2005 Quiksilver King Of The Peak – Kyle Garson Wins

Kyle Garson was in North Carolina preparing for the WRV Outer Banks Pro when he heard some of the most awful news of his life. His best friend, Austin Paine, had been murdered by gunmen at his home in Indialantic, FL.

Coming off a runner-up finish at the Oakley Unsound Pro with two more QS's right around the corner, there was nothing Kyle could do but grieve, alone. And somehow keep his competitive focus intact. Whether it was a personal mission, loving support from his family and girlfriend Amy, or his intensely meditative yoga routine, Garson succeeded. In mid-October, he scored an 8.5 en route to winning the final of the $25,000 8th O'Neill Trophy--a WQS 2-star at Arona/ Los Realejos, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. And he hasn't slowed down one bit.

Of all non-WCT Sebastian spawn, Garson is the best. No other surfer currently combines all the necessary elements of speed, power, flow, technical flamboyance and competitive strategy in waves of all shapes and sizes like he does. So it's only natural that he'd be the one to walk away from Sebastian Inlet on Sunday, November 6th with the highly coveted Quiksilver King Of The Peak crown, after amassing six skins in two days, one-upping St. Augustine flare-up Zander Morton. As the only ongoing skins event in North America, the KOP is as random a comp as they come, which makes it all that more exciting. You can lose with an 8.0 or win with a 3.0, but you gotta claim to be scored. After being disposed by fellow Melbourne Beacher Rylan McCart, Garson's fate lay not in his own hands, but in Jupiter, FL's, badass darkhorse Ryan Helm. Sponsorless and surfing on his wife's board, Helm had been on fire all weekend long, easily taking the $400 ESM Airshow the day before, and the only one capable of stopping Zander's roll. A 6.6 was enough to do just that. (Helm then backed that up with the event high score, 8.0.)

Taking his rightful place among the crowned Inlet elite--Slater, Hartley, Morcom, Speir, Hewitson, Hobgood, Jones--Garson quietly stepped up to accept his $1500 check before dedicating the win to Paine. "When terrible things happen, we have to step back and realize how precious life is," said Kyle. "Austin always had such a positive attitude which made me realize that I shouldn't worry and get nervous in heats, but instead do as much as I can with the time I have left. It definitely put a fire under my ass to win these contests for him." Spoken like a true champion. Classy, positive and above all, human.


1st – Kyle Garson, 6 skins – $1500
2nd – Zander Morton, 5 skins – $1250
3rd – Eric Taylor, 4 skins – $1000
=4th – David Awbrey, Sean Tubbs, Rylan McCart – 3 skins/ $750 apiece
=5th – Aaron Cormican, Jody Davis, Mark Dawson, Daniel Terry, Ryan Helm – 2 skins/ $500 apiece
=6th – Sean Poynter, Billy Hume, Jean LaCerte, Jay Gordon, Justin Ellingham, Paul Reinecke, Jeff Myers, Dave Begley, Tommy Bursian, Ryan Briggs – 1 skin/ $250 apiece

Eastern Surf Magazine Airshow

1st – Ryan Helm, ${{{300}}}
2nd – Travis Beckmann, $400

All photos courtesy of Eastern Surf Magazine. For non-stop East Coast coverage, stay tuned to www.EasternSurf.com