HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Nail-biting finales between close friends in the Men’s Shortboard and Longboard divisions capped a thrilling day of competition at the Havaianas Pro in Huntington Beach, the fourth stop on the Professional Surfing Tour of America’s (PSTA) 2002 season.
In one of the most dramatic and entertaining Longboard finals in recent California pro surfing history, 2001 PSTA champion Josh Mohr thrilled his hometown Huntington Beach supporters with a last second victory over close friend Dodger Kremel and Newport Beach’s Geoff Moysa, who made PSTA history by being the first surfer to compete in the finals of both the Longboard and shortboard divisions.
Mohr started the final in typical Rambo “First Blood” fashion with a fluid combination of stretch-fives and progressive roundhouse cutbacks. But the 18-year-old Kremel, who considers Mohr one of his best friends and mentors, was not to be denied on his American flag board, pulling a variety of tricks including fin-first takeoffs and helicopters.
The lead shifted between Mohr, Kremel and Moysa several times within just a few minutes’ span leading up the final horn. While Mohr and Kremel drew hoots from their loyal supporters on the beach, Newport’s Moysa, who led with about five minutes remaining, became an instant favorite based on his stamina-testing run in both longboard and shortboard finals. But Kremel topped Moysa with a flawless fin-first followed up by a clean helicopter, taking the lead. With less than a minute remaining, Mohr and Moysa split a perfect A-frame peak which would decide the outcome.
Mohr’s performance on the right, including a helicopter of his own, was punctuated by a hilarious “cockroach” maneuver up onto the sand (lying on his back on the board with legs and arms flying), an ode to a challenge by PSTA announcer Mike Morgan. Mohr passed Moysa and Kremel to take the win.
“This is what a final is all about,” said an elated Mohr as he exited the water. “In the heats before the final, you’re trying to stay consistent, and you don’t want to do too many risky things because you still want to advance. But in the final, you just gotta do it. Geoff and I had just caught waves, and we were paddling back outside, chatting. We knew there was only a minute left, and that peak just came to us. We looked at each other, he’s a goofy-foot and I’m regular foot, so he went left and I went right, and we both got good waves.
“Dodger Kremel is a real good friend of mine,” Mohr continued, “and I can’t believe how good he surfed out there. I think he had the jitters out there but he’s still so young. He had the lead for a while and the crowd was cheering him on. I’m just stoked for everyone. It was a great day.”
The Men’s Shortboard final pitted Huntington Beach hometown boys Jeff Deffenbaugh and Micah Byrne against Seal Beach’s Ryan Simmons and Newport ironman Geoff Moysa, who had just exited the water after placing second in the longboard final. A long lull started things off, but by mid-heat the final became a two-horse race between close friends Simmons and Deffenbaugh, who once roomed together for a year. The exchange of the final came when Deffenbaugh ripped a decent left to score a 5.7. Simmons, knowing he was within percentage points of his ex-roommate, took off on the left following Deffenbaugh’s wave and kicked his backside attack into overdrive, driving a bottom turn several yards and vaulting into a long floater to register a 6.5, which ended up being the difference.
“It went back and forth between me and Jeff at the end, and that’s how you want it to be,” said Simmons. “I saw him get the left, and I figured I could get the one right after that and one-up him a bit, and I did, so I’m stoked.”
Simmons pocketed the $3,500 first prize purse, and just as valuable, a seed into the Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach in Hawai’i, an ASP World Qualifying Series event in late October.
Less dramatic but equally compelling was the Women’s Shortboard final, which saw 2001 PSTA champion Julia Christian from Carlsbad, CA and current PSTA points leader Jodie Nelson of Seal Beach take on 15-year-old sensation Erica Hosseini of Newport Beach and Australia’s Prue Jeffries, who was ranked #14 on the ASP’s World Championship Tour in 2001, but lost her elite ranking this year due to multiple injuries.
The goofy-footed Jeffries, in preparation for the US Open starting next week at Huntington Pier, employed her strong backside attack on several rights to easily distance herself from nearest rival Christian and the rest of the field to take the win. “I’m really happy to put it together here in Huntington to get a good result leading up to the US Open next week,” said Jeffries, who celebrated her 30th birthday just a few days ago. “It’s great to see the young girls getting the experience it takes to travel the world, because that’s where the sport starts.”
Winning the Futures Performance Fin Systems Juniors division and $250 was Kory LaPoint, 15, of Huntington Beach, who pocketed $250. Kory managed to surpass Matt Perez and fellow Huntington Beach grom phenoms Steven Janosz and Marty Weinstein.
Retaining the Paul Mitchell Black Jerseys signifying the 2002 PSTA points leaders in their respective divisions were Ryan Simmons, Josh Mohr and Jodie Nelson. The next PSTA event will be held in Morro Bay Sept. 19-22.
For complete results of the Havaianas Pro, go to http://www.prosurfingtour.com The Havaianas Pro will be televised as two separate half-hour shows (Men’s Shortboard plus Women’s and Longboard) on the Outdoor Life Network airing on September 5. Check your local TV listings for exact times, or go to http://www.olntv.com.
Official event product sponsors include the new Subaru Baja, Paul Mitchell Salon Haircare, Balance Bar, Havaianas, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (1-800-USA-RAIL), Yakima Racks, Venus Swimwear Model Search, Jet Blue Airlines, and Outdoor Life Network. Industry sponsors include Surf One, Mountain High Resort, Sticky Bumps, Transworld Surf Magazine, Cut 4 Media, Sessions, Future Fins, Mandero Sports Products, Poor Boy, Peak Sunscreen, and Surf Quest Media.
For complete information on the Havaianas Pro and the 2002 PSTA season, go to http://www.prosurfingtour.com
Havaianas Pro Huntington Beach Final Results
- 1. Ryan Simmons 17.50
- 2. Jeff Deffenbaugh 17.20
- 3. Micah Byrne 13.20
- 4. Geoff Moysa 11.50
- 1. Josh Mohr 21.90
- 2. Geoff Moysa 18.40
- 3. Dodger Kremel 17.10
- 4. Steve Newton 13.25
- 1. Prue Jeffries 15.90
- 2. Julia Christian 14.10
- 3. Jodie Nelson 10.85
- 4. Erica Hosseini 10.80
Futures Fins Systems Junior Pro
- 1. Kory LaPoint 15.75
- 2. Marty Weinstein 12.40
- 3. Matt Perez 8.85
- 4. Steven Janosz 8.40