NEWPORT BEACH PRO Yeomans Wins and Locals Share Limelight

Defending event champion and reigning Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep champion Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) posted an incredible come-from-behind victory to claim his second consecutive Oakley Newport Beach Pro presented by Jeep title. The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star event culminated a week's worth of competition today in rippable two-to-three foot surf at 56th Street in Newport Beach.

Although fellow finalist Adam Virs (Ventura, CA) held a commanding lead for the majority of the final, Yeomans found a running lefthander in the dying moments and raced down the line into a massive shotgun aerial on the end section. The incredible maneuver netted Yeomans the score, the win and his second consecutive Oakley Newport Beach Pro title.

"I don't even have words to explain how I feel right now," Yeomans said. "I thought it was over out there. I was having a meltdown. I needed a big score and the waves just weren't coming in. I took off on that wave and couldn't do any maneuvers so I just picked up a bunch of speed and went for broke on that aerial. I didn't know if they were going to give me the score, but they did."

Yeomans' incredible event win rockets him up to second on the 2007 Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep heading into the final event of the season, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.

"I don't know where this moves me up to on the Trifecta ratings, but I definitely have my eye on defending my title this year," Yeomans said. "I'm going to take a little break right now and then recharge for Santa Cruz."

Virs, who was in incredible form all event, moves into first on the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep ratings with his solid runner-up finish.

"It's bittersweet right now," Virs said. "I'm still a bit bummed that I didn't pull out the win here, but I'm super stoked to be at the top of the ratings heading into Santa Cruz. It feels like things are going my way now on the WQS and in North America and in the Trifecta, and I'm super thankful for all that. After sorting some things out at home this week, I will be surfing as much as I can and getting prepared for Santa Cruz. I hope I can keep this momentum up."

Next stop on the 2007 ASP North America Men's Tour will be the No Fear Mexican Surf Fiesta (ASP WQS 2-Star) in San Miguel from October 4-7, 2007 before culminating in the ASP North America Championships at the O'Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz from October 9-14, 2007 where the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep will culminate, awarding $10,000 and a new Jeep to the Trifecta points champ.

How many times have you sat at the beach watching a contest, or at home, or even at work watching the webcast, and wished it was you in that neon jersey? An empty lineup, except for a few other competitors, all eyes are on you, sets lining the horizon, and each one rolling towards you with endless opportunity. It's a scenario you may have played out countless times in your imagination, but at the Oakley Newport Beach Pro Presented by Jeep, it's time to throw all that spray where you claim it.

“The sponsorship has changed, but the Newport Beach City Championships has been there since day one," says Darren Brillheart, Contest Director. Day one was nineteen years ago, and ever since, the contest has grown. Today, the contest plays host to some of the world's best, duking it out on the WQS, along with the best Pro Juniors. Come the weekend, however, the pros no longer dominate the spotlight. Integrated into the mix are true amateurs, no sponsorships, with the most important thing on the line being a good time, and oh yeah, bragging rights. Set up on a first come, first serve basis, the contest allows anyone to enter the Recreational Divisions, and besides the prizes provided, the winners get to claim the victory for the entire year.

"There are on-going rivalries between all of the divisions that compete. Maybe not so much with the little guys, but that's where it starts," explains Sean Nielsen, Director of Events. The competition is tight, with six competitors in the water, and 15 minute heats, forcing each surfer to scratch for as many scoring waves as they can. Lucky for them, no wave will be missed by the WQS judging panel equipped with electronic scoring. And just in case any family members couldn't make it to the beach, they can catch them on the live webcast. "They're treated just like pros," says Nielsen.

When the last jersey drips dry however, it's really all about community. "For the community it's great," describes Ronny Nelson. "I just met this little elementary school kid today and it was his first event ever. He was stoked; he got free sandals, a hat. I think it's just a good family day at the beach, which sometimes in this world that we live in, we lack the family day on a Sunday." Having grown up in Newport, Nelson has come full circle, from surfing 56th St. as a grom, to competing in the event and now as Surf Marketing Manager for Oakley, a principle sponsor of the event. And Nelson is not alone in his growth with the contest, Anthony Petruso has been right there the whole way as well. Starting off as a young grommet in the Elementary Division, and claiming Recreational titles as he grew through the ranks, Petruso competed this year in the professional division. Unfortunately he was knocked out in the quarters this year, but I think it's safe to say he'll be back next year.

The future of surfing in Newport, and the rest of Orange County, is in good hands. In such a unique environment where the young ones get to come out and watch some of their favorite pros blow it up in their back yard before their heats, with the same jerseys, same judges, same everything, it's no wonder the kids are stoked. "For them to come out here and surf in front of their family, and friends," says Matt Dingwall, Recreation Supervisor, "it's huge."

I managed to get the attention of one grom long enough to ask him what he thought about the whole event, and he was obviously stoked. But when I asked Jake Caughill what his favorite part was, the answer was simple, and pure, "Just surfing."

"This is pretty much Orange County right here," sums up Nelson. "There're families, WQS surfers, recreational Surfers, and its just fun. It's a good day."



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