2006 Fear at the Pier presented by Xcel: Day Two Wrap

After a weekend spent in Huntington watching some of the world's best 20-and-under surfers, spectators were treated to a sizzling final on the south side of the pier, from which Eric Geiselman emerged as the first ever Fear at the Pier champion. In consistent wait-to-chest-high surf that lasted throughout the weekend, Geiselman advanced through a field of {{{80}}} competitors to claim the win this afternoon. Sweetening his victory was a $2,500 check for first place as well as 500 points towards qualification for the 2007 Billabong World Junior Championships, which will be held in Australia next spring.

"I'm so stoked right now," said Geiselman, whose win today marked his fifth Pro Junior Finals appearance in as many entries, and third win of the season. "Australia is always in the back of my mind, so I am thinking about it, but right now I'm trying not to stress. I'm just trying to have fun and surf and stay relaxed."

In the final match up, Geiselman took the win from an explosive group. Dusty Payne, Cody Thompson and Wesley Larsen all put on amazing performances this weekend, but with a high 7 and an 8 under his belt, it was Geiselman who claimed the win. Low scores set the pace for the heat early on, as the competitors felt out the increasingly windblown and bumpy conditions, but with 30-minutes to get the job done the four finalists steadily improved on their scores. Relying mostly on his backhand, Geiselman was clearly in his element and comboed all but Dusty Payne. "I want to thank my dad for shaping all my boards," he said after the heat, "and my sponsors: {{{Fox}}}, Etnies, Da Kine and Red Dog Surf Shop. I couldn't have done it with out their support."

Other highlights, prior to the final, came in Round 4, the Quarters and the Semis.

In Heat 3 of Round 4, Brandon Ragenovich came out of the gates firing, immediately taking control of the heat with a 7.5 just seconds after the opening horn. That score gave him a solid early lead and he then backed it up with another 7 to handily take the win. In control throughout the match up, Ragenovich commented afterwards on the merits of starting off in the driver's seat. "It always feels good to get off to a strong start," said Ragenovich, "The sooner you can get a good score, the sooner the nerves just flow out of you, and that's when you find your rhythm."

In Heat 5, Adam Wickwire was explosive and easily took the win while Heats 7 and 8 were closely contested. Heat 7 saw Nick Rozsa, Eric Geiselman and Wesley Larsen locked in a series of close exchanges, from which Larsen and Geiselman advanced in 1st and 2nd respectively.

Heat 8 was also very close and was highlighted by a big boost by Mason Ho who managed to advance in 2nd on the merits of that maneuver, which capped an 8.5 ride, and a mid-range score he earned in the final moments. Advancing into the Quarters ahead of Ho was Chris Warring, who tore through the heat and posted a pair of 8s.

In Heat 1 of the Quarters, Dusty Payne looked strong, fast and aggressive while taking the win, while in Heat 2, Cody Thompson busted out a deep bag of snaps, slides and a big forehand air-reverse which locked up his 1st place finish.

Mason Ho was on fire in Heat 3, and posted a 9.0 with a pair of solid forehand airs on his first wave. Advancing behind Ho was Eric Geiselman, who made the most of the lefts on the south peak to take 2nd.

In the final heat of the Quarters, Heat 4, Chris Waring again looked unstoppable, and comboed the field with a 7.5 and an 8.75, while Wesley Larsen advanced behind him in 2nd.