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Surfing Laguna: Byrne takes lead

Event No. 3 Freedom Surf Series concluded last weekend at Mission Beach. After making the finals of the first two event stops, Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach) claimed the event victory with a nearly flawless performance and overtook the series lead.

Byrne, a seasoned competitor, ranked No. 2 on the Assn. of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America World Qualifying Series (WQS), was joined in the Pro Division Final by standouts Michel Flores (San Clemente), Sean Marceron (Leucadia) and Roger Eales (San Diego), who finished second, third and fourth, respectively. Although each surfed extremely well, none could stop a rampaging Byrne, who secured the win (and $5,000 payout) by scoring a perfect 10 in the final.

“Early on in the contest a lot of the top guys lost, and I was still going," Byrne said. “So I knew this would be a good time to get as good of a result as possible to take the pressure off going into the championship."

Byrne joins elite surfers and previous event winners Chris Waring (Seal Beach), who won event No. 1 at Ocean Beach, and former ASP World Tour surfer Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach), who captured event No. 2 at Huntington Beach. Byrne also moved to the top of the Pro Division series points leader board with 2,539 points. Teddy Navarro is in second place with 1,815.6 points, followed by Reyes in third with 1,810 points, Anthony Petruso in fourth with 1,742.7 points and Waring in fifth with 1,716.7. With the final event double point rated, the series is still anyone’s game.

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The final event will take place May 8 to 9 at the Oceanside Pier, where the series winners will be crowned and huge cash and prizes will be awarded.

The future of surfing also lit up Mission Beach "” in the Junior Division young gun Derek Peters (Huntington Beach) claimed first place and $750.

The talent-heavy final fueled by Southern Californian talent also included Colin Moran (Costa Mesa), Taylor Clark (Encinitas) and Trevor Thornton (San Clemente).

“I was really stoked to make it into the Junior’s Final and knew all the other guys out there were very capable of winning," Peters said. “I managed to grab a solid score about 10 minutes into the final and then paddled a bit deeper looking for a set. Thankfully a good one came my way and it ended up being an eight."

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CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at chris@soulsurfingschool.com or (949) 497-5918.


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