SURFER's 2011 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge series took a few unexpected turns during the opening event at Seaside on Friday, but the surf ended up providing some rippable peaks throughout the afternoon, allowing the team from Hansen's Boardroom to pull a repeat of last year's victory.
The contest start was delayed by several hours due to a tsunami warning for the area, with competitors and spectators a bit rattled from the morning news. After everyone's collective fear was put to rest, competitors from 13 teams representing surf shops from all over San Diego County got into the fun shoulder high peaks and started taking them apart.
The first heat would see some of the fiercest competition of the entire event, with three of the four teams in that heat placing high enough scores to advance to the final. "Our team did pretty solid, mainly supported by Jake Halstead, who was our whammy surfer. On one of his waves he ended up with an 8 and did the claim. So he doubled his points and got us a 16, which we really needed to advance," said Rusty Boardroom rider Hunter Lysaught, after the impressive first heat. "Hansen's team is surfing really good out there. They won last year, but one of their guys got injured earlier. They had to find a replacement, but they still look solid."
Although Hansen's rider Mason Weiley did reinjure a hurt rib during the first heat, David Suldulnilc was able to fill in for him, and Hunter's words proved to foreshadow the event's finale. As the tide reached it's peak, the swell increased and the wind died down, providing for excellent conditions for deciding the event winner.
Hansen's, Rusty, K-5, and both Sun Diego teams entered the water for the final and put on the most impressive display of surfing of the entire event. It was a close competition between Hansen's, Rusty, and Sun Diego team #1 until the dying minutes of the event when Rusty received an interference call, and Sun Diego got docked 5 points for not having their last surfer out of the water in time. When the dust had settled, the Hansen's team took the win by just .24 points over Rusty, and earned their second first place trophy in the Southwest Division and their third victory at an Oakley Surf Shop Challenge event.
"I believe this is actually the third time that we've won one of these events. We went all the way one year, and we've been winning ever since. Now we get to compete in the national one," said Hansen's rider Eric Snortum. "If it's at Seaside again next year, I'm going to put my money on us."
1. Hansen's Surf Shop– 28.96 (Eric Snortum*, Olin bower, Mason Wellsy (injured 1st heat), JD Lewis, David Suldulnilc)
2. Rusty - 28.72 (Jake Halstead*, Hunter Lysaught, Sam Orozco, Garret Scurr)
3. SunDiego Boardshops #1- 23.86 (Sean Marceron*, Kyle Knox, Scott Hammon, Gabe Donatelli)
4. K-5 Boardshop– 15.67 (Matt Yates, Shey Yates*, Josh Sleigh, Lucas Dalager)
5. SunDiego Boardshops #2- 14.36 (Ricky Whitlock*, Nick Kovak, Bryan Guter Guy Lemieux)
*signifies team whammy-surfer
For photos, video footage, results and more check out SurfShopChallenge.com.