Just like Labor Day – it's the working man's holiday. It's that time of the year where the men and women that keep the surf industry thriving receive the same opportunity in return, and they do so at the 2008 Quiksilver Surf Shop Challenge Presented by SURFER.
While the blue-collar surf industry militia who operate stores across America typically take backseat to the more surf-famous personalities of the world, the Quiksilver Surf Shop Challenge shoves them hot beneath the lights on center stage at the Huntington Beach Pier. Although the regional representatives have already established themselves as big fish in their respective local ponds, the showdown at HB Pier put all doubts aside to declare 2008's National Champion.
In shoulder to head high, steel-skied HB, Southwestern Division Champions, Surf Ride took the top honors by defeating Heritage Surf Shop (NE), Sunrise Surf Shop (SE), O'Neill Surf Shop (NW), and T&C (Hawaii). Not only did they win bragging rights for a year, but also $10,000, a full page ad in SURFER Magazine, a VIP trip to 2008 SURFER Poll and Video Awards, an Aviso surfboard, and an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii for the In Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitational. Needless to say, the San Diegans were excited.
"It means a lot," said Chris Abad, Surf Ride's anchorman in the final heat. "We've always had a good team, but this is the first year we've put it all together and won. We're stoked."
All team members left excited about the opportunity to compete and represent their hometowns, and in that respect the event was a smashing success.
"The concept of the Surf Shop Challenge is basically for Quiksilver to give back to the surf shops that are out there representing and selling our brand," said Quiksilver's Chad Wells. "It's a great way for us to keep our foot in the sand with the grassroots and all these guys that are in the retail shops, because they're basically on the front lines in our industry."
The Surf Ride competitors had a nice wad of change at their disposal at the day's end, but with SURFER Poll looming just one night later, Chris Abad already had his fiscal planning set: "I gotta buy a new car," said Chris. "So I'll probably put it towards that and maybe have a few drinks tonight and enjoy it."