After a week near-perfect conditions in Saladita, the most celebrated longboarding gathering south of the border culminated in macking, well-overhead surf as Hawaiins Kaniela Stewart and Honolua Blomfield edged out more than 140 (80-plus men and 60-plus women) of the best longboarders in the world at the fifth annual Mexi Log Fest in Saladita. This year's contest arguably featured the most-stacked field in the event’s history, as an international contingent of well-known and underground loggers descended on Saladita's famed left-hander, including world title holders and/or current frontrunners (Steven Sawyer, Honolua Blomfield, Chloe Calmon), legends (Dane Perlee, Jimmy Gamboa, Kassia Meador), perennial Duct Tape invitees (Karina Rozunko, Nathan Strom, Troy Mothershead, Hallie Rohr) and countless young up-and-comers who'll undoubtedly be making noise on the classic longboarding scene in the years to come.
With each competitor surfing three 25-minute heats over the course of 6 days, the event's unique format, the quality and length of rides (an average ride clocked in a few ticks over 90 seconds), along with the sheer volume of world-class surfers made the judge's task of narrowing the massive field down to 32 for the men's and women's quarterfinals a tall order. But by the time the finals rolled around on Sunday, there was little doubt that the eight competitors set to paddle to the top of the point deserved to be there.
In the women’s final, Blomfield surfed with composure, standing stoically while noseriding high up on the 6- to 8-foot faces, and took down Brazil's Chloe Calmon, Laguna Beach youngster Avalon Gall, and Meador in what was one of the most compelling finals ever at the Mexi Log Fest. Each surfer linked critical noserides, sharp rail work and, most importantly for a classic logging contest, did it all with no shortage of stylistic flair.
On the men's side, after surfing flawlessly throughout the event by linking technical switch-foot noserides with powerful arcs in pocket, San Onofre's Kevin Skvarna was the favorite heading into the final. But Kaniela Stewart, who spent more time on the nose in the final than most did in an entire week in Saladita, displayed poise and timing, catching the first wave of the best set of the heat roughly 10 seconds in, before proceeding to hang ten through the most critical sections of the large, windblown wall. The youngster from Oahu's South Shore edged out Skvarna, Corwall's Mike Lay, and Maui's Noah Shimabukuro to take home the top spot and a cool $6K.
We'll have more from the Mexi Log Fest, including a video recap in the coming days. Stay tuned.