The 17th Annual Quiksilver "King of the Peak" was blessed with record surf on the same day that original event producer, Kelly Slater, won his 11th World Title. In Hawaii, they call that good "Mana". The "King of the Peak" has proven to be one of the most challenging and sought after East Coast events to win. Not to mention the prestige of forever being added to a list of East Coast legends such as Kelly (two time winner), CJ Hobgood, Todd Morcom, Bill Hartley, David Speir, Kyle Garson and Bryan Hewitson among others. Slater's original idea for the KOP was to have a contest at Sebastian Inlet using a new contest format with the end result being a springboard for East Coast surfers to further their career. Which could be just what event winner Travis Beckmann needs. Coming off of a knee injury, Travis has been training and putting his best foot forward to make a go at pro surfing. With Travis recently chasing the ASP with minimal sponsor support he began questioning if he was following the best path for himself and rode a board with "I AM NOT A PRO SURFER" scribbled on the bottom to victory. Could this win be Travis' springboard?
Day one started with a sub tropical system spinning off the US South East Coast with gale force winds over 40 MPH sending large easterly swells with buoy readings of 12+ feet at 14 seconds to the contest zone creating much buzz among the competitors. The swell did not disappoint. The event started with ASP veteran Gabe Kling power surfing his way to 4 Skins at $270 each and Oliver Kurtz opening with an epic 9.37 barrel and continuing to win three more skins. Other highlights from day one were Chris Duff's monster bomb drop on the largest wave ever ridden at a Sebastian Inlet event followed by a swimming pool on the head. Kyle Garson's mutant below sea level drainer that would have surely been good for 10 points but he arrived a split second to late at the doggy door scoring a 7.1 for the closeout. Comments from the peanut gallery was he should have thrown a Hobgood pump on the first section. Speaking of Hobgood, CJ, a past KOP winner and Former ASP World Champ, just so happened to grace the event on day two paying homage to his humble beginnings whilst catching up with old friends and checking out the current East Coast up and comers.
Thanks to the spinning blob who has since turned into Tropical Storm Sean day two was equally sizable, thick and dumping. Paddle outs proved challenging as surfers were seen hucking their board away from the thunderous slabs. This year's standouts proved to be very adaptable with iron man like paddling ability, very keen to the currents and in-tune with the ever changing wind conditions. With the flipped draw on day two, the two surfers to watch were Cam Richards and Travis Beckmann. Cam worked over a right hand sandbar with vertical backhand punctuation while Travis was diversified in each heat surfing to what the weather was doing. Jeremy Johnston, another KOP champ, also flared up and was looking like a real threat after winning two skins but couldn't find his groove narrowly losing to Cam Richards. The race was on as Gabe Kling had the opportunity to force a surf off with Beckmann matching 6 skins but Jensen Callaway narrowly edged out Gabe claiming a committed closeout 360 air revo. Travis Beckmann owes his boy Jensen a "winner winner chicken dinner" who with that one wave was able to stop the mighty Kling thus leaving Travis standing as the new 2011 KOP champ. During the closing ceremony, Travis was all smiles wearing the KOP crown alongside the Quiksilver treasure chest filled with a bonus of $3,000 (in coins), his $1,620 check in Skin wins and $150 from the "ESM" Air Show. Not a bad two days for a kid that doesn't consider himself a professional surfer.
The "ESM" Air Show saw Brady Mckenzie take the win with a lofty air revo, Travis Beckmann 2nd and Jeremy Johnston 3rd.
Quiksilver King of the Peak Skins Placings:
1. Travis Beckmann 6-Skins Treasure Chest Bonus $4620
2. Gabe Kling 5-Skins $1350
2. Oliver Kurtz 5- Skins $1350
3. Cam Richards 4- Skins $1080
4. Kyle Garson 3--Skins $810
5 Jeremy Johnston 2 Skins $540
6. Cole Richards 1-Skins $270
6. Keto Burns 1-Skins $270
6. Sammy Barker 1-Skins $270
6. Jensen Callaway 1-Skins $270
6. Eddie Guilbeau 1-Skins $270
6. Justin Ellingham 1-Skins $270
6. Brad Domke 1-Skins $270
6. David Awbrey 1-Skins $270
6. Bryan Hewitson 1-Skins $270
6. Justin Jones 1-Skins $270
"Eastern Surf Magazine" Air Show:
1. Brady Mckenzie $300
2. Travis Beckmann $150
3. Jeremy Johnston $50
Peter Mendia laying into it. Photo: Chris Wilson
Winner Travis Beckmann taking it to the air when things got windy. Photo: Chris Wilson
Cam Richards showing the competition what's up. Photo: Chris Wilson
Oliver Kurtz snagging one of the many barrels at this years KOP. Photo: Chris Wilson
Power surfing with Gabe Kling. Photo: Chris Wilson
Kyle Garson enjoying Florida. Photo: Chris Wilson
2011 King of the Peak winner Travis Beckman. Photo: Dugan/ESM
Check out the story on Surfline here