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THE WILDCARD - ROAD TO THE QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK

August 19, 2011 04:19:00

As with all Association of Surfing Professionals events, there are two wildcards selected to mix it up with the world's Top 34 ranked surfers. The first wildcard was granted to rising professional New York surfer Balaram Stack, hailed as the most talented surfer to emerge from the New York surf scene. Balaram joined the Quiksilver Pro Team at the age of 14. He is now 19 and pairs his supremely smooth surf style with a repertoire of crowd-wowing, gravity-defying aerial antics. Balaram won the coveted New York UnSound Pro title in 2010. He is also a multiple NSSA East Coast champion.

 

The second wildcard will be given to the top surfer to emerge out of a threestage trials competition that was open to juniors, locals and international talent:

Stage 1: The UnSound ASP Pro Junior, held at Long Beach, Long Island, April 27-30, 2011. The winner of the event, Hawaii's Keanu Asing, earned a berth into the final stage of trials competition:

Stage 2: The Empire State Surfing Championships Trials for the Trials, presented by Quiksilver, held at National Boulevard, Long Island, July 15-17, 2011. This was open to 16 of New York's hottest home-town surfers. The winner, Leif Engstrom (Montauk) advanced to the international trials competition that will immediately precede the Quiksilver Pro New York:

Stage 3: The Quiksilver Pro New York ASP World Tour Trials, presented by UnSound Surf, supported by Vitamin Water, to be held September 1-3 at the National Boulevard main event site. This is open to 14 rising international pro surfers, plus Keanu Asing & Leif Engstrom. The lineup of talent includes solid East Coast representation in Fisher Heaverly, Ryan Carlson, Sam Hammer, Asher Nolan, and Jeremy Johnston. International challengers include: Craig
Anderson (Australia), Masatoshi Ohno (Japan), and Marc Lacomare (Europe). The winner will receive the wildcard into the main event.

 

And this is where it really gets interesting. The two wildcards are always immediately drawn against the two top seeds of the event. That sounds like a good deal for the top seeds, but as often as not, the youthful ambition and nothing-to-lose mentality of a wildcard can prove to be the undoing of a champion.