This years’ Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Northwest regional qualifier at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, California had a great mixture of talented surf shop team riders, a right-hand point break and beautiful weather. Contest Director Darren Brilhart decided to continue with the unique Oakley Surf Shop Challenge that takes a different approach to generic competition-hungry contests, despite the lack of swell. The contest invited specific surf shops and allowed them to choose four surfers per team to represent them with two professional surf shop riders and two surf shop employees.
Select teams then work together in a 60-minute rotational showdown sending out one rider at a time in to the ring. One (predetermined) “whammy surfer” has the option of raising their hands at the end of their ride doubling the wave’s score. What makes this “whammy” surfers job dicey is that since each surfer has a three wave maximum, the designated “whammy” surfer can make or break a teams chance of victory given the modest conditions.
For example, the “whammy” technique didn’t prevail for Freeline Design Surf Shop. In the pre-lims, Team Freeline Design’s Peter Mel caught a marvel 7.6 wave in the heats final moments. Selected for the “whammy” title was teenage ripper Nic H’Dez who is known for pumping even the littlest waves to shreds but earlier was only able to come up with a 2.0 to whammy, cutting Freeline’s hope at the trip to Bali.
Santa Barbara’s Channel Island Surf Shop was considered the underdog but nailed it in the 60-Minute Final. As usual, the Santa Cruz teams domineered the contest sending O’Neill Surf Shop, Pacific Wave and Arrow into the Final. In the beginning, it looked like a safe bet with O’Neill’s Shaun Burns lifting a 5.5, but Channel Islands came back with a star performance from whammy surfer Killian Garland and his prize worthy 8.83 score.
Garland’s final victory was backed up by the strong performance of Channel Islands’ young Pat Curren, who grew up surfing the acclaimed Rincon. The humble Garland quotes, “For sure, I was super stoked to get that wave and it’s rad being able to win as the level of talent in Santa Cruz is always so high. Those guys rip.”
In their victory, Channel Islands Surf Shop will combat six other regional qualifiers for $10,000 in the championship event, held in June at Keramas along with a free plane ticket to Bali and spending money. Next up, the series stops at the Ala Moana Bowls on May 10 for the Hawaii regional qualifier and the final qualifier will hit Newport Beach, California at the end of May.
- Channel Islands Surf Shop (33.23 pts)
- O’Neill Surf Shop (18.6 pts)
- Arrow Surf Shop (8.93 pts)
- Pacific Wave (5.97 pts)
2013 OSSC and OHSSTC Schedule:
- April 5 – Southwest – Seaside Reef, Cardiff, Calif.*
- April 9 – Southeast – Ponce Inlet, Fla.
- April 13 – Mid-Atlantic – Kitty Hawk or Nags Head, Outer Banks, NC
- April 16 – Northeast – Manasquan Inlet, Manasquan, NJ
- April 19 – Northwest – Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, Calif.
- May 10 – Hawaii – Ala Moana Bowls, South Shore, Haw.
- May 31-June 1 – West – 54th/56th Street – Newport Beach, Calif.*
- June 17-22 – National Championship – Keramas/Canggu, Bali, Indo.
*Denotes Oakley High School Surf Team Challenge stops