|ESPN.com: Surfing||[Print without images]|
Flashbulbs. Cheers. Screams of joy. Slugs of beer. Even in the pitch of dark on a deserted Hatteras highway, you can tell Virginia Beach surfers don't just know how to enjoy a win -- they know how to make those wins happen.
2010 marks the third straight year that the Old Dominion crew has trekked across the border to steal both victory and bragging rights in the Wave Riding Vehicles Battle of the Banks (if only for a single day of team-format competition.) The difference this time? Just that: the difference. 77 points to be exact. Compared with 2009's, 8-point slight, NC got trampled like so much S-Turns duneline -- violated as brazenly as the National Park Service laws against unpermitted contests. Which is exactly what went down to the tune of $125 fine for contest director Ian Parnell. (His take? "I'll turn off the microphone and pay the fine; still cheaper than a permit.") Goes to show: whether it's running comps or just surfing heats, VB surfers do whatever it takes to get the job done.
|Matt Beacham, in the slot and charging for Carolina pride.|
As a result, all day long the VB crew hustled up scores in and out of the tube, staging a death of 1000 cutties -- not to mention snaps, floaters and airs. The NC strategy? Go for broke, or go for nothing. And more often than not, that's what they got, leaving open faces untouched and cramped barrels wide open.
|The third annual WRV Battle of the Banks.|
"I kept saying, 'Head dips may be lame but they still score,'" noted Brett Barley. "But you just can't convince these guys."
Especially after the morning's opening rounds, when local Seth Barrick racked up two long tubes (and $1000 for the Hurley Best Barrel of the Day) for the Main Rounds' highest point total of 53.5 and the $500 Best Barrel prize. Had conditions stayed hollow, we might have seen more than just a different result, but a whole 'nother final, as usual heavy hitters on both sides like Noah Snyder, Drew Meredith, Jason Borte and Andrew Meyer found themselves rooting for fresh faces -- including former Surfer Mag coverboy turned Euro-rocker Jason Griffith, who flew from Portugal to lead his VB boys into the final, and freesurfed non-stop between heats.
"Good to be here," Griffiths grinned in a rare dry moment. "I need to be here more."Actually, from Mike Dunphy in the water to Ben Bourgeois on the sidelines, this event saw the most committed crowd ever. But even more notable was who didn't show, including NC's Jeff Myers (who missed his post-King of the Peak flight from Florida) and former best-tube winner Jesse Hines had booked a guitar gig in South Carolina. At least Jesse knew to schedule a strong session man as his replacement; and he picked a guy who wasn't about to blow the opportunity.
|Bill Hume is part of that all-or-nothing Outer Banks crew.|
|How deep are Matt Beacham's Outer Banks roots? This is the family of Decatur Beacham Jr, circa 1895 from the Currituck County archives. Check the resemblance.|
|Lucas Rogers took second place overall for the third year in a row, which also means his surfing is most responsible for VB's dynasty.|