The Quiksilver Pro New York Trials, presented by Unsound, has been won by Florida's Asher Nolan, 32, from Jacksonville. Whatever secrets the Atlantic has in mind for the Quik Pro later this week, they've yet to be revealed and Sunday's event was held in mostly gutless, two-foot onshore dribble. But this wasn't a contest anyone was going through the motions for, with $11,500 and a slot in the main event on the line.
Every heat of the 16-man field (international Quik riders and selected East Coast all stars) was close. North Carolina's Fisher Heverly missed advancing by .03. France's Maxine Huscenot blasted a next level backside air and recent ASP tour comeback kid, Travis Logie, went down to a virtually unknown East Coaster in the semis.
The four scrappers who found the diamonds in the New York rough to were Nolan, fellow Floridian Jeremy Johnston (who took out Logie), Hawaii's Keanu Asing, and Garrett Parkes, of Australia. An easterly peak that had not been a factor in the earlier rounds popped up in the final, elevating the ordeal from expert groveling to smoot surfing.
"I just went down the beach a little bit to get away from those frothers," said Nolan, "It lined up a little bit, actually gave me a little lip to hit. At that point, I didn't have any scores yet, so I didn't want to over-surf it or get to crazy. I guess they liked it."
Nolan was a top junior in the '90s, when Florida became an unlikely breeding ground for world champs and top 16 surfers. He was considered on par with current World Tour surfer, Gabe Kling, but injuries hampered his entire career. Having a family and not wanting to become an aging pro, he took a marketing job with Hurley. Contests are no longer a priority, which makes his trialist wildcard slot that much sweeter.
Hurricane Katia, still well east of the Bahamas, with winds over 100 mph, is expected to start sending three to four-foot waves by Tuesday with much bigger swell expected later in the week.