Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Stops in Newport

The Jack's Surfboards team is crowned as the West Regional Champs

Chris Waring, Vance Smith, Bobby Okvist, and Matt Pagan, the 2012 West region champs. Photo: Hilleman

After a stacked final in Newport, the boys from Jack's Surfboards were crowned the West Regional Champs at the fourth stop of the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge. The final had four teams--all former regional champs--competing for the top spot and the expenses-paid trip to Bali for the National Championship.

With 12 surf shop teams in attendance from throughout Orange County and L.A., the competition was heated for the chance to compete at Keramas for a shot at the $10,000 grand prize. 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.

At 54th St., a barrage of waves in the last ten minutes of the heat saw the lead switch three times during the Final. It was Bobby Okvist, riding for Jack's, who clinched the win, linking five turns together on a doubled-up left for a late 7.33. Okvist followed up his teammate Chris Waring's whammied 5.53 in response to a late 7.67 by Spyder Surf's Kelly Zaun and an 8.5 from Katin Surf Shop's Tanner Hendrickson--the highest scored wave of the entire event. The score pushed their team total score to 27.72, defeating rival Katin Surf Shop by a mere four tenths of a point.

A string of waves from Bobby Okvist in the waning minutes of the Final proved to be the difference for the Jack's team. Photo: Hilleman

"Bobby came in at the end, and just blew up," said Jack's teammate Matt Pagan.

"The waves were pretty bad, so were just trying to get quick waves off the start," said Bobby Okvist. "I had a lot of time, because they did their part, got good scores, and got finished really fast. I just took my time, got good waves, and linked one all the way to the inside."

"I was pretty nervous," added Okvist. "I was shaking bad, but after I got my second wave, it was all good. So excited for Bali."

A coincidentally well-timed lag in the judges' scoring system at the end of the final left the surf shop teams waiting in suspense at the podium, where the boys from Jack's eventually stepped up to raise the trophy and receive their loot. With their win, the Jack's team earns an all-expense-paid trip to Bali, custom Oakley sunglasses and gear, 59 custom New Era Jack's hats, a three month supply of Muscle Milk, and a shop profile in an upcoming issue of SURFER.

Katin's Tanner Hendrickson en route to his whammied 8.5 in the Final, the highest score of the day. Photo: Hilleman

The next morning saw the second stop of 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. Newport's Harbor High took top honors for the groms, taking home the priceless local bragging rights as well as the purse and Oakley gear. Half of the check from Oakley will be donated to their school's athletic department, and the other half to their science department.

The Newport Harbor High crew, Will Laidlaw, Colin Moran, Ryan Croteau, and Blake Davis. Photo: Hilleman

"There was a lot of competitive energy flowing and we were stoked to be apart of it," said Newport's coach Matt Burns. "That Final was intense. The boys were dialed in and surfed perfectly. Their patience and quality decisions were clutch. I'm super proud of the team and happy to have the bragging rights."

The next stop on the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge is in Hawaii at Ala Moana on July 6. It's the fifth stop of seven on the regional tour, which culminates in Bali on October 6.


Off to the races for the second semifinal at the Oakley High School Challenge. Photo: Hilleman

Katin's Alex Gullett follows blows through the lip in the heated final. Photo: Hilleman

Christian Saenz of Huntington Surf and Sport finishes off on the inside at 54th St. in Newport. Photo: Hilleman

Matt Pagan of Jack's Surfboards goes vertical on his forehand in the second semifinal. Photo: Hilleman

HSS's Jake Saenz flicks this air reverse to finish and notch a 7.27 during the Final. Photo: Hilleman

To find out more about the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge visit surfshopchallenge.com.