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ORANGE COUNTY ON THE GO

Simmons Boosts His WCT Hopes in Hawaii

November 23, 2000

Ryan Simmons moved closer to his surfing dream Monday. Simmons, a 26-year-old professional surfer from Seal Beach, reached the semifinals of the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and strengthened his chances of qualifying for the Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour in 2001.

With one event remaining on the 2000 World Qualifying Series--the Rip Curl World Cup, scheduled to start Friday at Sunset Beach--Simmons has put himself in position to win one of the 44 spots on the WCT.

Twenty-eight of those places will go to the top surfers on this year's WCT. The next 16 will come from the WQS. Simmons is ranked 19th, but four surfers ahead of him compete on both tours and likely will qualify for the WCT because of their top-28 standing.

So Simmons is in a comfortable spot, but he's not settling in. In two other years, he narrowly missed the WCT cut.

"The 15 guys behind me all have a chance," Simmons said. "I'm not in yet by any means."

However, Simmons is on a roll at the right time. Monday, he advanced through two tough heats in four-to-eight foot waves at Ali'i Beach Park before finishing fourth in the semifinal.

Simmons won his first heat of the day, helping to eliminate San Clemente's Shane Beschen, then in his quarterfinal, finished second to Sunny Garcia and squeaked past third-place Luke Stedman by .15 points by scoring a 4.15-point ride in the final minutes.

Simmons struggled in the semifinal; the first two waves he took closed out on him and wave conditions were generally poor during the heat. Garcia, who went on to win the final, and Kalani Robb advanced.

"I just was completely out of rhythm," Simmons said. "Everything that was flowing for me just left."

The result took nothing away from Simmons' satisfaction on surfing so well in one of the sport's finest venues.

"It's a dream come true to make a semifinal in Hawaii," Simmons said. "I had never even made it to the quarters here before. In Hawaii the competitions are tougher, there's more pressure and the most is on the line. I'm just so happy. It was hard to go to bed last night because of all the energy running through me."

MORE HAWAII

Two Orange County surfers--Cody Simpkins of Newport Beach and Josh Baxter of San Clemente--reached the final of the Bear Hawaiian Pro Longboard Invitational Final held in conjunction with the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro.

Hawaiians Bonga Perkins and Lance Ho'okano finished first and second, Simpkins finished third and Baxter finished fourth.

SURF TOUR

Professional surfing on the U.S. mainland got a boost last week with the announcement that DynoComm Sports, a San Clemente television production company, has purchased a majority share in the Professional Surfing Tour of America.

DynoComm, which helped start the PSTA two years ago and has produced cable television shows of the tour's events, hopes to turn it into the main domestic tour, said Alan Gibby, DynoComm president.

The PSTA plans to hold between six and 10 events in 2001, including possible contests in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The events will be sanctioned by the Assn. of Surfing Professionals and likely have WQS one-star ratings.

"The support has just been unbelievable," Gibby said. "The surf industry is ready for a major showcase of their talent on American soil."

RUN OUT THE DOOR

If you are reading this early Thanksgiving morning, you might still have time to throw on your running shoes and enter the Dana Point Turkey Trot.

Organizers of the event, billed as California's largest Thanksgiving Day race, are expecting more than 9,000 to enter the 5 and 10K runs.

Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. at the corner of Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive. The 10K starts at 7 a.m., the 5K masters run at 8:05 and the 5K run/walk for people 39 and younger at 9:05.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Saturdays

* Orange Coast Velo cycling club meets at Worthy Park, located at 17th and Main Street in Huntington Beach. Rides vary from 25 to 50+ miles and begin at 7:30 a.m. with periodic regrouping and rest stops. After-ride socializing at Noah's Bagels on Main Street. For further information call Jerry, (714) 960-4214 or Peter (714) 848-7618.

* Orange County Wheelmen training, 8 a.m., Food Park, MacArthur and Main, Irvine. Beginner and intermediate training group will ride and stay as a group. Informal lectures will cover stretching, nutrition and hill climbing. Led by Fred and Peg Bauer, (714) 997-0892.

* Bicycle Club of Irvine rides, 9 a.m., meet at Deerfield Park, Irvine. Three routes, 10-15, 15-25 and 25-35 miles, each with a stop midway for breakfast. Rides finish at about 11:30 a.m. Ride leaders Scott and Sandy Angle, (714) 960-4068.

* Velo Allegro Cycling Club meets at 8 a.m. at Long Beach Marina off Second Street for 24-mile ride at 14-18 mph pace. Those with paceline experience meet at 7:30 a.m. for warmup and speed training of up to 50 miles. Details: Julio, (562) 988-8117.

Nov. 30

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