NEWPORT BEACH, California (Tuesday, September 16, 2008) - The Oakley Newport Beach Pro completed the first two rounds of competition today in peaky two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf. The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star event is the seventh of nine held in North America, with each contest offering ratings points towards qualification for the ASP World Tour.
The Oakley Newport Beach Pro is the second of three stops on the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series, the other events being the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro held last April and the upcoming O'Neill Cold Water Classic taking place next month in Santa Cruz, California. The miniseries running in conjunction with the ASP WQS is the only ASP sanctioned miniseries held in North America, offering an additional prize purse to the series winner.
Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, led the charge this afternoon, earning the day's highest scores. Perillo punted a massive frontside air on a closeout section at 56th street today, earning the day's highest single wave score of a 9.50 out of a possible 10. The regular-footer combined the high score with a 7.67 out of a possible 10 for the highest heat total of 17.17 out of a possible 20 point score.
"That right just wedged up," Perillo said. "The wind is perfect for airs. There is a pretty stiff south wind and there are a few good rights. I just wanted to get a good right in the beginning and I got one."
Perillo is fresh off of a second-place finish at the Vans El Ponto Loco and is carrying the confidence earned at the last ASP WQS 2-Star event in Carlsbad to the Oakley Newport Beach Pro.
"I feel way more confident going into the event after finishing second at Ponto," Perillo said. "Doing well at Ponto helped a lot. I feel good in this event because of that result."
Perillo is currently rated eighth on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series and is hoping he can carry his standout surfing into the Oakley Pro Junior.
"I'm just going to try hard and see if I can do well in junior's too," Perillo said. "I haven't done well in junior's yet this year and I think I have a good chance. I'm just going to surf and have fun."
Conner Coffin (Santa Barbara, CA), 15, earned his first career ASP WQS heat victory today when he entered Round 2 as a wildcard. The young surfer posted the day's second highest heat total of 16.00 out of a possible 20 point score to earn the win.
"I'm so stoked," Coffin said. "I actually came down here today and didn't even think I was going to get into the contest. I was the 27th alternate on the heat draw, so I just came down to surf and my friend told me I was the second alternate. I just came down here to get some waves and try out a new board."
Coffin used the tricky conditions on offer this afternoon to his advantage by blasting explosive turns on the oncoming sections.
"I've never made a 'QS heat and I've never had a good session in Newport," Coffin said. "It's a lot better than it looks. It's kind of walled, but if you get the right ones, there's a few good sections out there."
Matt Meola (Kuau, HI), 19, was a standout in today's early rounds. Meola boosted a plethora of airs and posted some of the day's highest scores while claiming two heat victories. The rampy peaks on offer in Newport Beach today fit the young Hawaiian's progressive style.
"I always try to do turns and I'm not good at them," Meola said. "I figured I'd just go out there and do airs in my last couple of contests and it seems to be working so far."
Meola was happy to advance through the first two rounds of competition today in the increasing swell.
"I'm stoked because I surfed last night and it was way worse than this," Meola said. "I got to go out and surf early and get through a couple heats."
Austin Smith-Ford (Santa Cruz, CA), 20, donated a standout performance on the punchy Newport beachbreak today. The Santa Cruz native sat further north than his fellow competitors and his strategy paid off. Smith-Ford advanced into the Round of 96.
"I just sat wider than everyone else," Smith-Ford said. "It looked like there were a lot of waves down there. I just sat down there and got lucky. I had a couple of little waves with an open face. I didn't really think I was getting high scores, but I guess the other guys weren't getting high scores and I guess the judges liked it."
Smith-Ford competes in the North America Pro Junior series as well and has been using the early rounds of the ASP WQS contests as a warm up for his junior heats.
"I've been doing both divisions in every contest," Smith-Ford said. "Somehow it seems like the junior's is almost harder, but its good experience to surf with the older guys."
Tomorrow's action will see the completion of the third round of the Oakley Newport Beach Pro as well as Round 1 of the Oakley Pro Junior.
For all of the live action log on to www.newportbeachpro.com
Oakley Newport Beach Pro Results:
Round of 144: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Joey Head (USA) 11.40, Jonathan Warren (USA) 10.43, Micah Mullen (USA) 9.16, Josh Loya (USA) 8.23
Heat 2: Matt Meola (HAW) 13.50, Ryan Burch (USA) 12.10, Danny Hart (USA) 5.57, Matt Turner (USA) 2.87
Heat 3: Luke Davis (USA) 13.50, David Giddings (USA) 8.64, Ryah Arthur (USA) 7.56, Frank Chenault (USA) 2.97
Heat 4: Albee Layer (HAW) 13.10, Brent Barley (USA) 10.67, Chad Jackson (HAW) 8.90, David Post (USA) 5.17
Heat 5: Dane Zaun (USA) 13.00, Manuel Selman (CHL) 12.33, Chase Newsom (USA) 8.90, Gianfranco Gasparro (ITA) 2.20
Heat 6: Jamie Parkhurst (USA) 10.00, Nick Skawinski (USA) 9.17, Darren Muschett (PRI) 8.00, Jason Billings (USA) 6.50
Heat 7: Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.17, Andrew Bennett (USA) 9.73, Isaac Stant (HAW) 9.67, Rico Jimenez (HAW) 7.37
Heat 8: Adam Lambert (USA) 11.34, Willie Safreed (USA) 6.17, Greg Kaplan (USA) 4.96, Ronny Nelson (USA) 4.80
Round of 128: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Dillon Perillo (USA) 17.17, Quinn McCrystal (USA) 12.07, Michael Bailey (USA) 7.43, Joey Head (USA)4.70
Heat 2: Jason Harris (USA) 11.00, Colin Schildhauer (USA) 10.94, Matt Myers (USA) 10.07, Jonathan Warren (USA) 4.60
Heat 3: Matt Meola (HAW) 13.50, Scott Posner (USA) 11.00, Ian Ekberg (USA) 9.10, Morgan Faulkner (HAW) 8.00
Heat 4: Justin Swartz (USA) 13.50, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 10.57, Dustin Willman (USA) 8.50, Ryan Burch (USA) 6.43
Heat 5: Danny Estes (USA) 12.67, Chris Abad (USA) 12.27, Luke Davis (USA) 9.40, Dennis Rizzo (USA) 9.06
Heat 6: Macy Mullen (HAW) 11.67, Jensen Callaway (USA) 9.77, Matt Pagan (USA) 8.67, David Giddings (USA) 6.76
Heat 7: Albee Layer (HAW) 13.10, Danny Fuller (HAW) 8.67, Gabe Garcia (USA) 8.17, Duran Barr (USA) 6.77
Heat 8: Brett Barley (USA) 10.93, Tommy Bursian (PRI) 8.10, Taylor Thorne (USA) 7.00, Shane Murray (USA) 6.27
Heat 9: Victor Done (USA) 13.66, Dane Zaun (USA) 8.70, Hunter Heverly (USA) 5.40, Andres Flores (DOM) 4.93
Heat 10: Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 14.94, Andrew Gesler (USA) 10.93, Kyle Kennelly (USA) 9.76, Manuel Selman (CHL) 12.33
Heat 11: Sean Hayes (USA) 11.34, Leif Engstrom (USA) 9.57, Heath Walker (AUS) 9.00, Jamie Parkhurst (USA) 5.20
Heat 12: Eddie Lester (USA) 10.17, Nick Rupp 6.14, Jared Thorne (USA) 6.04, Nick Skawinski (USA) 5.97
Heat 13: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.00, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 15.16, Tom Rezvan (USA) 9.74, Michael Dunphy (USA) 6.50
Heat 14: Evan Valiere (HAW) 10.66, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 6.20, Riley Metcalf (USA) 6.17, Andrew Bennett (USA) 5.74
Heat 15: Andrew Doheny (USA) 10.67, Adam Lambert (USA) 7.90, Thomas Petriken (USA) 5.93, Jake Davi (USA) 3.56
Heat 16: Phillip Goold (USA) 10.53, Matt Johnson (USA) 10.44, Ford Archbold (USA) 10.00, Willie Safreed (USA) 7.47