Surf: 4- to 6-feet, bumpy but more than adequate
Rounds Held: Kids Everything
Nature’s Call: I like big chunks and I cannot lie
Predicted: Traffic Jam on I-95 HEAT OF THE DAY: For sheer excitement value, nothing can touch the Menehune Final when the waves are pumping. Seeing these runts battle whomping Hatteras juice is every bit as moving as watching the pros tackle Pipe. Thrills, spills, and never ill will. They just go out there and charge.

But as far as a top notch surfing duel, the highlight was the Junior Men’s Final between North Floridian chums Chris Ropero and Devon Tresher. In the end, Ropero’s crispier attack gave him the slight edge. And a sweet backhand barrel, the only one of the day, didn’t hurt either. “It wasn’t me,” he admitted. “It was that wave.”

PERFORMER OF THE DAY: This one’s a toss-up between two oversized 15-year-olds from North Florida. (What is it with that place?) Each has future WCT prospect stamped all over him/her. Each is so far above the opposition that the only people who can beat them are themselves. They could have simply mailed in their ESA titles rather than trudging all the way up to Hatteras. It would have saved a lot of other kids from getting their hopes up. Put simply, Karina Petroni and Eric Geiselman rule.

“I almost threw up this morning,” replied Petroni when asked whether she had been nervous before her final. Seems a bit silly considering her prodigal talent, but apparently she expects so much of herself that she regularly feels that way the day of a big event. She’s won just about everything else available to her, and now with an Easterns’ title in her pocket, the much-ballyhooed phenom claims to have made her last appearance in this event. “In order to be the best, you need to surf against the best.” But if you’re thinking she’s about to attack the WQS, think again. “I gotta finish high school first,” she says as if it were a ridiculous question, “I have so much to learn.”

Geiselman is equally dominant, a man among the Boys’ Division. Aside from a few Juniors’ competitors, no one is in his league. Except possibly . . .Petroni? If surfing against the best young girl in the country wouldn't bring out the best in Eric, nothing would. Doubt we'll ever see it though. Oh well.

SHOCKERS: Reigning Girls champ Kira Sheppard failed to advance through her first heat in perfect conditions on Wednesday. David Awbrey has surfed more man-on-man heats than some WCT pros. He had four ESA titles by the age of 15, but he has officially been skunked in the Junior’s Division, narrowly missing out three years running. A questionable call this year, his last as an amateur, was heartbreaking, but Awbrey didn’t flinch. Mere seconds after hearing of his loss, he turned to his dad and said, “Let’s go surf somewhere else.”

QUOTABLES: “And they were so well behaved all week.” Event commentator Greg Taylor on the Menehune finalists.Jason Borte


2003 EAST COAST CHAMPION – Karina Petroni Atlantic Beach, FL ESA NFL District
2. Katie McCleod NCFL
3. Erica Badida SAFL
4.Sara Hoffert NFL
5. Leilani Pickett SNC
6. Kimberly Diggs OBNC

2003 EAST COAST CHAMPION – Fisher Heverly Emerald Isle, North Carolina ESA CNC District
2. Evan Geilselman NCFL
3. Evan Thompson NFL
4. Nick Rupp SNC
5. Taylor Brothers WFL
6. Michael Ciaramella SNJ

BOYS 2003 EAST COAST CHAMPION – Eric Geilselman New Smyrna Beach, FL ESA NCFL District
2. Patrick Conner SAFL
3. Jensen Callaway PBFL
4. Sean Poynter FCFL
5. Leif Engstrom NY
6. Dane Carroll CFL
7. Cody Thompson NFL
8. Brett Barley OBNC

2003 EAST COAST CHAMPION – Chris Ropero St, Augustine, FL ESA SAFL District
2. Devon Tresher NCFL
3. David Awbrey CFL
4. Jessie Heilman NCFL
5. Eric Rheaume NCFL 6. Tony Silvagni SNC
7. Harry Gilbert NCFL
8. Dana Quinn OBNC