Ultimate Boarder surfing showcases top talent

VENTURA — There were many winners for different reasons at Ultimate Boarder’s surfing competition on Thursday, as Tom Curren beat the field in the team division, Gabe Garcia won the individual title and New Jersey’s Shayne Pospisil grabbed hold of the overall lead in this board-riding extravaganza.

Ultimate Boarder, designed to crown the top performing athlete in snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding in one competition, was conceived by Goleta native Tim Hoover in 2008 and has attracted both returning competitors and new big names in 2009. With Thursday’s surfing leg completed, only Saturday’s skateboarding event remains.

While the snowboarding takes place at Bear Mountain, the surfing and skateboarding portions unfold in Ventura.

Santa Barbara’s Tom Curren, a former three-time world champion surfer, doesn’t compete much these days but outsurfed four young guns in the team final to keep his Team Hosoi in the top spot of the team division. With team-leader Christian Hosoi set to anchor the squad on Saturday, Curren is in good shape to be a part of Ultimate Boarder’s first-ever title-holding team.

Both the team and individual finals were held in deteriorating conditions, with waves a scarce commodity during the 25-minute heats. Curren used his experience to beat out Cory Arrambide, Aaron Cormican, Anthony Petruso and Eric McHenry. Curren picked off the highest wave score of the heat, an 8.3 on his second wave of the heat.

Last year was strictly an individual showcase and the inaugural champ, Aaron Astorga is lurking outside the top-10 with his specialty still ahead. Just like last year, Pospisil took over the “blue jersey,” worn by the event’s leader, going in to Stage 3.

Garcia, 19 years old, beat out fellow teenager John John Florence for the individual surfing title. Both struggled on the slopes, however, and neither find themselves in the overall top-10 after two events.

Instead, Pospisil, who finished 2nd on Sunday and 8th on Thursday, takes the lead with 10 total points. Dave Downing, who finished fifth in snowboarding and seventh in surfing, is a close second with 12 points. Mike Morrissey is next with 20 points.

All will be decided on Saturday at the Ventura County Fairgrounds where the skating comp will begin at 10 a.m.  Pro Skateboarders competing include Sam Baptista, Steve Caballero, Hosoi and Andy MacDonald. Visit the Ultimate Boarder web site for more info.

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