Choppy yet consistent windswell provided plenty of waves for the 14 shops that closed down Friday morning throughout the greater San Diego area to attend. The contest is a four-man rotation tag-team format, with a wildcard "whammy" rider as well. Each team member was given a three-wave maximum and needed to post a score to contribute to their heat total, with their designated "whammy" rider able to double his best score. They had 60 minutes to get all four in and out of the water.
Reigning champs Hansens Surf Shop out of Encinitas, led by surfer/shaper/whammier Ryan Burch, were back in good form to defend their title, but the SurfRide team, made up of Darrell Goodrum, Gabe Garcia, Dayton Silva, and Brent Reilly, marked their territory early and often in the final, which was highlighted by Brent Reilly's 8.05. Reilly was no stranger to the event, serving as a member of the 2008 Surf Shop Challenge national championship team for SurfRide.
"Three years ago I was on the team that won Nationals," said Reilly, "but that was in Huntington. Not quite Bali. But this is the first time with us four together, and it's a good crew."
Darrell Goodrum, who dropped a whammied 6.8 in the final, laid out their strategy pretty clearly. "Catch one and blow up, and don't turk it. To get a 5 or a 6, and you can come in. We were getting those on our first waves, so we had a lot of time."
With their win, the Oceanside team earns local bragging rights for a year, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Bali, Indonesia, custom Oakley sunglasses and gear, 59 custom New Era SurfRide hats, a three months supply of Muscle Milk, and a shop profile in an upcoming issue of SURFER.
The afternoon portion of the event introduced a new aspect of the contest, the inaugural Oakley High School Challenge, which invited local high school surf teams to compete for a $5,000 grand prize and Oakley prize pack. The increasing winds and deteriorating conditions did little to deter the local groms who got to miss class to surf, and by the final horn Torrey Pines High School took the scholastic title.
Half of the check from Oakley will be donated to their school's athletic department, and the other half to their science department. Muscle Milk tacked on an extra $1,500 check for their surf team, which combined with the Oakley prize pack and cartons of Muscle Milk sent them off with their hands full and hormones raging. Oakley also donated $1,000 each to La Costa High and Granite High's ASB for a spirit award.
The next stop on the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge is on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, for the Mid-Atlantic Regional on April 17. It's the second stop of seven on the regional tour, which culminates in Bali on October 6.
To find out more about the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge visit surfshopchallenge.com.