Katin Pro/Am Team Challenge kicks off next week; swell on the way
By Matt Skenazy
The Katin Pro/Am Team Challenge has been pitting regular hometown rippers against world champions for decades now, and this year's no different. Former World Champ, and former Katin Pro/Am champ, Tom Curren will be riding for team Rip Curl. Gabe Kling, Ben Bourgeois, Nathaniel Curran, and Kalani Robb will also be heading to HB for the prestigious little comp that could…and has. With an impressive roster of past champs, the Katin Team Challenge is notorious for big names — Shaun Tomson, Tom Curren, Martin Potter, Sunny Garcia, Kelly Slater, and, most recently, Huntington Beach's own, Brett Simpson to name a few — and good waves on the Northside of the HB pier (one of the only comps to be on that side). And if this year comes close to last year's pumping surf, we're in for a quite a show.
Team Hurley will be looking to continue their impressive run from last year, when they won the team title, and had Brett Simpson and Rob Machado finish first and second respectively in the final. The team this time around will consist of Hurley team manager Brandon Guilmette, Brad Ettinger, Conner Coffin and, hopefully, freshly qualified 'CT surfer Brett Simpson.
Simpo is waiting on a final word from the ASP to confirm that he can surf in the event.
"I've got a couple alternates up my sleeve if Brett can't compete," Guilmette said, "Hopefully though he'll be able to surf. It's great for the event to have the best local guys, and it's great for the community as well, so I hope he's there to try and go back to back."
Simpo has dominated everything Huntington and the world have thrown his way as of late, winning the U.S. Open last July in macking surf on his way to a 10th place finish on the World Qualifying Series. And if the waves are anything like they were at the U.S. Open, look for Conner Coffin to be charging. Coffin showcased his big wave chops at the Coldwater Classic this past October in Santa Cruz and is definitely a grom you want in your corner for any team surf competition.
Although registration is still open (visit katinproam.com for more information), the complete current list of teams registered includes:
BANDPAX: Pete Mussio, Pascal Stansfield, Tarek Kashoggi, Nate Winkles
FACTION SURFBOARDS: Jason Harris, Drew Snyder, Duane O'Toole, Derrick Peters
FOX: Jesse Evans, Jesse Merle-Jones, Sean Hayes, Josh Mulcoy
(alternates: Andrew Gesler, Ian Walsh)
GLAS: Bobby Morris, Jimmy Herrick, Willie Safreed, Zach Poppler
HBHS: Jeff Deffenbaugh, Christian Saenz, Evan Kane, Shayne Nelson
HURLEY: Brett Simpson, Brad Ettinger, Brandon Guilmette, Connor Coffin
JACK'S: Riley Metcalf, Victor Done, Bruno Rodrigues, Dane Gudauskas
KATIN: Jeff Lukasik, Matt Pagan, Corban Campbell, Justin Rogge
KOASTAL: Matt Howe, Paul Pugliesi, Chris Love, Dave Lovato
MATIX: Gabe Kling, Micah Byrne, Ricky Whitlock, Tyler Stanaland
O'QUINN: Ryan Carlson, Yves Bright, Jack Boyes, Mike Hoisington
REEF: Ben Bourgeois, Mike Losness, Chris Waring, Nick Rosza
RIP CURL: Tom Curren, Shaun Ward, Sean Taylor, Adam Lambert
(alternates: Nick Greeninger, Colin Moran)
RUSTY: Spencer Regan, Porter Hogan, Max Doucet, Anthony Petruso
SURFING AMERICA: Jake Halstead, Evan Thompson, Evan Geiselman, Andrew Doheny
SURFLINE: Nathaniel Curran, Kalani Robb, Bud Freitas, Teddy Navarro