Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA), 28, claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Vans Pier Classic pres. by Jack's Surfboards today over fellow finalists Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, who won the Ezekiel pro Junior and finished in second in the men's event, Hank Gaskell (Hana, HI), 22, and Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 21, in windy two-to-four foot (1 metre) conditions at South Huntington Beach Pier this afternoon.
All surfers competing in the Vans Pier Classic were looking to better their seed towards qualification for the ASP World Tour and ASP Pro Junior surfers were out to kick 2009 off on a good note at their season opener. ASP North American Pro Junior Series competitors look to finish in the top five on the series to qualify for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Losness jumped out to an early lead in the Vans Pier Classic Final by ping an impressive 8.5 out of 10 on his first wave with several crushing backside blasts on a right-hand Huntington wall. He eventually put the nail in the coffin over his fellow finalists when he ped a back up score of 7.65 out of 10, solidifying the win.
"It was tough to hear out there and I could kind of hear that I had the 8.5," Losness said. "I knew I needed another good score though because all of the other guys have been surfing so well throughout the entire event. It seemed like Dillon (Perillo) was getting an 8 on every wave, so I knew I needed another score."
The explosive goofy-footer felt the key to his success at the Vans Pier Classic was partially due his relaxed approach to surfing in the event.
"The waves were not amazing all week, they were kind of small, but still rippable and still fun," Losness said. "I came up to this event not expecting too much, I had the goal of making the Quarterfinals and once I made that I figured anything after this is good. It's cool once you set goals for yourself like that, if you don't tell yourself that you have to win the event, for me, once I set my goal, I usually do better because I'm happy with myself and I can go from there."
Perillo was in domineering form throughout the event's entirety and tore his way through to both the ASP WQS and ASP Pro Junior Finals. The up-and-coming Californian made his progressive fins-free turns and air-reverses seem effortless throughout the five-day contest and claimed the Ezekiel Pro Junior and finished runner-up in the Vans Pier Classic. The Ezekiel Pro Junior win sees Perillo atop the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings for 2009.
"I'm so stoked to have won the first contest," Perillo said. "Every heat I just tried to stay focused and do the same thing and I had three heats back-to-back. I just had fun and tried to not get too tired."
Despite surfing seven heats on the final day of competition, Perillo gave the ASP WQS Final his all and ran out of gas while attempting to overtake eventual Vans Pier Classic champion, Losness.
"Mike pretty much blew us out of the water," Perillo said. "I was trying to win, but then I was just trying to get second. I was so exhausted, I tried my hardest, but every time I went to do a turn my feet kept slipping."
Luke Davis (Capo Beach, CA), 16, finished in third overall in the first Final appearance of his ASP Pro Junior Series career alongside Perillo, Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 16, who finished second and Spencer Regan (Santa Barbara, CA), 19. The young Californian's surfing has significantly matured over the off-season, making Davis a standout throughout the Ezekiel Pro Junior's entirety.
"I'm super stoked to make the Final in the first event," Davis said. "The waves picked up today and it's good to be able to start the year off strong."
The next event on the ASP North American calendar will be the ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro running in conjunction with ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior from April 28 through May 2, 2009.
To check out highlights from the Vans Pier Classic and Ezekiel Pro Junior log on to www.vans.com
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org
Vans Pier Classic presented by Jack's Surfboards Results:
Vans Pier Classic Final:
1 – Mike Losness (USA) 16.15
2 – Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.10
3 – Hank Gaskell (HAW) 12.75
4 – Eric Geiselman (USA) 12.75
Vans Pier Classic Semifinals: (1st and 2nd advance)
SF 1: Eric Geiselman (USA) 16.00, Dillon Perillo (USA) 15.00, Andrew Doheny (USA) 9.25, Jason Shibata (HAW) 7.80
SF 2: Hank Gaskell (HAW) 16.75, Mike Losness (USA) 13.50, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 13.40, Cody Thompson (USA) 6.40
Vans Pier Classic Quarterfinals: (1st and 2nd advance)
QF 1: Jason Shibata (HAW) 13.90, Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.35, Matt King (USA) 10.60, Michael Dunphy (USA) 9.75
QF 2: Andrew Doheny (USA) 14.20, Eric Geiselman (USA) 13.60, Noi Kaulukukui (USA) 13.50, Matt Keenan (USA) 9.15
QF 3: Hank Gaskell (USA) 16.40, Cody Thompson (USA) 13.35, Travis Beckmann (USA) John John Florence (HAW) 8.75
QF 4: Dege O'Connell (HAW) 18.10, Mike Losness (USA) 17.35, Nathan Carrol (HAW) 12.50, Shaun Ward (USA) 11.00
Ezekiel Pro Junior Final:
1 – Dillon Perillo (USA) 17.80
2 – Andrew Doheny (USA) 14.35
3 – Luke Davis (USA) 12.75
4 – Spencer Regan (USA) 12.75
Ezekiel Pro Junior Semifinals (1st and 2nd advance)
SF 1: Luke Davis (USA) 16.50, Spencer Regan (USA) 13.10, Brent Reilly (USA) 12.20, Hunter Heverly (USA) 5.25
SF 2: Dillon Perillo (USA) 16.00, Andrew Doheny (USA) 11.25, Chase Brady (USA) 10.50, Michael Dunphy (USA) 7.40
Ezekiel Pro Junior Quarterfinals: (1st and 2nd advance)
QF 1: Luke Davis (USA) 12.75, Brent Reilly (USA) 11.50, Dane Zaun (USA) 9.75, Doug Van Mierlo (USA) 6.10
QF 2: Spencer Regan (USA) 15.10, Hunter Heverly (USA) 13.25, Phillip Goold (USA) 12.65, Christian Saenz (USA) 8.75
QF 3: Chase Brady (USA) 14.25, Andrew Doheny (USA) 13.40, Gabe Garcia (USA) 9.25, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 8.75
QF 4: Dillon Perillo (USA) 15.05, Michael Dunphy (USA) 11.50, Matt Pagan (USA) 11.20, Jared Thorne (USA) 6.55
Ezekiel Pro Junior Round of 32 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 5: Andrew Doheny (USA) 16.00, Jared Thorne (USA) 11.25, Levi Gonzales (HAW) 9.25, Rob Kelly (USA)
Heat 6: Gabe Garcia (USA) 14.75, Matt Pagan (USA) 11.00, Trevor Saunders (USA) 9.60, Conrad Carr (USA) 7.55
Heat 7: Dillon Perillo (USA) 17.10, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 10.00, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 9.15, Riley Metcalf (USA) 6.40
Heat 8: Michael Dunphy (USA) 14.90, Chase Brady (USA) 10.05, Nick Rupp (USA) 8.45, Matt Meola (HAW) 5.85