Surf shops converged at Seaside Reef on Friday morning for the first stop of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge, where San Diego County’s best shops competed for the opportunity to represent their region against six other regional finalists from North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, Northern California, Southern California, and Hawaii.
With waves in the waist- to chest-high range and sunny springtime vibes in full swing, the beach filled up bright and early with surfers and supporters alike. The small mix of WNW swell and small SSW swell made for a running left at Palisades and a longer right breaking out in front of the parking lot. This alone would divide surfers, making their choice crucial for their success into the final round. With the unconventional relay format, giving each team the additional option to choose a “whammy” surfer whose top score is doubled, the intensity of competition built as the heats raged on and time winded down. Upon completion of the first round, it was Surfride Oceanside, Surfride Solana Beach, Sun Diego Carlsbad, Rusty Boardhouse, and Clairemont Surf Shop who would see the final round.
As the final kicked off, it was clear that the battle would be between Sun Diego Carlsbad and Surfride Oceanside. Oliver Kurtz kicked off Surfride Oceanside’s campaign with a solid 6.93 sequence. Taylor Clarke of Sun Diego Carlsbad answered back with a 7.80, whammy-ing the wave, and the bout raged on. However, it was Surfride employee/grom Chris Murnane who pushed the team’s highest score, a 7.10 for a combo of backside turns, and gave Brent Reilly a boost going into the final leg of the rally. Brent Reilly and Ricky Whitlock took the final to the end, as Whitlock’s whipping backhand landed him a 7.03. It wouldn’t be enough for Sun Diego Carlsbad to take the lead, as Reilly finished the affair with his ultra-smooth backhand for a 6.83, giving Surfride Oceanside their fourth Southwest Regional Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Championship.
“The boys came through. I can’t believe we just combo’d the final,” said Surfride Oceanside’s Darrel Goodrum. “It’s a beautiful day and I’m just stoked to be alive.”
“Little [Chris] Murnane is the MVP. The grom stepped it up. We’re also stoked to have Oliver on the team. He was making it happen out there.” said fellow team rider Brent Reilly.
The Surfride Oceanside team will face the other regional qualifiers during the fall at Lower Trestles, where they will battle for the title of the best surf shop of America. Check back as the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge carries on around the United States.
1st: Surfride Oceanside – 34.72 pts
2nd: Sun Diego Carlsbad – 29.26 pts
3rd: Rusty Boardhouse – 26.18 pts
4th: Clairemont Surf Shop – 24.23 pts
5th: Surfride Solana Beach – 20.83 pts
Above: Four-time Southwest Champions, Surfride Oceanside. From left to right: Brent Reilly, Chris Murnane, Darrell Goodrum, and Oliver Kurtz. Photo: Burgess
Photos: Van Swae