The surf dropped from six feet to two to three feet for Sunday's final of the Maui and Sons Classic at Salt Creek County Beach, but that didn't bother No. 9-seeded Craig Comen of Huntington Beach, who won his first Professional Surfing Assn. of America (PSAA) event this season.
Comen, who is rated 13th on the tour, earned $2,000 as well as 1,000 points.
Comen, 26, hadn't won a PSAA meet since last year's Vuarnet Pro-Am in San Francisco. He finished fifth in the last three PSAA contests.
"My adrenaline shot was 200%," Comen said. "I really felt great. I knew this was going to be it for me."
Comen showed the judges some big maneuvers halfway through the 30-minute final heat, but his best performance came in the last nine seconds, when he caught the final wave of the heat.
Comen defeated No. 10-seeded Clete Hamilton of Carlsbad, No. 15-seeded John Parmenter of Huntington Beach and unseeded Trevor Christ from Encinitas in the four-man final.
Hamilton placed second, earning $1,000 and 860 points, and Parmenter was third, earning $600 and 730 points.
Christ, who won last week's Manhattan Beach contest, placed fourth, which gave him enough points (670) to pass Mike Lambresi, who was the tour leader until the Salt Creek meet.
Lambresi was supposed to be the No. 1-seeded surfer, but he was forced to qualify on Friday with 72 others because he did not meet the Monday entry fee deadline. He won his first two heats Friday but failed to advance in the third heat.
There were other upsets as well.
Scott Daley of El Segundo, who became the No. 1-seeded surfer after Lambresi's fall, didn't advance past the fifth round Saturday. Neither did No. 2-seeded Jim Hogan of Capistrano Beach.
Another upset came when last year's PSAA champion, Mike Cruickshank of Dana Point lost in his first heat on Saturday. Cruickshank, who was seeded No. 8, placed third in a heat in which only two advanced.
The highest seed to make it to the semifinals was No. 4 Todd Martin of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, who placed fourth in his heat against Christ, Comen and unseeded Jeff Booth of Laguna Beach.
Four of the six finalists in the body boarding division were from Hawaii. Top-rated Mike Stewart from Kona won, with Keith Sasaki of Honolulu second, Ron Ziebell of Long Beach third, Ben Severson of Honolulu fourth, Pat Caldwell of Honolulu fifth and Chris Cunningham of Huntington Beach sixth.
Stewart received 1,000 points and $1,000.
In the long boarding event--only the second ever for the PSAA--Israel Paskowitz of San Clemente won the $1,000 first-place prize with Reese Patterson of Manhattan Beach finishing second, Mike Sherman of Playa Del Rey third, Matt Carter of San Clemente fourth, Jay Riddle of Malibu fifth and Stu Kenson of Imperial Beach sixth.
The PSAA tour will make two stops, in El Porto July 10 and Malibu July 17, before returning to Salt Creek for the Pacific Sunwear July 24. The last stop of the season is in Malibu on August 21 for the PSAA championships.