This year’s Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship is set to run this week at Playa Colorado in Nicaragua. Seven U.S. teams have earned an all-expense-paid journey of a lifetime to the world-class Central American surfing destination for the chance at the coveted National title. Here are shop profiles featuring four regional winners in their respective shops, looking forward to competing for a year’s worth of bragging rights as the best surf shop in the country.
SURF RIDE | Surf Ride showed their dominance in the San Diego area by winning the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Southwest Regional three years running. For years, the team has had a consistent feel, sticking with Gabe Garcia, Brent Reilly, Darrell Goodrum, and Aaron Coyle. But this year, they shook up the formula when they added a new shop employee and solid surfer to the team in Blaine Robison. Surf Ride heads to Nationals looking to better their third place finish in the 2013 and bring home a second OSSC title.
VAL SURF | The West Regional Qualifier of the 2014 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge saw Val Surf, hailing from Thousand Oaks, CA, take down a stacked field of competition at Lower Trestles, earning themselves the Regional Title for the first time. Claimed as the oldest surf, skate and snowboard shop in the world, started in 1962, Val Surf is still family owned and operated by the Richards family. The winning team consists of Andrew Jacobson, Pascal Stansfield, and Skylar and Chance Lawson.
T&C SURF | T&C Surf was victorious at the Hawaiian leg of the 2014 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge, surfing the world-class lefts of Ala Moana Bowls with poise and power. Team T&C, comprised of Dustin Cuizon, Kekoa “Bam” Bacalso, Kalei Umoto, and Travis Hashimoto, will embark on the journey of a lifetime to Nicaragua to compete for the right to be called the best surf shop in the country. We caught up with the guys to see what being a part of the shop means to them and to get their thoughts on the National Championship.
7TH STREET | The 7th Street surf shop, from Ocean City, New Jersey, earned the right to call themselves the Northeast Regional Champions for the second year in a row. After getting narrowly edged out of the National Title by Sunrise Surf Shop from Jacksonville Beach, FL in the 2013 Championships in Bali, 7th Street hopes to return the favor this year in Nicaragua. The team, made up four true shop employees, include the Kelly brothers, Rob and Chris, Sean Santiago and Brian Leiss, have found a solid formula to put points on the board and win. They’ve managed to take down favored teams like Heritage Surf & Sport, who is by far the most dominant team from the Northeast by the numbers.
Standby for profiles of the three other shops headed to Nicaragua, Sweetwater, Sunrise, and Pacific Wave.