Michael February (ZAF), 19, hot in August, at the ASP 6-Star Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia/USA (Tuesday, August 21, 2012) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans returned to 1st Street Jetty for the second consecutive day and saw an array of impressive performances from the international field despite challenging one-to-two foot surf on offer to complete Round 1.
The Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans kicked off yesterday with Pro Junior action and continued to capitalize on the swell on offer throughout the day to complete the men’s opening round.
Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI), 22, current No. 30 on the ASP World Ranking, forgot to enter Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans by the deadline, but capitalized on his ASP Wildcard slot today. The powerful Hawaiian looked lively in the small conditions and belted the round’s top scores of a 9.00 while amassing a 16.23 out of 20 heat total.
“It’s so small out there, but I just tried to surf as fast as I could and I’ve got a good board under my feet,” Larsen said. “I was actually surprised that they gave me a 9, but it felt like a little nugget of a wave for what was out there. I actually forgot to enter this contest and ended up applying for an ASP wildcard, so I’m stoked to get through that first heat and hopefully I can keep going.”
Cahill Bell-Warren (Victoria, AUS), 23, wasted little time in his opening heat today and went on to clinch some of the day’s highest scores. Bell-Warren took out an 8.00 single-wave score as well as a 15.77 out of 20 heat total to solidify his Round 1 win.
“I really like Virginia Beach even though the waves can be tough,” Bell-Warren said. “In that heat I realized there wasn’t really a lot happening so I knew I had to capitalize on whatever kind of opportunity I had. I got a couple of good set waves, got some good connections and got the job done.”
Cahill, who hails from Victoria’s chilly pointbreak of Bells Beach, looked surprisingly at home in Virginia’s small warm-water beachbreak conditions and attributes his refined small wave equipment to his success.
“It’s pretty funny, because this is about as far from Victoria as you can get,” Bell-Warren said. “The water is way warmer than we ever get and I feel quite uncomfortable surfing in board shorts, but I’ve got a really good groveler that I’ve kind of honed at home and it feels good to be warm and get good waves. I’ve been working really hard with my shaper and I’ve been getting the right equipment. I’m so thankful that I’ve got that under my feet.”
Jeffrey Lukasik (San Clemente, CA), 23, built momentum in his heat after a strong opening ride and linked three solid turns on his next ride to post an 8.50 in his convincing opening round victory.
“It was just sick to start off the heat with a decent wave because I was really nervous before because it was so slow,” Lukasik said. “It could go either way if someone gets a good wave that lines up. I got that first one and it took a bit of pressure off and that second one lined up pretty well.”
Lukasik has recently strung together a series of solid results in the Latin American ASP events and his success has rekindled his competitive spirits.
“It’s nice to make a little bit of money and help pay my Dad back for some of the debt that I’ve gone in to with him. It felt good to get a few results down in Latin America and it got me fired up to do a few more events.”
Ian Crane (San Clemente, CA), 19, was also impressive in the small conditions today and matched Bell-Warren’s single-wave score of an 8.00 when he linked several powerful turns on a clean righthander.
“It felt good to get that 8,” Crane said. “I couldn’t really tell from watching the waves how small it actually is out there. When I got out there it’s actually smaller than it looks from the beach. On that one good wave, I just was able to take off and do a couple of turns to the beach.”
Crane’s equipment was late to arrive on his trip back from Europe and the trying situation contributed to his early exit from the Coastal Edge ECSC Vans Pro Junior. Crane’s boards arrived early this morning and the return to his regular craft assisted in his success today.
“The first round is always really stressful,” Crane said. “It’s such a relief to get though that Round 1 and in to the money round. Yesterday, my boards didn’t show up so I was riding my friend’s board and we were trading off in the contest and I ended up losing in the second round. I finally got my boards and I felt better, so I really wanted to get through that heat.”
Michael February (Capetown, ZAF), 19, a standout at last year’s Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans, returned to form and the big South African destroyed the small conditions seamlessly to take a Round 1 heat victory.
“Being a bigger guy, I didn’t expect to do that well in smaller waves, but I was here last year and got an idea of what boards I needed to ride and what to expect,” February said. “I’m happy though and my board feels good under my feet.”
February is one up-and-comer who is building momentum on the global stage and the South African standout hopes a big result in Virginia Beach will build his seed for his 2013 ASP campaign.
“These 6-Star events are a great opportunity to build your seed for next season,” February said. “There aren’t as many in the back half of the year and I’m glad to get some points here, they help a lot.”
The Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans holds a waiting period from August 20 through 26 and is webcast LIVE via www.vans.com/ecsc. Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30am local time for a possible 8am start.