfinals this morning and the final 16 competitors tore into the clean two-to-three foot barrels on offer at Newport Beach’s 56th Street. The 20th annual Newport Beach Surfing Championships also got underway.
The second event on the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series (an ASP North America Specialty Series), the Oakley Newport Beach Pro was greeted with sunny skies and clean conditions today with an all-star group aligning themselves for the big finish tomorrow.
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 27, two-time defending Oakley Newport Beach Pro Champion and 2006 Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series Champion, continued to be a standout today, surfing powerfully on both his forehand and backhand to advance through to tomorrow’s Semifinals.
“The waves are pretty fun out there this morning,” Yeomans said. “It’s really wedgey and there are good peaks coming in all over the place. I just tried to get busy straight off the bat and I found a couple good lefts before I got my right and that put me into good position to take out the heat. I’m excited to be in the Semifinals tomorrow and hopefully I can keep my run going here in Newport.”
Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, elected to stick to his backhand today, smashing the running lefthanders down the beach to amass the day’s high heat total of a 15.83 out of a possible 20 and match his Semifinals berth of last year.
“I’ve just been trying to be much more relaxed in heats lately as I don’t typically do too well when I’m stressed out,” Byrne said. “I made the Semis here last year and I’m hoping to go one better this season. The waves have been pretty fun so I hope they stick around for tomorrow’s finish.”
Travis Mellem (San Clemente, CA), 23, survived a hard-fought three-man Quarterfinal today, as Jason Harris (Huntington Beach, CA), 20, was unable to make today’s heat due to a scheduling conflict.
“It was really interesting out there with only three guys,” Mellem said. “You would think it is easier but you’re scrambling a little bit more because you don’t want to be the one guy who’s ousted. There weren’t really any waves at the beginning so we were all scratching for scores at the end.”
Darrell Goodrum (Leucadia, CA), 23, opened up the day strong, slotting himself into deep forehand barrels to net a 14.50 out of a possible 20 and advance through to the Semifinals.
“I noticed that the lefts coming off the jetty were pinching a bit too much so I moved down the beach and it worked out,” Goodrum said. “I was able to grab a couple of barrels and that was enough to get me through. Stoked to get through to the Semis.”
Yeomans, Byrne, Mellem and Goodrum will face fellow Semifinalists Brett Barley (Cape Hatteras, NC), 18, Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, Asher Nolan (Jacksonville Beach, FL), 29, and Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, when tomorrow’s competition resumes. Perillo is also a Finalist in the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior, which will culminate tomorrow, and stands as the only surfer eligible to come away with a dual event win.
Tomorrow will also decide who will take the lead in the Macy’s CA Trifecta Surf Series. With their performances at this event combined with those from stop one at the 6.0 Lowers Pro, Asher Nolan, Joel Centeio, Kieran Horn, Nate Yeomans, Patrick Gudauskas and Darrell Goodrum all look to climb in the ranks and take the top positions.