The Bud Light Lime Labor Day Cup held at Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C. is officially a wrap. Reporting to you from my home in Kill Devil Hills, just the next township north, I am going to have to say this was one of the best Bud Light Lime Surf Series events in the eyes of pro competitors and spectators alike.
With Bud Light Lime hand selecting these world-class athletes, they put an entirely new twist on competitive surfing by encouraging a level of fun that just doesn't happen in any other surfing competition.
With deliciously catered eats, available for both breakfast and lunch, generous flow of the sponsor's golden product, a very welcome guest appearance by the Mauli Ola Foundation boys, cornhole in the mix, noon starts for proper tide utilization (as well as hangover reevaluations), all topped off with nightly bar crawls with safe transportation provided, this event was more of a tribal gathering of friends and family than a cutthroat competition!
With this being shared one must admit, we all gathered to compete, and so compete we did...
Mother Atlantic nearly provided us her sacrificial child, Tropical Storm Leslie with the forecast tickling our swell window, but fell shy by less than 24 hours of our final day of competition. However, Jennette's Pier proved to be the saving grace, offering up a little sandbar that literally resembled a two-to-three-foot high tide Lowers with highly contestable lines for day two and three.
Benji made the call. The contest was a go with a subtle modification of sorts in our competitive equipment...
With bragging rights on the line, as well as a $5000 first place check for the men and $2200 for the ladies, some of the Day 1 scores would prove to be the saving grace for a select few, advancing them into further rounds leaving others hunting down a two-wave high score total in just one heat alone. Two of the men's competitors, Virginia Beach's Michael Dunphy and Florida Gator Jeremy Johnston, were rosted by all who gathered for going very much against the Day 1 carefree grain by trying to up their scores on shortboard equipment, and immediately lost "crowd favorite" status.
The surf came up as did the competitive performances, leaving some athletes benched in the beer garden selecting a mate for Day 3's cornhole tournament.
Highlights included a perfect 10 scored by Bud Light Lime Surf Series standout Blake Jones. Roomies Gabe Kling and Jones took overall champion and runner up positions respectively on the podium. Kling humbled the very petite 'generation next' finalists by taking the win, with a heat total in the excellent range of 18.33.
"It was such a fun week, I haven't been on the Outer Banks in a while and it was great to be back. The waves were OK, but the contest was really relaxed and made for such a fun weekend. I played more cornhole than I have ever in my life! Bud Light Lime events are the best, had so much fun and won some much needed diaper dollars."
A very humble Aaron Cormican received the Hurley Pro bud Light Lime Expression Session Wildcard slot.Jones' perfect 10 landed him the Fin-S "Sickest Maneuver" of the men's finals as well as an additional $500 and a sweet beer stein for the "Highest Single Wave Score." Leah Dawson took the "Hot Pants Victory Dance" and Torrey Meister the Best Mustache award. Local boys Mikey Powell took the trials victory, and Lucas Rodgers won the Expression Session, earning them a cool $500 a piece.
Miss Dawson also pocketed an additional $250 for her "Women's Outstanding Performance" in the soft-top round as Florida's Jensen Calloway took men's honors.
My personal favorite award was Carlsbad's "Tricky Ricky" Whitlock and Maui's Cheyne Magnusson taking the $500 cornhole purse, upsetting the "Dream Team" consisting of "Benny B" Bourgeois and Jeremy Saukel.
"Benji and those guys make it fun for everybody. The format makes it stressful to know who's getting what scores but there're some Bud Lights there to calm you down. I just hope to get invited again," said Jones.2012 Bud Light Lime Surf Series Labor Day Cup Top 15 results
1. Gabe Kling $5,000
2. Blake Jones $3,500
3. Michael Dunphy $2,500
4. Dylan Goodale $1,500
5. Mike Powell $650
6. Asher Nolan $650
7. Aaron Cormican $650
8. Damien Fahrenfort $650
9. Jensen Callaway $200
10.Jeremy Johnston $200
11. Sam Hammer $200
12. Benji Weatherley $200
13. Ben "Benny B" Bourgeois $200
14. Jesse Hines $200
15. Dege O'Connell $200
Womens Results 1. Leah Dawson $2200
2. Jenna Balester $1200
3. Keala Kennelly $700
4. Amy Nichol