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Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Updated: June 15, 12:24 PM ET
Clay Marzo Wins Quik Pro Puerto

Remember when Clay Marzo won the NSSA Nationals?

That was 2005! Can you believe it's been almost five years? And outside the X Games, no other real results.

Remember when Clay Marzo aced the 2005 NSSA Championships?

It's not like we haven't seen the kid surf. On the contrary, in addition to "Just Add Water," we've seen all sorts of web vids, and mag spreads — it just hasn't been in contests.

It seemed that when the world learned about Marzo and his Asperger's Syndrome, we better understood what he was going through. But at the same time, he was backing away from contests. And the surfing world may have written him off to competitive surfing.

Most largely believed he was going to be a freesurf freak. But yesterday, he went and won the first ever 3-stat Quiksilver Pro Puerto Escondido, in Mexico.

Clay Marzo, back in a jersey, and back to winning tail drifts.

The surf was fairly consequential in the early rounds. Though the final wasn't small, it was a little funky. But that didn't stop him from comboing Brazil's Junior Faria, Puerto local Angelo Lozano, and Cory Arrambide.

"I was a little worried because it was a little mixed up out there," Marzo said. "I got that first score and was able to relax enough to get the other one."

Barrels, high performance surfing, style — Marzo had it all in Puerto. He finished with a 17.5 and second placer, Faria, only mustered an 11.5. That's a solid whuppin.'

What may have been most interesting is that he was adamant about dedicating his victory to Honolua Bay artist/surfer Ron Cassidy who died at Puerto last year. It's striking because if there was one thing we learned about Marzo in "JAW" and the string of press he got following it, was that his mind doesn't work socially the way ours works. Sure, the win is remarkable, but does this point to some growth in his character as well? Is he developing a sense of empathy uncommon in Asperger's patience?

And following the event, he told team manager, Strider Wasilewski that he wants to win the Vans Triple Crown.

Now it's not clear that he will gain entrance to any Triple Crown events on the points of this victory alone. Quik doesn't own any of the event titles, so a sponsor wildcard can't happen. And he doesn't have a past Triple Crown record to fall back on. But the kid wants it. Has a competitive fire been reignited in Clay Marzo?

Marzo lit up every round, including this beast on Day 2.

Outside Marzo's exceptional event, Arrambide also whipped a nutty flip out of his shorts to get to the final. Now we're seeing flips in heats?

Of course, this was also largely a coup for Latin surfers. You had 22-year-old local charger Lozano (not to be confused with that sauce that's on every table in Costa Rica) in the final, and a pair of Mexican surfers Cristan Corzo and Diego Cadena ousted WCT regular, Timmy Reyes early on.

Salsa Brava ripper, Gilbert Brown made the first round into his own private barrel fest, then Argentinean Leandro Usana, and Brazilians Felipe Cesarano and Heitor Pereira also made the semis.

Pretty solid for a first time event. And of course it's always nice to see a 'QS contest where no one can complain about the surf.