While much of the attention of the surfing world was focused on the North Shore for the Volcom Pipe Pro, more than 2,000 miles away off the coast of Oregon the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic was quietly coming to life. One of five events on schedule for the Big Wave World Tour (BWWT), the last time the Nelscott Reef event, which is now a paddle-only comp, ran was in 2010. Amid solid 20-foot sets breaking nearly a half-mile out to sea, Hawaiian Jamie Sterling edged out the likes of Greg Long, Gabrial Villaran, Aaron Ungerleider, Jao De Macedo, and Ben Wilkinson in the Final to take the win.
For Sterling, who almost didn’t enter the event at all, the win proved to be more about prestige than about points or prize money. According to the San Jose Mercury Tribune, because of the $1,000 entry fee and travel cost, Sterling was shying away from entering the contest until Red Bull stepped in to help foot the bill. “They said go and try to win, so I did,” Sterling said. “I’m stoked to have won. I love the wave…that’s why I’m here. To surf against world-class surfers at a world-class wave is just icing on the cake.”
With his win at the event, Sterling, who entered the contest ranked 14th on the BWWT, took home $2,000. With his second-place finish, San Clemente’s Greg Long amassed enough points to become the unofficial champion for this year’s tour.
First surfed by John Forse in 1995, Nelscott Reef emerged on the surfing world’s radar primarily as a tow-in wave in the 2000s. The first event to be held at Nelscott Reef was a tow-in contest in 2005 and in 2010, the event became a paddle-in only contest and a stop on the BWWT.
The holding period for the next event on the BWWT, The Peligroso at Todos Santos, will run until Feb. 28.