Dylan Graves & Connie Arias win the Corona Extra Pro
The Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit Domes’ Event was won by Dylan Graves and Connie Arias in what concluded a spectacular weekend at Playa Domes, Rincon, Puerto Rico.
Competitors were greeted by waist high clean lines in the morning at the famous Domes beach, and even though the waves have dropped since the day before, the action continued to blaze. Surfers surviving the first two rounds on Sunday met up with the seeded surfers for Round 3 on Monday morning, to see who would advance to the money round. In trying conditions, competitors made the most of every opportunity, and the rides that went down are a testament to how good the competitors are.
On both the men’s and women’s side, heats were won with committed, radical surfing. Highlights from the morning include Leslie Bursian’s fine rail work and Nil Schweizer’s combination of maneuvers. Jeremy Johnston continued his tear, while Nico Moreda seemed to find another gear as he blazed to his heat victory.
The Women’s Quarter-finals displayed some serious ripping by the female competitors. Ornella Pellizzari was going upside down on her backside to advance with Connie Arias. In the second heat, youngsters Liza Caban and Quincy Davis gave us a glimpse of the future as both ripped their way to advance to the Semi-final.
The waves for Round #4 were more consistent, and heat scores reflected this. In the first heat, Carlos Cabrero surfed like a man on a mission. Heat # 2 saw the highest scores of the event. The lead changed back and forth and when the dust finally settled, Nils Schweizer and Jeremy Johnston found their way into the Quarter-finals. Gabriel Escudero threw out the highest single wave score so far, but couldn’t overcome the consistency of Dylan Graves and Darren Mushette.
By the time the Quarter-finals got under way, a timely increase of swell gave the conditions for the competitors to up the ante. Nils Schweizer threw out smooth round-house cutbacks and backed it up with an effortless air to sweep the heat.
Jeremy Johnston continued posting high scores, but was overtaken in the final exchange by the lone Puerto Rican Carlos Cabrero, who showed how savvy a competitor he is. In the second heat, Darren Muschette used his local knowledge to advance, and a very workman like Dylan Graves kept building on his wave count, and by the time he was finished, had enough in his account to take the win.
The women’s side produced the Cinderella Story of the event. In a thrilling moment for the local girl Liza Caban and the entire beach, the 14 year old surfed her way into the final in her very first Corona event. Riding the emotion of the crowd, she overcame a polished Quincy Davis. In the other Semi, Connie Arias survived an onslaught by Ornella Pellizzari who’s rapidly earning lots of recognition and respect.
In Semi-final # 1, Nils Schweitzer came out swinging, and never let up. Every wave was a potential keeper, but it was his tail throwing, fin free top turns that got the big points. He ended up putting the local legend, Carlos Cabrero in a combo situation. The win was so convincing, Nils even won over the partisan crowd, who applauded the tremendous exhibition.
Semi-final #2 was the closest heat of the event as Darren Muschette and Dylan Graves went wave for wave, exchanging the lead throughout the heat. Inside of 10 minutes, Darren unleashed a silky smooth air to take the lead. With time running down, Dylan takes off in the final minute, knowing he needs a 7 pointer to overtake Darren. Dylan ruthlessly took the wave apart, combining deep carving cutbacks with a variety of fin free top turns, posting an 8.67 to launch him into the final. Pressure, what pressure?
Connie Arias put an end to the Cinderella Story, collecting $2000 for her win. Her experience served her well, putting the pressure on the young Liza Caban after posting two rides in the 6 point range. Liza gave it her all, trying desperately to pull off the most radical off the lips, but falling just short. The crowd cheered regardless, as she was the people’s champion.
The Men’s Final pitted the two most impressive surfers of the event, Nils Sweitzer and Dylan Graves. Dylan took the early lead, and never looked back. Nils fought back valiantly, staying within striking distance considering the scores he posted through the entire event. But in the dying moments of the final, Dylan used his priority to put the nail in the coffin.
With the crowd going crazy on the beach, many of Dylan’s friends who had been seen hanging dangerously close to the Corona tent prepared to give him the Emperor’s Chair Ride to the victory platform. The APSPR has a tradition of holding quality events in quality waves. This edition of the Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit continued the tradition.
Surfers from South America, North America, and the Carribean came to test their mettle against the pack of hot locals. In fact, this is the largest number of competitors in the history of the Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit. The proven format and professional staff provide the competitors with invaluable experience as well as an opportunity to take home some serious cash.
Head judge Mike Martin and his highly trained judging panel show that there’s no replacing experience. Surfers can be confident that their results here would stand up anywhere, and when they go on to compete in any ASP event, they will be ready.
The Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit concluded its competitive season this weekend. Brian Toth repeats as Men’s Champion, and Maria Del Mar Gonzalez is the Women’s Champion. As the Circuit grows, the competitors are eager for the chance to once again battle for The Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit Crown. Next year’s season is due to kick off in October, with the Middles Event. Keep posted to www.apspr.net for all the latest updates.