The answer is October 1, 2011.
The question, which a lot of people were probably asking, is:
"When was the last time an East Coaster won an ASP event?"
It's a bit of a moot point now as Cody Thompson pulled off a win at the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico yesterday.
Of course, the query was quickly followed by the disclaimer, "Well, you know, besides for Kelly ...." who most consider a citizen of the world.
So, yes. On October 1 of 2011, CJ Hobgood beat Nate Yeomans at the Billabong Azores Islands Pro. But there's been another question going around the East Coast the past few years. And that one was who would be the next Right Sider to step up and make a real run for the ASP World Tour? The Hobgoods and Slater can only hold it down for so long (although they're all proving insane longevity.) In fact, CJ Hobgood made the quarterfinals Wednesday at Jobos Beach.
Names like Evan Geiselman and Cam Richards have been thrown around -- Dylan Graves and Brian Toth if you count Puerto Rico as East Coast. Maybe you'd toss Brett Barley, Balaram Stack, Nils Schweizer or Evan Thompson in the mix.
No one has really mentioned older Thompson brother Cody. But that will change after yesterday, when he stomped out most of the best surfers in North America. He came from behind to beat Andrew Doheny, Geiselman and Graves in three to five-foot, somewhat erratic swell. And if winning this contest says anything about a surfer, it says he can win in any condition.
"The forecast was actually an easy one and looking back at my updates, you can see that the forecast remained on track from the beginning. I've spent a decent amount of time down in Puerto Rico over the past few winters so I had a good idea of what a swell like this would look like at Jobos," said Surfline's Lead Atlantic forecaster Kurt Korte.
"The major forecasting issue was how big the surf would get Monday afternoon and Tuesday as well as how much swell would linger into Wednesday. Obviously the low-pressure system that set up the swell was a strong one. Satellite observations confirmed 50 to 60-knot winds off the New Jersey coastline. This set up the quickly building Northwest/North-Northwest swell on Monday and the solid surf on Tuesday."
The Rip Curl Pro in Puerto Rico started out in dismal surf for the early rounds. Then that blizzard went off the East Coast and sent a major swell down to the Caribbean. It got pretty wooly for the Round of 64. The swell and wind dropped for yesterday's final rounds, delivering the best waves of the event.
Cody Thompson noticed that with the right boost, the wind would be perfect for his air game. He got off a buttery alley-oop in the quarterfinals for the single highest wave score of the event. He then dusted off a slew of surf stars including Asher Nolan, Chris Ward and Cory Lopez en route to the final. With under a minute to go, he found the clean-faced right for two dramatic turns that elevated him over Doheny.
"Ever since they announced they were going to have this event at Jobos, I knew it was going to be an amazing event," Thompson said in the press release, "I've been coming down here for years and I was stoked to be a part of this event. To get this win here, I'm stoked and we'll just take it on to the next one."
It will be interesting if he can do just that. It would certainly answer some questions on the East Coast.