Third Annual WRV Outer Banks Pro Won By Jesse Merle Jones

Jesse Merle Jones takes $5k and the Third Annual WRV Outer Banks Pro

Surf: Mixed-up, knee-to-waist-high windslop
Rounds Held:Quarterfinals to the finish
Nature's Call: Just be thankful I didn't go flat.
Predicted: High-fives at the next Nags Head town meeting for finally approving a professional surfing event. (The last two were 15 miles north in Kitty Hawk).PERFORMER OF THE DAY:Every surfer in the final had something to be proud of. For fourth place Jeremy Johnston, it was his first WQS final, and of the five Juniors who made it past the Round of 32 he was the only one representative to make the big show. (Eric Geiselman and Blake Jones were nixed in the semis, while Shane Upchurch and {{{Sterling}}} Spencer got clipped in the quarters.) Third place Aaron Cormican can claim an East Coast contest record we ain't seen in years, making every the final of every pro event he's entered, including a win in Belmar, thirds at Sebastian Inlet, New York and here plus bonus points for a non-ASP-rated ECSC victory. And runner-up Asher Nolan has now made his fourth straight ASP finals appearance, including a win at the Unsound Pro.But JMJ proved the event standout. Not only did he win the event, he did it in conditions completely opposite of his native Hawaii, and he did it with a smile on his face – well, almost. Just yesterday, when it was actually a bit bigger and less blown, Merle scoffed, "It's complete shit out there." But at least the non-stop wind made sure there was something to ride and today Jones took to the slop like a grunting pig, vertically knifing into every oncoming section and spilling messy chunks all over the south side of Jennette's Pier. He felt some pressure, most notably from Aaron Cormican and Asher Nolan in the final and an in-form Matt Archbold in the semis. But overall, it was Merle's tenacious attack and voracious appetite for any wave within reach that earned the former Fosters Pro Surfing Tour champ his first WQS win in three years.HEAT OF THE DAY:This one's a bit tough to call as most of the heats saw one surfer rack up multiple scores while the rest played catch-up. Randazzo kicked it off this morning with a psychotic slashing of the tiniest ripples, even banging rails with Noah Snyder, the last local man standing who unfortunately couldn't maintain his momentum. Nolan's collection of disco moves to dominate his quarterfinal were so smooth and fast he nearly disappeared, and Archbold actually did, finding a rare barrel or two in his semi before going down. But Gorkin/Jones battle in QF #3, was the best clash between rootsy rail turns and cutting edge maneuvers, including Aarons biggest aerial of the day.
SHOCKERS:Nothing was more shocking than NC kid Ben Bourgeois' fourth-place bombout in the second quarter, as he barely put together two rides worth score, especially since he earned the biggest combined heat total just the day before. The good news? Win or lose, this contest counts nothing toward his current charge to make the WCT. As he noted days ago, "Me? I came up here to win some cash." So did every one of the surfers. And with competitors, organizers, fans — and even Nags Head officials deeming the contest a success – there's a good chance there will be more to go around next year. QUOTABLE:"Of course it's Bud Light, I just won the Outer Banks Pro, not the Pipe Masters." A suds-soaked Merle-Jones saluting the organizers' location-appropriate choice of beverage sponsors.