Stab Magazine | Aaron "Gorkin" Cormican Goes On Occy-Like Rampage At 'King Of The Peak' Skins Event

Live Now: How Surfers Get Paid — The Queens of Ascension

18 Views

Aaron “Gorkin” Cormican Goes On Occy-Like Rampage At ‘King Of The Peak’ Skins Event

He could have won all 11 heats, had he not been hammered for the last… 

news // Nov 9, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Two decades have passed since Mark Occhilupo ran the field at a now-infamous Skins event in 1997. On that fateful day in Victoria, Occy knocked off 11 straight competitors en route to winning $55,000 at six-foot Bells, which was nearly triple what Matt Hoy earned for his Rip Curl Pro victory a few weeks prior. Many still consider Occy’s upside-down theatrics to be one of, if not the greatest competitive surfing performance of all time.  

At yesterday’s Quiksilver King of the Peak (KOTP) event, held at Florida’s legendary Sebastian Inlet, Aaron ‘Gorkin’ Cormican fell one heat and $52,450 short of tying Occy’s record. Nevertheless it was an incredible run for the Gork.

After drawing names from a hat, it was decided that Gorkin would surf in the first heat of the morning, in lumpy but not un-fun Inlet conditions. There’s a lot of pressure being in the first heat of a skins event, because if you don’t win, meaning a 1st-place finish in a 4-man heat, you’re out for the rest of the day.

unnamed5

Gorkin yaps away from the King’s Throne — a place he’d spend the majority of his time during the KOTP event. Photo: Kechle

In fact, before we go any further, let me break down the skins format (or KOTP puppeteer Matt Kechele’s version thereof) so we’re all on the same page.

  • 76 surfers’ names are drawn from a hat to determine heat pairings/times (4-man heats, 20 mins)

  • The winner of heat 1 advances to heat 3, which becomes a 5-man heat. The winner of heat 3 advances to heat 5, so on and so forth until the last “odd” heat of the day — heat 19. The same thing happens on the “even” side of the draw, starting with heat 2 and ending at heat 20.

  • If you place anything other than 1st in your heat, you’re out for the day.

  • Each heat win (i.e “skin”) is worth $255.

  • Heats are won with the single highest scoring wave, which needs to be visibly claimed by the surfer.

  • KOTP’s new rule for 2017: when a surfer claims the highest scoring wave of the heat, he must exit the water and sit on the “King’s Throne” (a rickety wooden chair in the sand). If one of his competitors claims a higher score, the usurped King may re-enter the water to win back his crown. However, a surfer can only claim twice in a single heat.

  • On day two the draw is flipped, meaning if you surfed in heat 1 on the first day, you surf in heat 19 on day two, and vice versa. No matter where you are in the draw, every person has the opportunity to surf 11 times in total, if they don’t lose any heats.

I hope that makes sense.

Now back to Gorkin, the east coast stalwart who allegedly hadn’t won a contest in five years. After scalping the first heat of the morning, effectively ridding himself of the competitive cobwebs, Aaron went on an all-out killing spree. The video above, which is something of a KOTP vlog by Ben Gravy, features the entirety of Gorkin’s 10-heat rampage on day one. His streak includes several airs (one of them damn impressive), a bevy of hacks, and a generally smart competitive approach. It seems that Gorkin’s key to success was claiming a wave early and putting the pressure on his competitors to take back the lead. None did.

At the end of the day, Gorkin racked up 10 heat wins and $2,550 in cash. He was noticeably giddy.

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 1.28.26 PM

Old mate Kling got a few skins himself. @thor904

Contest director and Sebastian Inlet kingpin, Matt Kechele, was equally impressed. “This is the 19th year we’ve run the King of the Peak, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone clear a whole round before,” Matt confessed. “I could be wrong. Maybe Slater or one of the Hobgoods did it back in the day, but I can’t think of anything at the moment. This year was also the highest level of surfing I’ve ever seen at this event. Even compared to the CT, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many airs landed in a competition.”

Some of the major names in this year’s event included: Gabe Kling (the only man to beat Gorkin), Asher Nolan (who had the second-most skins with 5) Evan Geiselman, Michael Dunphy, Travis Beckman (winner of the Florida Beer Co. Air Show), Daniel Glen (who had the highest-scoring wave of the event: a massive slob-grab air for a 9.33) and a list of other east coast standouts.

Going into the final day of the event, Gorkin knew there was little, if anything, another surfer could do to steal his KOTP trophy. Despite not surfing until the day’s final heat, Gorkin spent all afternoon on the beach, soaking in that winning feeling plus maybe a few beers.

By the time heat 19 came around, with the official win already in the bag, Gorkin headed out for his final appearance “six beers deep” and with a Foster’s mega-can in his singlet. Perhaps this wasn’t his greatest plan, as Gorkin eventually came up short against ex-CTer Gabe Kling, thus forfeiting the “perfect contest” of 11-straight wins. But despite not tying Occy’s formidable record, it’s hard to blame Gorkin for revelling in his victory — even if it was slightly premature.

The 37-year-old surfboard shaper will return to New Smyrna Beach with a second KOTP crown, a couple thou in cash, and perhaps a slight hangover. Still, that’s hardly a price to pay for such a dominating performance.  

If there’s one takeaway from this event, it’s that surfing needs to mix up its competitive structure. One-off comps like Quiksilver’s KOTP bring an element of fun and excitement not typically found at WSL events. I find the “skins” format to be a breath of fresh air and would love to see more events like it around the world. Occy and Gorkin would surely agree. 

Screen Shot 2017 11 06 at 1.20.19 PM

The King! @therealgorkin

2017 Quiksilver “King of the Peak” Results

Aaron Cormican 10 Skins  $2,550.00

Asher Nolan  5 Skins  $1,275.00

Daniel Glenn  4 Skins  $1,020.00

Gabe Kling  3 Skins  $765.00

Chauncey Robinson  2 Skins  $510.00

Nick Alexander  2 Skins  $510.00

Tommy Coleman  2 Skins  $510.00

Michael Dunphy  2 Skins  $510.00

Evan Geiselman  2 Skins  $510.00

Blake Speir  2 Skins  $510.00

Evan Thompson  2 Skins  $510.00

Sam Duggan  1 Skin  $255.00

Mason Sapp  1 Skin  $255.00

 History List of Former Quiksilver “King of the Peak” Winners

1995 Kelly Slater

1996 Called Off(Flat/Bad Weather)

1997 Todd Morcom

1998 Bill Hartley

1999 Eric Hatton

2000 David Speir

2001 Kelly Slater

2002 CJ Hobgood

2003 Bryan Hewitson

2004 Justin Jones

2005 Kyle Garson

2006 Jeremy Johnston

2007 Eric Taylor

2008 Cody Thompson

2009 Eddie Guilbeau

2010 Aaron Cormican

2011 Travis Beckmann

2012 CJ Hobgood

2017 Aaron Cormican

 

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Can Medina Overcome His CT Drought In Tahiti?

Tahurai Henry offers his picks for the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

May 21, 2024

The 35 Best Song Pairings In Surf Films, As Ranked By Dane Reynolds, Taylor Steele & You

From Noa Deane and Courtney Love, to Andy Irons and Coldplay, to Creed McTaggart and…

May 20, 2024

Is This The Most Cost Efficient Way To Noticeably Improve Your Surfing In A Single Month?

All you can eat for $1500 AUD at URBNSURF Melbourne.

May 20, 2024

Watch And Learn: How To Score A Solo Sesh At 8-Foot Teahupo’o With Leonardo Fioravanti

Skip lunch and gorge.

May 19, 2024

Full Frame: The Story Behind The Photo You’ve Seen 1,000 Times

A viral ménage à trois in Bali.

May 18, 2024

Meet The Man Who Runs Kelly Slater’s Burgeoning Surf Empire

The Stab Interview with Dylan Slater. 

May 18, 2024

How Surfers Get Paid: Season 2, Episode 4

80+ interviews later, it's time to "send out the chicks".

May 17, 2024

How To Get To Stab High Japan

BYO ligaments. 

May 16, 2024

CT Earlybirds, Tahitian Warlords, And Aspirational Teenagers Divide Spoils From “11 out of 10” Teahupo’o Blob

Eimeo Czermak, Balaram Stack, Liam O'Brien, Cannon Carr, and Ryan Miller divulge tales from the…

May 16, 2024

The Lefts Off The Rights

Detailing the goofy-footed proclivity to go against the grain.

May 15, 2024

Watch: ‘Shotgun’ featuring Josie Prendergast & Taj Richmond

The allure of contradiction, displayed in the virtue of Northern Rivers sand.

May 15, 2024

How Accurate Were Our Pre-Cut Predictions?

Reflecting on the rookie-centric forecasts offered by CJ Hobgood, Stace Galbraith, Brett Simpson, and Mikey…

May 14, 2024

Local Wildcard Jordy Lawler Dusts 79 Transplants, Issy Nichols Denies Prodigy Erin Brooks Another Plush Toy

The Stab High winner is one semi-final away from tour qualification after only two events.

May 14, 2024

Which 2024 Stab High Competitor Has Given Us The Best Surf Part?  

Noa Deane, Chippa Wilson, Julian Wilson, Ian Crane and more duel for the most impactful…

May 13, 2024

There Are Still Perfect, Empty Waves Left In The World

Soli Bailey, Timo Simmers + Layne Stratton on the sand-bottomed unicorn seen in ‘Maps to…

May 13, 2024

What Happened To Bali?

And is an ethical future for surf development possible in Indonesia?

May 12, 2024

Premium Peek: Mason Ho + Sheldon Paishon Vs A Scottish Widow Maker

Less like a wave, more like a German Panzer tank (180 tons, FYI).

May 12, 2024

Tactical Burn, Shove + Leash Pull Ends In Tears, Disqualification + Fines At ISA World Juniors 

The young Portuguese surfer has since apologized for her 'grevious unsportsmanlike conduct'. 

May 11, 2024
Advertisement