After a whirlwind tour of California that began and ended in Huntington Beach, Orange County clinched the inaugural California Cup title on Saturday, in fun four-foot surf off of Golden West Street (a.k.a. Taco Bell Reef). The OC squad defeated San Diego in the Final round after their most threatening rival, Ventura County, was ousted the day before in a stunning upset by the Santa Cruz contingent.
"I was looking forward to another good showdown with the Ventura guys," said OC head coach Mike Parsons, "because the last match we had with them went down to the wire. But I won't lie, once Santa Cruz was within striking distance I was pulling for them. That's the beauty of the game. There's always someone to root for."
In the Finals, OC jumped off to a healthy lead thanks in large part to their MVP Timmy Reyes, who was literally right at home in Huntington Beach. Reyes' two high scoring rides helped OC open up a healthy lead in the first half. San Diego, led by Rob Machado, had a chance to close the gap in the third quarter when OC's squad faltered, but a series of mental mistakes and untimely wipeouts ended their chances to climb out of the hole.
Orange County essentially led the race for the California Cup from start to finish, losing only one match over the course of the season to Ventura in overtime at C-Street. While fan participation was limited after the first two events due to schedule changes, ESPN television cameras captured all of the action and will be airing The Game highlights later this month, and all fans in attendance seemed very impressed by the new competitive format. With rivalries already born, there's no doubt next year's California Cup will be hotly contested. In the meantime, if you'd like to see The Game format in all of its glory, stay tuned to SURFERMAG.COM for airdates, and don’t forget to tune into this summer's X-Games, which will feature a live broadcast from Huntington Beach.