Gabe Kling made his way to the Quarterfinals of Vans Pier Classic competition today.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Saturday, March 31, 2012) ? The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Vans Pier Classic and Vans Pro Junior presented by Jack?s Surfboards and hydrated by Vitaminwater saw competition continue in pumping six-to-eight foot waves and the event?s top surfers put in some standout performances to decide the event?s Quarterfinalists.
Hank Gaskell (Hana, HI), 25, set the pace for an action packed day of competition, driving through a barrel on the first wave of the first heat of the day to take an 8-point ride and backed the score up with an 8.60 for several powerful turns to take the highest heat-total of men?s competition, 16.60, out of 20.
?This is the best Huntington I?ve ever seen,? Gaskell said. ?These morning conditions are all-time. It?s really rippable and there are a couple of little pockets and barrels and I?m just stoked to have found a couple of good ones.?
Gaskell, a former finalist at the Vans Pier Classic, has found success in the tricky lineup over the years and was obviously comfortable in the firing surf on offer this morning.
?I?ve done okay here at Huntington,? Gaskell said. ?I won the Pro Junior here when I was 17 or 18 and I?ve been coming here for a long time. It?s usually not my favorite wave and when the waves are smaller I struggle, but when the conditions are good like this it?s really fun out there.?
Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 20, got off to a quick start in his heat with fast, committed surfing on his backhand, taking an 8.17 for his opening ride. The explosive goofy-footer eventually turned to his forehand to post a backup score of 7.77 to contribute to his dominant Round of 32 heat victory.
?It?s bigger than yesterday, so it?s kind of sweeping rights, but there are the lefts too,? Young said. ?You could easily get lost out there, but my goal was to catch a couple of rights and not end up all the way down and it worked out. I got a couple of good scores right away.?
Young, current No. 50 on the men?s ASP World Ranking, is hoping to maintain his momentum on the final day of competition and made his intentions of a victory clear at this year?s Vans Pier Classic.
?It?s always good to make heats,? Young said. ?I?m not really thinking about points in this event to help qualify, but it?d be really nice to get a win out here.?
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 31, a finalist in last year?s Vans Pier Classic, relied on forehand power-surfing to post the day?s highest single-wave score of 8.83 en route to one of the event?s highest heat-totals, 16.50 out of 20, and hopes the strong south-swell on offer holds for the final day of competition.
?I don?t know if it was just me or too early in the morning, but I fell on a few good waves earlier today,? Kling said. ?I was going to switch my board, but I?m glad I didn?t, it felt good out there. That one wave (the 8.83) was perfect, I didn?t have to do much. I hope the wind doesn?t batter it too much and I think there are still going to be some fun waves tomorrow.?
Cristobal De Col (PER), 18, has been quietly powering through heats in both the Vans Pier Classic and Vans Pro Junior and is one of only two surfers remaining in both the Men?s and ASP Pro Junior divisions.
?I?m happy to be surfing a lot and be in the water,? De Col said. ?It?s what it?s all about and it?s fun. Hopefully I?ll be doing a lot of surfing tomorrow and I?ll need to rest up. There is a lot of current right now, so tomorrow I?m going to try and just relax and get in rhythm with the waves.?
Vans Pier Classic and Vans Pro Junior presented by Jack?s Surfboards and hydrated by Vitaminwater competition will return at 8am tomorrow morning and crown champions by day?s end.
Surfline, official forecasters for the 2012 Vans Pier Classic, are calling for the solid southwest swell to hold for the final day of competition while a new northwest swell is expected to fill in throughout the day, providing surf in the six-to-10 foot range.