Damien Hobgood Wins The 2006 Globe Sebastian Inlet Pro Presented By Ron Jon

TWINS' PEAK: Damien and {{{CJ}}} Hobgood finish high at the Globe Sebastian Inlet Pro

Surf: Waist to head-high, glassy, wedgy peaks
Events Held: Round 32 to the Finals
Nature's Call: Don't you say nuthin' bad about Florida surf ever again
Predicted: Kyle Garson and Asher Nolan making a run on the 'QS

"CJ paddled out and told me he'd just pulled a good reverse, which sort of amped me up — and after that we just started trading waves." So the always understated Damien Hobgood sums up the final of the 2nd Annual Sebastian Inlet Pro, a heat which saw the twins go from semi-hibernation, to complete domination. The past two days, both brothers dodged a surprising number of bullets to make the final – often against one of their fellow in-form finalists, Asher Nolan and Aaron Cormican. But about 10 minutes into the day's last showdown, the twins turned on, boosting each other's output with each successive boost to send their performances literally sky-high. While CJ Hobgood set the tone with his first reverse, the trademark of them all was Dam's no-hand, beyond-vert backside punt, earning an 8.83 and cementing his victory against his brother. (Asher and Aaron finished third and fourth, respectively.) But even if CJ sounded a bit chagrinned with the close loss, he was nothing but smiles over the event. "This is the first good Inlet we've seen a while,' said CJ. "So I can't get too greedy."

In a while? Hell, Brevard County was completely flat for a full 13 days before the contest kicked off last Thursday, only to fire for a whole seven out of the eight allotted days, with glassy surf pushing head-high for the final two. In that week, 228 men and 32 women compete, as Melanie Bartels smoothly took yesterday's Gallaz Surf Jam. And with the East Coast's first ever men's and women's four-star events running consecutively, and successfully, it was Sebastian winning streak the likes of which the Sunshine State had never seen.

PERFORMER OF DAYObviously, the twins turned it on today. But it wasn't a slam dunk for either, even up to that final heat. And who were they worried about most? You could easily say Asher Nolan, the man who won six pro events last year – enough to live off his prize money and win the Macy's Trifecta. You could also pick First Peak-bred comp freak Kyle Garson. But it was a guy known for surfing outside a jersey that seemed most hungry too win. "I'll tell you what," said Dam afterward. 'If you'd ask me to bet ahead of time, I'd have put my money on Gorkin." From the moment he started in the Round of 96, Cormican surfed like he had something to prove: which he did. "CJ took me out it Lowers," he explained after comboing CJ into second place yesterday. "This was revenge." Using that undying need to unseat CT talent, Gorkin emptied the toolbox in each successive round, squeaking through tubes and even launching a double-grab 360 in the semi to squeak past Garson and Ben Bourgeois become this year's only repeat finalist.

HEAT OF THE DAY: How does a man nab the set of the event, do the turn of the week, score an 8.33, and still not advance? That's the question Roy Powers was left asking himself at the end of Quarterfinal 2, when Josh Kerr and Damien Hobgood put on today's first stunt show. Fighting for the transfer spot, Kerr chucked a trademark reverse for a high 6, which prompted Dam to blast his won backside air for an 8.17, which sent Kerr spinning sky-high for an 8.67 – all inside the last two minutes, sending both to the top of the heat and into the quarters. Damien applauded Kerr in the shorebreak, but Josh had plenty of props to return. "Hardest battle of my whole career," laughed the Aussie afterward. "And I just spent all last year surfing the whole WQS."

SHOCKERS: After blowing up all week — including a jet-powered performance in the Red Bull Tow-At Championships — it was hard to see Kerr go down in the semis. But it was even tougher to see returning champ Cory Lopez not make the quarters. Literally, caught between two Gudauskas brothers, Pat and Dane, Lopez never found his previous day's form – or the freesurfing freakishness he displayed between heats. But don't feel bad for him. When last we saw Lopey, he was half-a-mile north of the Inlet, whipping in to yet another wedge, doing things the rest of us only dream of. And lucky for us, and Cory, with the success of this contest, we'll all get another shot to live it again in 2007.

2 – CJ Hobgood$5,000
3 – Asher Nolan$3,000
4 – Aaron Cormican$2,400

2 – Rebecca Woods$2,{{{200}}}
3 – Caroline Sarran$1,800
4 – Leilani Gryde$1,{{{300}}}All photos courtesy of Eastern Surf Magazine. for non-stop East Coast coverage, stay tuned to www.EasternSurfMagazine.com.