Power Shift

Evan Geiselman

EVENT: 2009 NSSA East Coast Championships

CONDITIONS: The NSSA lucked into another solid springtime ENE swell, enjoying three straight days of chest to head-high Sebastian Inlet chunks. Sunday morning, the cranking onshore wind even calmed down for a few hours and let a little morning glass sneak in.

NATURE'S CALL: "This is our 17th or 18th year at Sebastian Inlet," said Janice Aragon, NSSA Executive Director. "And we haven't been skunked yet."

PREDICTED: All eyes were on New Smyrna Beach, FL, whiz kid Evan Geiselman, who came into this year's event holding the NSSA Regional title record with 12. Evan G. earned lucky number 13 by winning Open Juniors, and put up a valiant fight in Open Men's, tying eventual winner Evan Thompson of Jacksonville Beach in the final seconds of their heat. The count back went Evan T.'s way — "Waiting to find out whether I won was the most nerve-wracking hour of my life," Thompson said — but Evan G. continued his ascent to NSSA golden boy status.

While those two teenage Floridians set this year's bar predictably high, Point Lookout, NY, 17-year-old Balaram Stack jumped over, under, and right through that bar, nailing not one, not two, but three perfect 10s in two days of competition. One came on a deep left barrel up the beach that comboed the entire {{{Explorer}}} Juniors field, and another came in the Airshow final after Bal landed a flawless frontside no-grab alley-oop. "I've never gotten a 10 in my life," Stack said, "so to get three in one event is a dream come true."

Balstack had a chance to win an unprecedented four divisions, but barely lost to Ocean Isle Beach, NC's Nick Rupp in Explorer Men's before hitting in a wall in the final Open Men's heat. Other Tarheel winners included fellow Ocean Isle Beach resident and perennial finalist Weston Williams (he made four finals last year and four more this year), who finally tasted victory in Explorer Longboard. And UNC-Wilmington shocked the collegiate field by sweeping the overall team ratings on the strength of three College Men's finalists, including eventual winner Mike Powell. Further spotlighting the shift of focus away from Florida, New York wahine Quincy Davis clinched commanding victories in Open Women's and Explorer Women's, taking down a seasoned field of Sebastian Inlet locals in the process. And Garden City Beach, SC, uber-grom Cam Richards upped his Regional title number to five with a win in Explorer Boys.

Nick Rupp

HEAT OF THE DAY: The marquee Open Men's final finished off the event, and featured a see-saw battle between the two Evans, Geiselman and Thompson. Evan T. made the most of several inside rights, carving numerous powerful turns before punctuating both scoring waves with buttery frontside reverses. But Evan G. never backed down, tossing up beyond-vertical backside snaps on critical, closed-out sections to tie Evan T.'s 15.83 total in the dying seconds of the heat. After an hour-long nail-biting wait for the awards ceremony, Thompson was awarded the victory. "I've been competing with Evan [Geiselman] my while life, and we're great friends, but he always wins," Thompson said. "So it felt good to get this one."

PERFORMER OF THE DAY: Stack clearly demonstrated that he's finally found a way to reconcile his freakish freesurfing talents with 20-minute heats in a jersey. But we'll go out on a limb here and award POD to 11-year-old up-and-comer Tristan Thompson (Evan and Cody's little brother). Tristan won Open Boys and Explorer Menehunes — not the most intense divisions, but his clean, full-wrap cutbacks shed some light on Tristan's potential down the road.

SHOCKERS: Local Melbourne Beach wahine Jasset Umbel, who proved last year she could carry the torch for female East Coast surfing with two division wins, couldn't find her groove on the final day. Always the sweetheart, Jasset effusively congratulated her fellow competitors, but you know it has to hurt to lose on home turf.

QUOTABLES: "We'll be here next year — I'll bring the waves." —Aragon on breaking Florida's long winter/spring flat spell

"We're trying not to push the little guys too hard. They've got thousands of heats to look forward to." —East Coast legend Matt Kechele, after seeing a young competitor in tears over his 2nd-place performance

Balaram Stack

1. Evan Thompson
2. Evan Geiselman
3. Oliver Kurtz
4. Balaram Stack

1. Quincy Davis
2. Emily Ruppert
3. Jasset Umbel
4. Savannah Bradley

1. Evan Geiselman
2. Mikey Ciaramella
3. Dylan Kowalski
4. Cam Richards

1. Tristan Thompson
2. Weston Williams
3. Tyler Faulkner
4. Daniel Glenn
5. Logan Hayes
6. Stevie Pittman

1. Luke Marks
2. Stevie Pittman
3. Andrew Rooney
4. Luke Gordon
5. Matt Glenn
6. Katie Gordon

1. Patrick Nichols
2. Weston Williams
3. Steve McLean
4. Daniel Glenn
5. Chelsea Gresham
6. Jeff Glenn

1. Balaram Stack, $500

1. Nick Rupp
2. Balaram Stack
3. Tayler Brothers
4. Frank Roper
5. Cole Richards
6. Kedren Ferrero

1. Balaram Stack
2. Evan Thompson
3. Frank Roper
4. Fisher Heverly
5. Tayler Brothers
6. Peter Polanski

1. Cam Richards
2. Pat Schmidt
3. Corey Howell
4. Noah Schweizer
5. Sam Duggan
6. Knox Harris

1. Tristan Thompson
2. Weston Williams
3. Mauricio Diaz
4. Logan Hayes
5. Justin Croteau
6. Daniel Glenn

1. Quincy Davis
2. Jasset Umbel
3. Emily Ruppert
4. Savannah Bradley
5. Nikki Viesins
6. Hailey Dawson

1. Emily Ruppert
2. Quincy Davis
3. Nikki Viesins
4. Rossi Klein
5. Ellie Klein
6. Alison Bowman

1. Darlan Lopes
2. Chad Carr
3. Chester Pittman
4. Brian Corbitt
5. Tim Albury
6. Dan Conover

1. Brian Corbitt
2. Daniel Sacchi
3. Jim Tolliver
4. Bill Miller
5. Tim Albury
6. Chester Pittman

1. Jim Tolliver
2. Sean Hayes
3. Jim Miller
4. Bill Miller
5. Jordan Nichols

1. Weston Williams
2. Patrick Nichols
3. Wyatt Todd
4. Brad Rose
5. Steve McLean
6. {{{Morgan}}} Taylor-Leaval

1. UNCW-A 112 points
2. FCCJ 97 points
3. UCF-A 73 points
4. UNF-A 56 points
5. Flagler 50 points
6. UNCW-B 47 points
7. UF 40 points
8. UNF-B 29 points
9. UCF-B 20 points
10. UCF-C 17 points

1. Mike Powell, UNCW-A
2. Ian Tilghman, UNCW-A
3. Shane Murray, FCCJ
4. Billy Olsen, UNF-A
5. Ben Powell, UNCW-A
6. Austin Bungert, FCCJ

1. Amy Nicholl, UCF-A
2. Mallory Turner, UNF-A
3. Jessie Carnes, UF
4. Gillian Gensler, UNF-B
5. Teale Beckenbach, UNF-B
6. Anne Snyder, UCF-A

1. Joe Pulido, FCCJ
2. Matt Novak, UF
3. Jake Radacz, UNF-A
4. Brent Newell, UCF-A
5. Mike Nicolini, UNF
6. Drake Courie, UNCW-A

1. Satellite High 49 points
2. Jupiter High 43 points

1. Peter Polanski, Satellite
2. Tommy Orsini, Satellite
3. Frank Roper, Jupiter
4. Gavin Greenwood, Jupiter
5. Rylan Weiland, Jupiter
6. TR Clark, Satellite

1. Savannah Bradley, Satellite
2. Hailey Dawson, Satellite
3. Brett Walker, Jupiter
4. Austin Pollis, Jupiter

1. TR Clark, Satellite
2. Patrick Nichols, Jupiter

Thanks Eastern Surf Magazine for the photos and words; look for the latest issue of ESM< in stores this week. And get full coverage of the NSSA Eastern Championships in the June issue.