Montauk’s Duct Tape Invitational

Joel and the team at Vans put in a lot of hardwork to make this event happen. Photo: Glaser
Joel Tudor and Vans' hard work paid off with a successful inaugural Duct Tape Invitational. Photo: Glaser

“Surfers, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll sometimes went together,” writes Nat Young in his book The Complete History of Surfing. Last week, Joel Tudor teamed up with Vans to deliver the Duct Tape Invitational, an event where 16 handpicked longboarders were unleashed upon the town of Montauk, New York, to prove that Nat’s comment still applies today.

A legendary father to the surfing world, Nat is referring to an era that preceded the current generation of battle-faced, exercise ball-toting pros. “I genuinely felt there was more to surfing than competition,” he continues. “Many young surfers today are missing out on the possibility of expressing themselves through their surfing because their lives are dominated by contests.”

Joel was, and always has been, the exception to Nat’s generalization. Sure, Joel has spent his fair share of time garbing contest jerseys and slapping sponsor logos on his quiver. But no one can deny that Joel wandered into a realm of surfing that no other young surfer dared search out during the early- to mid-’90s, a time when shortboarding was the only way to roll if you were an ambitious kid looking to make it in the pro lineup. Instead, as an immensely talented surfer, Joel spent his time toying with board shapes and styles of surfing that the rest of the industry viewed as antiquated and unprogressive. Little did the surf world realize where this seemingly aimless path of counterculture would lead Joel and his eventual cohorts.

Last weekend’s blur of an event featured two days of heats, none of which can be considered genuinely competition-focused. The rules of the contest basically went like this: F–k it. There are no rules. Just four colored singlets, 25-minute heats, a few tents on the sand, and an open bar tab. Snaking, burning, crossing over—it was a free-for-all. In fact, competitors were awarded $500 to split for the best doubles ride in every heat of the event.

Age and sex didn’t matter either. From Herbie Fletcher to Kassia Meador, the roster of competitors was skewed with a variety of talent. Psychedelic stylemaster Robbie Kegel, a smooth operating Alex Knost, and a perpetually barefooted, facial hair-harvesting Chris Del Moro were a few among the crew to invade Montauk.

Admittedly, there wasn’t much focus on pre-contest preparation, better known as “getting in the zone” by what Del Moro calls “jock surfers,” but you can bet there was plenty of creative, and sometimes daring, maneuvering going down in the heats.  From feet-first paddle-ins and hanging tens over the infamous Ditch Plains rock to a bit of ass-jiving to the Talking Heads playing over the loudspeakers, there was no lack of classiness to the antics of the Duct Tape Invitational.

With local Montauk surf boss Tony Caramonico on hand for weather and swell insight, the call was made to run the semis and final at dawn on Friday. Tony’s call was spot on. The tribe (well, most of them) stumbled across the freezing sand at sunrise to discover 2- to 4-foot lefts with roaring offshore winds rolling toward the contest site.

–Darlene Conolly

Justin Quintal with the big W and a cool 4 grand. Photo: Glaser
Justin Quintal, winner of the Duct Tape Invitational and $4K richer. Photo: Glaser

In the end, Florida’s Justin Quintal cruised his way into ownership of a giant foamboard check that boasts the sum of $4,000, while Noosa Heads local Harrison Roach pulled into second place with $3,000. Montauk staple Mikey DeTemple walked away with third place and $2,000 and California’s Tyler Warren claimed fourth place and $1,000.

Vans wrapped up the weekend with a private party and concert by Public Enemy, Mos Def, and Flavor Flav at their newest locale in Brooklyn. Yeah. Amazing. The weekend was like that.

Justin Quintal won the first Duct Tape Invitational in Virgnia Beach, the only goofyfooter in the final and won this event too.. Photo: Glaser
Justin Quintal, balancing amid the strong offshores. Photo: Glaser
Jared was pumped to be in NY, hanging with his friends, and in the final.  Some last words with Joel before his final heat. Photo: Glaser
Jared Mell, having a quick chat with Joel Tudor before the Final. Photo: Glaser
Alex Knost practices before the contest gets under way. Photo: Glaser
Alex Knost, practicing on a miniature insider before the heats began. Photo: Glaser
Tyler Warren hanging 10. Photo: Glaser
Tyler Warren, stylizing. Photo: Glaser
Unlike most surf contest, sharing waves was rewarded with $500 a heat for the best tandem wave. Photo: Joli
Unlike most surf contest, there was a $500 check for the Best Tandem Wave. Photo: Glaser
Jumanji, Troy, Knost,  Jared Mell and friends hiding from the wind and inbetween heats.
Jumanji, Troy, Alex Knost, Jared Mell and friends, hiding from the wind between heats. Photo: Glaser
Most swells on the east coast are created by local windstorms which make for short interval swells.  Tyler warren noserides on the inside while Harrison Roach setsup on the outside. Photo: Joli
Most swells on the East Coast are created by local windstorms that make for short interval swells. Tyler Warren noserides on the inside, while Harrison Roach sets up on the outside. Photo: Glaser
Mikey Detemple spends half the year in Montauk and made sure everyone had a good time. Photo: Glaser
Mikey DeTemple, making sure everyone's having a good time. Photo: Glaser
The Local community was more than welcoming and came out to watch the event. Photo: Glaser
The local surf community were pleased to play host and many came out to show support. Photo: Glaser
Kassia still ripped even with a rolled ankle from the skatepark the day before. Photo: Glaser
Despite rolling her ankle skateboarding the day before competition, Kassia Meador still ripped in the small, windy surf. Photo: Glaser
Jared Mell and the legendary Herbie Fletcher get ready for their second heat. Photo: Glaser
Jared Mell and the legendary Herbie Fletcher get ready for their second heat. Photo: Glaser