Eric Taylor Wins The 2007 Quiksilver King Of The Peak

Surf: Though good-as-it-gets reports from {{{Nova}}} Scotia to South Beach circulated around the contest site, inspiring more than a few “awww sheee-its,” and forcing South Florida regs Pete Mendia and Shea Lopez to play hooky on Day One, Sunday, November 4 was still a damn fine day to be at Sebastian Inlet — rampy, four to six-foot wedges, some choice pits, and absolutely rippable.
Events held: All KOP heats and the ESM Airshow final (where three-time defending champ Ryan Helm was untouchable with his mega-huge f/s disasters)
Nature’s Call: What did you call me? “Worst Hurricane Season ever?” OK, take this motherf***ers.

Predicted: In two months, the O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro will return to the park, this time with a 5-star WQS rating. Vero Beach, FL’s, Eric Taylor will make the final, cementing his status as one of Sebastian’s best surfers ever, certainly one of its most winning-est.

“South Beach was double-overhead yesterday. Put my friend through his board and in the hospital,” said Miami competitor Ron Keindl. To which New Jersey’s sole entrant Frank Walsh added, “Kirra-like barrels at that Central Jersey secret spot I keep telling you guys about.” Outer Banks surfing website posted a gallery of Jesse Hines charging some historically massive Outer Banks ledges. And rumors like that flew by all weekend long. “Epic… Just epic…” “Everything East Coast hurricane surf should be and more.” Not here, though. No, the best waves on the coast were not happening at Sebastian this weekend. But the best surfing sure was. No kooks win the King of the Peak. Many would go so far to say that if this isn’t the hardest contest on the entire East Coast to win, it’s definitely in the top-three. One look at the list of past winners tells you that. Amassing seven skins on the first day, ET’s last heat was a mere victory lap. Though never an actual Brevard County resident, after a record eight NSSA East Coast title and countless pro/ams won at this spot, there are none more deserving of having their name added to that list than Eric Taylor.

Performer of the Day:
Taking the highest score of the previous day, an 8.66 for three devastating backside blasts, Bryan Hewitson looked as if a repeat of his ’03 title was in the bag before being halted by Chris Duff’s pit stop on Sunday. And in the sidelining freesurfing spectacle (as much a part of the KOP as the Quik jerseys themselves) while his fellow Tarheel compadres failed to bag a single skin, Wrightsville Beach, NC, youngblood Mark Yonkers hit the spin cycle on what Contest Director Matt Kechele “the best maneuver of the whole contest,” a colossal backside 360-air. No cash, no skin, no advancement for Yonkers, but plenty of respect earned during his first pro event in the Sunshine State.

Eric Taylor Wins The 2007 Quiksilver King Of The Peak
Travis Beckman

Despite enlightening the crowd with the same 40W-slick surfing that made him a WCT threat for nearly a decade, Shea Lopez’s first KOP showing ended at the hands of Brevard brawler Hewy, who fell short of his taking his second KOP title thanks to a rampaging Chris Duff. To add further insult, Duff’s face was caked in the new black Zinka Oxide. Not exactly how you picture Hewy going down — the best surfer in the contest losing to a kid who looked like he had been making out with a pile of cow dung all morning.

“This has been the contest I’ve always wanted to win since I was a little kid, just because of all the guys I look up to, like Dave Speir and {{{CJ}}}, have done it. Plus, it’s nice to surf a different format and get away from the repetitiveness of four-man heats. I go to school in North Florida now and am not around as much, but it’s like riding a bike. Once you get back in those wedges, things start clicking.” –Eric Taylor, the new 2007 King of the Peak.

“I guess I should’ve caught a smaller wave.” –Alek Parker, confused after a close loss to Puerto Rican stylist Dylan Graves.

“Depends on how many skins he gets.” –Defending KOP champ and New Smyrna Beach, FL, pro Jeremy Johnston, on whether North Florida will claim newly enrolled Flagler College student and Vero Beach native ET as one of their own.

Final Results of the 2007 Quiksilver King of the Peak
1. Eric Taylor, 8 skins, $1920
2. Bryan Hewitson, 6 skins, $1440
3. Dylan Graves, 4 skins, ${{{960}}}
4. Asher Nolan, Philip Goold, Travis Beckmann, 3 skins, ${{{720}}}
5. Chris Duff, Caleb Johnston, 2 skins, $480
6. Alek Parker, Shane Murray, Cody Thompson, Kenny Kozack, Nick Guilarte, Cole Anderson, Dave Awbrey, Bryce Cohen, Sean Poynter, Gary Wheeler, Todd Holland, Matt Bender, Ron Keindl, Kyle Garson, Zander Morton, 1 skin, ${{{240}}}

ESM Airshow
1. Ryan Helm, $425

Eric Taylor Wins The 2007 Quiksilver King Of The Peak
Chris Duff

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