SEBASTIAN INLET - Last Year’s Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24, claimed the 2009 ASP WQS 4-Star O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro presented by Ron Jon title today over fellow finalists, Aaron Cormican (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 26, Blake Jones (Melbourne, FL), 20, and Cory Lopez (Laguna Niguel, CA), 31, in peaky two-to-four foot (1 metre) conditions. Curran’s victory at the ASP WQS season opener continues his reign atop the ASP WQS ratings.
The O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro is the first event of the 2009 ASP WQS season, with all of the series’ competitors striving to earn points towards qualification for the prestigious ASP World Tour the following year.
Curran jumped out to an early lead in the Final by issuing several beyond-vertical backhand snaps on the lefthanders down the beach at Sebastian Inlet. The quiet regular-footer’s backside performance earned him a heat total of 15.43 out of 20, which proved to be an unattainable score for his fellow competitors.
Cormican, who was a local standout throughout the event, blasted huge airs on the way to his Final berth. The Floridian came close to taking out this year’s event champion, Curran, with an amazing performance in the Final, but fell just short with a last-minute attempt and finished second overall.
Jones blasted the event’s highest single wave score of a near-perfect 9.67 out of 10 by punting a huge frontside air reverse in his Semifinals heat, which secured his first ASP WQS Final appearance in front of his home crowd. The talented local surfer also ousted current ASP World Tour campaigner Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 28, and ASP WQS standout Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 23, on the way to his third place finish.
Lopez, who finished fourth overall, earned the event’s highest heat total of an impressive 16.00 out of 20 in his Semifinals heat and started his Final with a solid opening score, but Lopez could not find a backup score to take out Curran in the Final for a victory.
“Nathaniel is a such a great surfer, but I would have loved to see Aaron win,” Lopez said. “This would have been a huge win for him and he’s a Florida boy as well, so I would have liked to keep the title in the state. I got a good wave to start and I just couldn’t find another one, but it’s always good to be in the Final and the opportunity to win was there, but I just couldn’t pull it out at the end.”
2009 O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro pres. by Ron Jon Results:
1- Nathaniel Curran (USA) 15.43
2- Aaron Cormican (USA) 15.07
3- Blake Jones (USA) 11.80
4- Cory Lopez (USA) 10.60