On the following morning in triple overhead hurricane surf, Rhode Island's Ana Barend took off on one of the biggest and nastiest waves of the entire event during the first 5 minutes of her Ladies Final. It was at least three times her size and began to suck sand off the bottom as soon as she took the elevator drop and made the bottom turn.
One wave out of 50 was makeable and this one was one of them. A dry barrel formed in front of her as she disappeared into the "Green Room" for three or four seconds. Coming out on a rare clean face, she ripped it off the top and pulled off a huge spray. The wave continued to hold until she kicked out in the inside shore break.
For this feat, the panel of professional ASP judges gave her the only perfect score of the contest. All five judges gave her the highest score possible....10's across the board. Not only did it earn her a 3rd East Coast title out of the last four years (she finished 2nd last year), she was awarded the "Hottest Wave of the Contest" trophy as well. This rare feat blew away all of the scoring waves from both men and women at the contest. In this year's final she took out top rated Terry Green of North Carolina for the title.
So much for the lack of attitude and commitment needed to be a winner!
Later that day she repeated that unbelievable performance with another resounding victory in the Women's Long board Final. She found yet another amazing barrel and pulled through it for the win. This time it was against New York's Kim Romagnesi, who had previously beaten her in the semi-finals.
This was just one item in a contest that featured the wrath of Hurricane Igor in all of its' power. The eye of the hurricane brushed by the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the first and second days of the scheduled competition. For the first time in the history of the event the surf was too dangerous to go out in and the contest was put on hold. ESA officials finally began running it on the third day with double beaches. Because of the delay, two day's worth of heats had to be run together with one group surfing on the north end of the area and one group on the south end.
The storm surf that raged throughout the entire adult event caused numerous withdrawals and no-shows. This was the first time that contestants had come so far to surf in the finals and wanted refunds, refusing to paddle out in the hazardous conditions. Surfboards snapped in half like toothpicks in the vicious shore break and the trashcans were full of broken boards by the end of the each contest day. Even the local veteran surfers noted that they had never seen the lighthouse breaking this hard and powerful in many years.
Considering the difficulty factor, South New England District surfers made an admirable showing. Chuck Barend found some elusive left tubes to advance through 6 rounds and into the Senior Men's Short board Division Final. With one outstanding triple overhead barrel before he was caught in the shore break rip, Chuck took the 3rd place trophy home to Rhode Island. The winner of the event was Florida's Jason Motes followed by ESA All-Star Coach, Pat Emery of New Jersey.
Kitty Pechet paddled out during the height of the hurricane swell to take a respectable 5th place in the Grand Legends Short Board Final, getting several long rides in the "champagne" sections on the inside shore break.
Peter Pan spent the entire final heat looking for one or two inside walls to connect into, and managed to find one solid left off the third groin at the lighthouse in the final minutes. This was enough to give him the title in the Greg Noll East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame Final over Florida's Chummer McCraniels.
The entire Southern New England team must be complimented for just paddling out in the chaos. Ron Belanger did his best in both the long and short board Senior Men's events. Jose Galvez also managed to get out and nail a couple of big close-outs in the Senior Men's short board final. Westerly's Jarrett Parker advanced to the quarterfinals in the Masters Short board division. John Basile was South New England's only Men's Division competitor and he did an admirable job of staying in the contest in the monster surf for several rounds before being bounced out of the contest.
Sara Parker charged into some big sections to advance to the Women's Short board semi-finals. She came very close to advancing to the final despite being caught on the inside and pounded by dozens of huge shore pound closeouts halfway through the heat.
In the Youth events, Cob Ingalls made a valiant effort in the Boys Division, before getting knocked out in the quarterfinals. Courtney Sutherland advanced to the Junior Women's quarterfinal before losing out to the hard breaking shore pound.