HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Jan. 21, 2009 – The RC's Katin Pro/Am Team Challenge presented by Jack's concluded today with another day of epic conditions, a high caliber of surfing and one of the greatest finals ever on the North Side of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Hurley emerged as the clear winner with both Brett Simpson and Rob Machado dominating throughout the event. Simpson took the individual title and $4,000 beating out fellow team member and perfect-10 scorer Rob Machado in a hard fought battle royal in the Final. Machado pocketed $2,000 for second. Chris Waring (Reef) and Jesse Evans (Darkride) finished in third and fourth, earning $1,500 and $1,000 respectively, Reef claimed second, Darkride third and Fox fourth in the final team standings.
"It was an awesome event," said Katin Marketing Director Scott Waring. "To bring back the Katin event, after a 10-year hiatus, for our 50th anniversary has been amazing. We were blessed with the best possible conditions, and Nancy and Mike Morgan's spirits were certainly with us. We're just so stoked. See you next year!"
The day started off with the completion of Round 2 which saw the field narrowed to nine teams; all four of the Hurley team members, three Reef surfers, two Jack's surfers, two Darkride surfers, and one each from Huntington Beach High School, Glas, WSA Prime and Fox.
In Quarterfinal 1, Micah Byrne helped carry the torch for the Darkride team advancing in first with a 12.20 out of a possible 20. After finishing the day on top yesterday, the Darkride team lost two guys in Round 2, leaving Byrne and Jesse Evans. Brett Simpson (Hurley) nudged out Austin Ware (Reef) in the final minutes of the heat to advance for the Hurley crew and maintain their perfect run.
"It was an intense first Quarter," said Byrne. "I kind of bobbled the first one, but I was able to get over it. Stoked to come out of it. Three of my good buddies since I was 13 were out there, so we were just having fun. So many waves. . .it's awesome. It's my spot, it's my hood. I'm stoked to represent for Darkride."
Quarter 2 saw Brad Ettinger (Hurley) advance in first and Mike Losness (Reef) in second over former two-time Katin Champion Jeff Deffenbaugh (Huntington Beach High School) and Bruno Rodrigues (Jack's).
"I happened to get in rhythm, so it's good," says Brad Ettinger.
Chris Waring (Reef) and Hurley Team Manager Brandon Guilmette advanced in Quarterfinal 3, knocking out the last of the Glas and O'Quinn team members. And Rob Machado (Hurley) and Jesse Evans (Darkride) advanced through the last heat of the Quarterfinals finishing off the WSA Prime and Fox teams.
"I was really surprised coming here," says Machado. "I had low expectations, but it's been good."
The field was shaved to three teams going into the Semifinals – all four of the Hurley team and two surfers each for both Darkride and Reef.
In Semifinal 1, an all regular footer heat, Brett Simpson continued to dominate, advancing with a solid 17.66 points along with Chris Waring with a 12.10, knocking out Micah Byrne (Darkride), and Brandon Guilmette, the first of the Hurley guys to go down.
In all goofy-footer Semifinal 2, Rob Machado opened with a solid 9.23 on his first wave, followed with an 8.50 for a total of 17.71 to combo the field and close the door on the Hurley team win. It was a hard fought battle for second place between Jesse Evans, Mike Losness and Brad Ettinger, but Evans was able to hang on with an 11.64 to advance into the Final.
Chris Waring opened the Final with a solid 7.33 wave, but that was just the beginning of what would be described by many as the greatest final ever at the North Side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Ten minutes in, Machado got barreled followed by a carving cutback for a perfect-10. Brett Simpson responded by landing a giant air to secure a 9.53, combined with a previous 8.50, it was good enough to hold on for the win despite an onslaught of solid maneuvers by both Chris Waring, who was nudged out by less than a quarter of a point, followed by Jesse Evans in fourth.
"I'm over the moon," said Simpson. "I came into it loose. Rob had a 10, and you can almost guarantee he's going to win with that. But he held back and gave me the wave so I just went for it and the judges liked it. The waves were going off and I finally got a win. I'm stoked. Thanks to Katin for putting on a great event."
"I was just having a good time, catching a lot of waves," said Machado. "I was looking for another barrel, but it didn't come.
For an air reverse in the Final, Chris Waring was awarded $500 for the "Most-Futuristic" Maneuver Award presented by Future Fins honoring Huntington Beach's late Mike Morgan.
Based on the individual performances of each of their athletes, Hurley finished the clear winner with 61 points and will receive a two-page spread in Surfing Magazine. With 42 points, Reef earned second and a one-page ad in Surfing Magazine. Darkride snagged third with 38 points and a $1,000 digital ad campaign on surfingthemag.com; and Fox, with 24 points, finished fourth and will get a $1,000 digital ad campaign on wavewatch.com.
"It's sick," said Hurley Team Manager Brad Guilmette. "This is what we came here to do. We're just stoked that these guys took it for the team."
1st: Hurley – Two-page spread in Surfing Magazine
2nd: Reef – One-page ad in Surfing Magazine
3rd: Darkride – $1,000 digital ad campaign on surfingthemag.com
4th: Fox – $1,000 digital ad campaign on wavewatch.com
1st: Brett Simpson (Hurley) – $4,000
2nd: Rob Machado (Hurley) – $2,000
3rd: Chris Waring (Reef) – $1,500
4th: Jesse Evans (Darkride) – $1,000
=5th: Mike Losness (Reef), Brandon Guilmette (Hurley) – $500 each
=7th: Micah Byrne (Darkride), Brad Ettinger (Hurley) – $250 each
MIKE MORGAN'S "MOST FUTURISTIC" MANEUVER
Chris Waring (Reef) – $500
Special thanks to RC's Katin Pro/Am Team Challenge Presented by Jack's sponsors including Katin, RC Surfboards, Jack's, Surfing Magazine, WaveWatch.com, Taco Surf, Fred's Mexican Caf, Future Fins, Nu-Foam and Oceanaire Sportswear.