“When I woke up this morning, I just knew we were going to win.” – Timmy Reyes
Okay, so Timmy may have known what was coming at 6am, but by 7:45, everyone on the beach at Puerto Escondido knew it as well. That was when the West’s Tom Curren, Dane Reynolds, Pat O’Connell and Chris Ward took the water and started trading perfect zippering righthand Puerto barrels that erased any memory of the East Coast’s tentative and confused 1st quarter. The West Coast’s display left no doubt that, after three years of failure, this was finally the year that they were going to take their dreaded Right Coast rivals down.
The whole thing felt like it was over before it started. The West’s team boasted 7 (Curren, Machado, Beschen, Ward, Reyes, O’Connell, Sullivan) current or former WCT surfers to the East’s Coast’s 2 (Cory and Shea Lopez).
So maybe it wasn’t a fair fight, but who cares? The point is to watch great surfers in great waves and this year’s X-Games delivered on both. Where else in the world would you find Tom Curren’s poetry in motion tube stall, Pat O casually clearing his nose before disappearing into another wide open cave, Dane boosting alley oops 5 feet above cracking lips, Timmy slamming down razor sharp vert snaps, or Pancho disappearing for 5, no, 6 seconds on the best wave of the day.
And the East Coast? Well apart from from a couple decent rides from the Lopez brothers there was nothing. A big fat donut. How bad was it? So bad that East Coast coach Todd Kline was calling for a re-start at halftime. Actually, after that it got even worse. Last year’s MVP Jamie O’Brien, surfing for the East team again had a hard time finding waves that didn’t close out and his team’s overall point total was so low that the 4th quarter didn’t even matter. That’s right, the West was so far ahead that the East Coast’s total score failed to match the 82.30 points the West put up in 3 quarters.
The West’s victory lap in the bottom of the 4th verged on the absurd as Cory Lopez decided to buck the system and stay out surfing while the West extended their margin of victory. Every time Lopey caught a wave the East’s score would go down a couple more points – another X-Games first. After that it was all smiles and gold medals for the West while the East was just happy it was over.
The most stoked guy, though, had to be the master – Tom Curren. Today was his 43 birthday, he was on his first trip to Puerto, and it was his first time competing X-Games. “That was so fun,” he said at the medal ceremony. “We were in a nice rhythm and everyone was helping each other get waves. It was a great experience.”