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SURFING

Lots of Orange Colors Hawaii Contest

October 27, 1994|Rockin' Fig & Dave | Rockin' Fig is Rick Fignetti, a Huntington Beach surfer/shop owner. Times staff writer David Reyes has reported on U.S. surf teams competing in Bali and Brazil. and

It's time. Oh, yes, it's time.

Autumn's coming in gracefully, giving surfers morning offshore winds and relatively warm, 62- to 64-degree water temperatures, making it a spring suit kind of month.

Rockin' Fig said many surfers consider it the best time of the year: Gorgeous sunrises, clear views of Catalina and young surfers out of the water and back in school. And each week brings a possibility of a major storm from Alaska.

The Figster: Take advantage of it, people!

But the Fig is a stoked guy for another reason. As announcer for the U.S. Bud Surf Tour, he'll be in Hawaii for the Bud tour finals at Makaha that started Monday and end Saturday.

And with four of the top five competitors from Orange County, we might have a local Bud tour champion. What do you think, Fig?

Definitely! Who's in the Top 5?

Well, from No. 1 on down, it's Chris Brown of Santa Barbara; Jeff Deffenbaugh, Huntington Beach; Shane Stoneman, San Juan Capistrano; Richie Collins, Newport Beach, and Todd Miller, Costa Mesa. Fig, didn't you pick Deffenbaugh as a top finisher before the season kicked off?

Yup. It's good to see one of the boys from ol' HB really turning on this year. Deffenbaugh--or JD, as he's known--is a man to be reckoned with, though he is a late bloomer. Other pro competitors did well earlier in the year, but he came on strong at the end by getting into contest quarterfinals and finals. With his points in the World Qualifying Series, it looks like he'll be heading for the world tour.

What about the others?

Stoneman has been climbing up the ladder too. He's become more solid. Collins has been the definite threat all season long, though he had a little bit of bad luck. He is probably most people's pick to take the Bud title.

Todd Miller is an up-and-coming guy and Collins' protege. Miller's been turning in some solid performances, and this has got to be his best ranking so far.

And Brown?

As for the man in front, Chris Brown, he's got a beautiful style and surfs with speed and power. Plus, he has some outrageous moves and has been a standout. He has had problems this year with sponsorship and wasn't really quite as focused. Now he's the man who really looks like he's got it all together.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Todd Prestage of Australia, Vince de la Pena of Laguna Niguel, Peter Mel and Chris Gallagher, both of Santa Cruz, and Pat O'Connell, also of Laguna Niguel.

Alisa Schwarzstein, a Bud Tour spokeswoman, said that in addition to Deffenbaugh, Collins and O'Connell have good chances of qualifying for next year's world tour.

But there's a snag, Fig.

What's that?

Schwarzstein said there's a little politics involving Brazil.

"Some of the other regions don't like the fact that so many Americans are qualifying for the world tour," Schwarzstein said. "On Oct. 18, the Brazilians announced that a three-star event had been elevated to a four-star, making those points earned in Brazil more heavily weighted for qualifying for the world tour."

To understand the significance, the Bud tour's final is rated at only two stars. Ratings are based on size of purse.

"It could negatively effect guys like Jeff Deffenbaugh," Schwarzstein said, "because he is already in Hawaii getting ready for the Bud finals. But it also could hurt a host of other guys who have chosen to go to Hawaii instead of Brazil."

Ian Cairns, the Bud tour's contest director, has lodged a complaint against this last-minute move. No word yet on what effect, if any, the complaint will have. Schwarzstein said the Bud Tour has counted at least 25 pro surfers out of the Top 100 on the world tour that the new rating could affect in the race for points.

"It would be a pretty bad blow if it goes through," Schwarzstein said.

*

Old Blood: Peter Townend, former world champion in 1976, Rusty VP and Prime Ticket announcer, has resumed competition but this time in the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. Another new entry in amateurs is Bob Hurley, Billabong's president. What's going on here?

*

Exhibit: A new women's exhibit opened Oct. 15 at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. The exhibit has plenty of hot photos, surfboards and memorabilia from some of surfing's "first ladies." Featured surfers include Joyce Hoffman, Linda Benson, Mary Ann Hawkins and Jericho Poppler-Bartlow. The museum is at 411 Olive Ave. Call for hours at (714) 960-3483.

As for Fig: I'll be saying hi to Buffalo and all the boys in Hawaii--Derek, Johnny Boy and the crew. Mahalo and aloha!

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