Upstart 16 year-old Matt McCabe wins inaugural No Fear Punk Pro-Am

What started as two day, 96-man contest, all boiled down to a 16-man shootout Sunday afternoon with a young, relatively unknown surfer named Matt McCabe of Ventura, California winning the inaugural No Fear Punk Pro-Am at D Street in Encinitas, California. Upon doing so, McCabe got in his car and made the drive home up the 101 with a $2000 check in his pocket (his cut of the $7000 overall purse).

A contest purpose-built for surfers aged 19 and under, the No Fear Punk Pro-Am was held in well shaped, two-to-three-foot waves most competitors deemed "contestable". The sun shined all day -- beating back the June Gloom that has ensconced northern San Diego for weeks -- the wind stayed down and a positive festival-like atmosphere provided a great backdrop for the event.

Moreover, the evolutionary new format the Punk Pro-Am followed was well received by the competitors who participated in it. "I liked the format a lot," said winner McCabe, who pulled the best scores in the two 20-minute heats he, as well as the other 15 finalists, surfed in. "It was so much fun. You got to surf your hardest and not worry about doing specific tricks. I didn't feel nervous at all today. I felt like I was just free surfing with my friends out there." McCabe won the contest with a three maneuver trick, first snapping hard off the stiff upper lip of a powerful wave, then turning and executing a clean aerial, and finally pulling off a 360 in the wave's closeout section.

Serving as a type of testimonial for the No Fear Punk Pro-Am concept was Nick Suhadolnik of nearby Solana Beach. After winning the final elimination pod, which sent him directly into the 16-surfer final, the teenager also had the honor of having new ${{{100}}} bill slapped in his palm. "The contest and the format were really fun," said Suhadolnik. "The format allowed us the opportunity to surf a bunch of times and the money involved was also great. I've never won money at a surf contest before. I was excited to win a $100 bill. I need it! Suhadolnik kept his momentum up in the finals, placing a fine second overall, snatching another $1000 in cash.

Britt Galland, No Fear V.P. of Marketing as well as contest director, was also quite pleased with the contest and the positive feedback in generated. "I've had so many parents and kids come up and tell me how much they enjoyed the contest as well as the format," says Galland. "The kids are got to surf a lot and really enjoyed the format. A number of them told me today that they were not as nervous as they normally are at a traditional contest because they knew their day would not end in one heat if they didn't get good waves or don't execute certain tricks.

"The top four kids were so nice and polite I couldn't believe it," added Galland. "And all three of them were 16 years-old. The fact that they beat a surfer the caliber of Shey Yates -- who is 19 and a great surfer -- was very impressive. Wherever these kids go from here, I'm proud to know that they'll remember me as the fist guy to give them money at a surf contest."Third overall in the No Fear Punk Pro-Am went to J.C. Toro of Encinitas, California, while No Fear team rider David Suhadolnik placed fourth and headed back to Del Mar with big, oversize check for $500 he didn't know where to cash.

No Fear Punk Pro-Am Final Results
1. Matt McCabe$2,000.00Ventura, California
2. Nick Suhadolnik$1,000.00Del Mar , California
3.J.C. Toro $700.00 Encinitas, California
4.David Suhadolnik $500.00 Del Mar, California
5.Shey Yates $250.00Encinitas, California
6.Thomas Clark $225.00
7.Noah Erickson ${{{200}}}.00
8.Pierce Flynn $175.00
9. Dewey Cunnison $150.00
10.Gustavo Salzar $125.00