Split Decision

posted by / News / October 23, 2008

One gnarly nor’easter. A bunch of shuffled sandbars. And a near eviction from the rental house-turned-judges stand. There was lot of mixed up energy in Rodanthe for Tuesday’s Wave Riding Vehicles “Battle of the Banks” team competition. And no wonder. This place is home to few clear lines. A place where, on a good swell, VB surfers outnumber locals two-to-one. And where nearly every “Outer Banker” screaming “go back to Virginia” graduated from high school north of the border. So no wonder this first-ever duel for bragging rights left some confusion as to who can brag most.

While VB beat NC in terms of points, flexing a deeper bench over four rounds to come out 1147 points to 1089, the big individual prizes went to two locals: freshly crowned Free Wave Challenge champ Jesse Hines took Hurley’s Glory Hole award and $500 for double-barrel drainer; and 36-year-old pitbull and former US Masters Champ, Pat McManus, who out-pitted and out-played a stacked final that featured heavyhitting homeboys Hines and Noah Snyder, plus former ASP East Champ Jason Borte and regular S-Turns standouts Andrew Meyer and Lucas Rodgers.

So who won? VB. Flat-out. After all, this was a team comp based on cumulative points. In fact, they already took home the cup — and deservedly so. But anyone who’s made that two-hour drive north knows no matter how many good ones you got, it’s hard to go home with the image of someone else getting one better. And that’s the kind of split decision that ensures this rivalry won’t clear-up anytime soon. Still, there were a few moments of consensus: everyone agreed it was a legendary day of southern gentleman dueling some of the heaviest barrels ever in East Coast competition. That both sides put in valiant performances filled with stellar tube rides and death-defying closeouts. And that both sides can’t wait for a rematch. Or as Pat said shortly after the comp: “I’d clear my schedule to do it again.”

SURFING: So how do you think it all went?

PAT MCMANUS: It went great, except that we lost [laughs]. But I think the odds were sort of stacked against us because of the depth of their team. You just look at the population: they’ve got so many guys up there, we’re drawing from a smaller field. And they just had that one really good heat where they got up {{{100}}} points. But our guys all put in solid performances we can be proud of.

Well, you guys made up almost 50 points in the final alone, so that was a good heat. On the other hand, I think most people expected if anyone from the Banks won it would be Noah or Jesse. Were you surprised that you were even in there — much less took the title?

Well, I didn’t even realize there was going to be a winner in the final. So, I wasn’t considering that. Yes, I was hoping to be [in there]. But out there, I was thinking: “Let’s be serious, these guys are probably gonna beat me, so let’s get Jesse and Noah the waves they need so maybe can pull something out.”

What’s funny is, when you look at your careers, you’ve got a better amateur contest sheet. And you did bring a tangible level of competition and strategy. Even the VB guys were saying you “wanted it” the most. And not only did you charge a lot of waves, you kept their guys off some key potential scores.

There’s a little difference there. I’m not in the magazines or anything. I don’t know, for some reason these guys think I’m a hassler [laughs], but going out there I don’t think we were tying to make it too competitive. I was just like, “Get some middle of the road waves then sit down next to Lucas – who was their double whammy guy — and compete for whatever comes through.” But in the end I don’t think it made much of a difference. It’s just lucky for me there were waves. That there were lefts. That there were tubes. And that there were good ones.

For full coverage and photos from the First Annual WRV Battle of the Banks — plus heaps of Hatteras action courtesy Hurricane Kyle and the ESA Easterns —check the next issue of Eastern Surf Magazine, in surf shops mid-November.


Pat McManus

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