10 years after winning the 2002 King Of The Peak, CJ Hobgood had some good fortune come his way while at home visiting friends and family. With 3-4 foot chunky challenging conditions being served up, CJ entered the 18th Annual 2012 KOP Skins Pro and it’s a good thing he did as he claimed the treasure chest full of loot. Surfing his old stomping grounds of Sebastian Inlet against the best East Coast’s surfers CJ put on an eye popping display of World Class surfing for his home town crowd of Brevard County.
The last time CJ surfed this contest it was an easy win but capturing this year’s crown was no easy feat. Facing off against all the Inlet regulars and many of the East Coast’s best pros, CJ looked noticeably hungry for a hometown win. Runner-up for the second year in a row, Oliver Kurtz came only one heat short of forcing a surf-off between him and the 2001 World Champ.
There were some incredible moments of brilliance from this field that read like a Who’s Who of East Coast professional surfing: Asher Nolan’s amazing rail gouge on an approaching wedge peak earned him “Best Turn” of the event on Day Two (though he got bucked off his board by the inside sand dumper on his second turn). Peter Mendia’s trifecta of under-the-lip verts pleased the vets and groms alike. Noah Schweizer and Justin Ellingham’s ran for two skins apiece before being halted by CJ. Brady McKenzie laid down solid power hacks, but fell victim to a determined Oliver Kurtz, whose backhand, powered-up whip turns on the closeout sections shocked spectators. Travis Beckmann, Blake Jones, Tanner Strohmenger, Evan Thompson, Nils Schweizer, Chris Duff, Jeremy Johnston, Chris Tucker and David Speir all looked to make a run for multiple skins; but in the latter part of Round Two, CJ began started laying out drop-wallet tailslides and radical combination maneuvers to seal the deal with two more skins for a total of seven.
Meanwhile, the annual ESM Air Show provided a forum for some of the East Coast’s best aerialists to take to the wind in a high-flying, go-for-broke free-for-all. A 20-surfer field was whittled down to a six-man final on Day Two, where Beckmann opened up with a solid above-the-lip 360 before Tucker eyed an oncoming ramp, threw everything and the kitchen sink into a single frontside power-whip — which was impressive and explosive enough to earn him 8-point and $400.
King Of The Peak Results:
1 CJ Hobgood 7 Skins $4750
2 Oliver Kurtz 6 Skins $1500
3 Justin Elingham 2 Skins $500
3 Noah Schweizer 2 Skins $500
5 Evan Thompson 1 Skin $250
5 Asher Nolan 1 Skin $250
5 Brady McKenzie 1 Skin $250
5 Dustin Richardson 1 Skin $250
5 Shawn Murray 1 Skin $250
5 CT Taylor 1 Skin $250
5 Ron Keindl 1 Skin $250
Eastern Surf Magazine Air Show:
1 Chris Tucker $400
2 Travis Beckmann $200
3 Chris Duff $100
CJ searching for his treasure chest full of loot. Photo: Dugan/ESM
With another solid run at the KOP, Oliver Kurtz is fore sure one of the East Coast’s top surfers. Photo: Dugan/ESM
Watch out for this guy…Tanner Strohmenger. Photo: Dugan/ESM
Former KOP winner Eddie Guilbeau stoked to be competing in the event again. Photo: Dugan/ESM
Asher Nolan taking care of the oncoming section. Photo: Dugan/ESM
Moving water is one of Scott Posner’s specialties. Woof. Photo: Dugan/ESM
ESM airshow Champ, Chris Tucker, getting things going. Photo: Dugan/ESM