2005 Quiksilver California Cup Championship Series

OC Splits Final Doubleheader, Wins 2nd California Cup

After 22, long and hard fought Games, the 2005 Quiksilver California Cup was decided, fittingly, in the last five minutes of the Championship deciding Game today. As time ticked away, the San Diego Sea Lions needed a miracle after finding themselves down by a monstrous 33.75 points at the start of the bottom of the 4th Quarter. In the morning San Diego had fought off elimination by soundly beating OC, but now, in the decisive afternoon doubleheader Game 3, the Sea Lions were seriously behind the eight ball because they had no timeouts. Making matters worse, in order to win, they needed to post the highest single quarter score of the entire season.

And they nearly pulled it off.

Rob Machado, predictably got them started by giving a head-high left everything he had – including a pair of uncharacteristic tail slides – for a 8.75. Then Heath Walker powered into a left for a 7.5. The San Diego bench began to stir while Orange County chewed their nails. Then Austin Ware paddled into one of the biggest waves of the day – a solidly overhead left wrapping into the pier. He mistimed the first section but then found a groove and fit in five solid snaps. San Diego went wild then waiting anxiously for the score…9.5. Whoa…a big number and a whole new Game. Now Che Stang, who had been ripping all of today, yesterday and Saturday, needed a very do-able 8.5 to lead his team to victory.

The only problem – no timeouts. San Diego waited patiently outside as the time ticked away and the waves, which had been solid all day, stopped pouring through on the peaking high tide. Finally, with one minute left Stang paddled into a head high right. He came off the bottom, did a little floater, a cutback and not much else. Everybody, even the Sea Lions, knew it wasn't enough. The clock ticked away and the champagne bottles came out on the OC bench and the celebration began.

OC had won its second California Cup. This year the win was even more impressive than last year's considering the OC lineup for the HB homestand and Championships. The Octopus was missing Chris Ward, Timmy Reyes, Shane Beschen all week and yesterday and today went without ultra-consistent performers Mike Losness and Nate Yeomans.

But this year proved the incredible depth of young talent in Orange County. This morning coach Garth Tarlow started one high school student, Chris Waring, subbed in another, Dane Ward and waited for a third, Tanner Gudauskas, to finish his day at San Clemente High before the young star could drive up to HB for the deciding afternoon Game. All three teens went off, but none came through more hugely than T. Gudauskas who came through with an 8 after being subbed in the 3rd Quarter.

After it was all over OC was drained after surfing six days in a row, but they were incredibly stoked as they admired their 2nd bronze cup. Their MVP for the Game and the season, Pat O'Connell, perhaps captured the overriding give-good-surfers-their-due spirit of the season when he accepted his awards: "In my 12 years on tour I got maybe one trophy, but this year I've gotten four or five. This is awesome."

Season Awards

MVP – Pat O'Connell

Rookie of the Year – Chris Waring

Most Radical Maneuver – Dane Reynolds

9th Man Award – Tanner Gudauskas

Final Score:

OC – 103.25
SD – {{{100}}}.25