Brad Gerlach has got to be stoked. For the second weekend in a row the Game went off big. Last Saturday it was pumping Steamer Lane, today it was firing Leo Carillo. Firing Leo Carrillo, really? Well combine gorgeous summer-like weather with the first pulsing south swell of the year and add Tom Curren to the mix and you get a pretty tasty souffl. The master put on quite a show today, the grace, the flow, the two-stage bottom turns. His two scoring rides: 8.5 and 8.25. He’s still got it folks.
But the real story of the day was the LA Arc Angels. The team many predicted would never win a Game killed it. They jumped out to a big lead over Ventura in the 1st quarter with Jordan Tappis and Brendan Hearne both looking sharper and more comfortable than they did in earlier Games. In the 2nd, they got more strong work from Alex Grey and Shaun Burrell and posted a solid 48.75 score at the half. Ventura meanwhile had a shocker. Tim Curran and company only managed a 19.75 in the 1st and a 21.25 in the 2nd for a weak 40.5 total. Except for Tom Curren in the top of the 2nd, they seemed out of sync in the conditions.
In the top of the 3rd, Ventura began mounting a comeback when Tim Curran ripped a wave for over a hundred yards – clearing a 30 yard section with a single floater – on his way to an 8.0. Hank Mills and Adam Virs backed him up with solid waves and the Pelicanos were taking flight. The Arc Angels answered back, however, by posting a huge 26.5 in the bottom of the third as Pascal Stansfield and Jim O’Brien got great head-high waves to increase LA’s lead and set them up for their first win. In the top of the 4th, TC linked together another beauty for an 8.25 and Kellen Ellison and Keoni Cuccia hooked into set waves off the rock for 7.5 and 7.0’s respectively. Jeremy Ryan, however, only found a 4.25 and VC was only up by 18.5 with LA still left to surf in the bottom of the 4th.
The surfers and coaches on LA’s bench could sense that their loss streak was about to end, but they tried to check their excitement and focus on the task at hand. Young ripper Alex Grey, who had been in perfect sync with this wave all four days, did the best air of the contest – a sick forehand grab with a stuck landing in the flats – on his 1st wave for a 7.0 while Bron Huessenstamm and Shaun Burrell narrowed VC’s margin with decent opening rides. Then the set of the week appeared – groomed, overhead, supremely rippable – and Shaun Burrell and Bron Huessenstamm went to town. Both surfers were bright spots in a series of tough LA losses both at home in Santa Cruz and it was fitting that their waves clinched the Arc Angels’ victory. Then the celebration really began as the new swell really kicked into gear and Alex Grey replaced his 7.0 with an 8.0 and then right before the final horn sliced a wave silly for a 9.25. Watch this kid – he’s coming up, quickly. The same could be said for the LA surf scene. The huge region’s been off the surf radar and in the wilderness for almost two decades. Yet, with the help of the Game and bright young stars like Grey and Burrell, the proud Angeleno surf tradition, which has produced the likes of Dora, Noll, Trent, Fain, Weber, Riddle, Sarlo, Robinson and Frohoff, will rise again.
LA – 103
VC – 93.75