Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, Saturday, May 15th 5:40 P.{{{M}}}. – After a waveless 2nd quarter for visiting team San Diego on Friday, day one of the Billabong Game Weekend continued today as both teams vied for their first win in the series with Santa Cruz losing by a mere 4.5 points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, SD: {{{164}}}.25 to SC: 159.75.

Wave conditions at 6 a.m. Saturday morning were equally unfavorable as Friday afternoon, forcing another delay as the game continued where Friday left off at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Conditions today were waist to shoulder high waves on a dropping tide with long periods in between sets. Santa Cruz entered today’s second quarter with a lead of 7 points over San Diego, (SC: 49- SD:42). Santa Cruz’s Adam Replogle, Kieran Horn and Taylor {{{Fox}}} led SC with double digit combined best wave scores over 10 points. With dire wave conditions, quarter times were lengthened to 30 minutes to accommodate the long lulls allowing SC to unweight themselves with a solid 40.5 2nd quarter score. Already at a deficit, San Diego led by lightweight goofy footer Rob Machado, began the bottom of the 2nd quarter with Machado’s inside right hander close to the rocks. Dane Johnson immediately followed, knowing he had to capitalize on any wave that was coming his way as he tried to generate speed to finesse his way through the dense kelp beneath the surface of the water. Rob Machado positioned himself deeper inside in front of the rocks as onlookers overhead watched as Machado slingshoted himself into a huge backside snap back into the foam, taking him further on the inside as he threw a frenzy of more snaps and a stylish cutback. Machado’s wave scored a 6.0 as teammate Dane Johnson scored a best wave of 6.25 ending the San Diego heat with a combined total of 39.75 points and trailing behind Santa Cruz by 7.75 points overall.

Santa Cruz’s Josh Loya responded in the 3rd quarter with one of the longest rides of the day, starting deep inside and powering through as local Santa Cruz fans clad in red, cheered loudly. Loya scored a 5.75 as Jason ‘Ratboy’ Collins took off on a slow wave cruising down the line until busting out a magnificent light footed front side 360 air reverse. Ratboy’s wave would only score a 4.75, but he would earn the most radical maneuver award for the game. With no waves in sight, SC coach Alistair Craft called a strategic timeout lasting the full five minutes. As soon as the horn signaled the end of the timeout, a full set rolled through with powerhouse surfer Randy Bonds flaring up off the bottom turn followed by a calculated cutback. Josh Loya followed with a low compact profile into a smooth turn through a hook. Meanwhile out the back, Josh Mulcoy was able to improve his score to a 3.75 with a solid slash. However the low wave opportunities garnered only a 33.25 quarter score for Santa Cruz. Hoping that San Diego would experience similar unluckiness, SC watched closely as SD set out with the crew of Jeremy Sherwin, Che Stang, Layne Harrison and Dean Randazzo. Immediately into the grace time period, Dean Randazzo began the heat with a massive fan of spray as Layne Harrison snapped off the lip on the second wave of the set. Randazzo’s first wave would be later wiped out as he threw 2 powerful turns rendering him a 5.0 score. Jeremy Sherwin would catch another solid wave but would lose his board to the white water as many of the surfers opted for no leashes to better navigate the dense kelp. As Sherwin began swimming in from the inside, the SC dugout went into cheers as this would be a favorable SD error to Santa Cruz’s benefit. However it was teammate and small wave specialist Che Stang who would contribute the highest combined wave score (12.75) as Stang wrapped around to the inside and threw powerful spray as he snapped off the lip using the foam to propel him past the rock section near the outline of the cliff. With Randazzo’s 7.5 second best wave and Layne Harrison’s score, the SD team overshadowed their opponents with a third quarter score of 43 to SC’s 33.25 and an overall lead of only 2 points for San Diego.

With Santa Cruz’s exuberant local crowd supporting the ‘Red Rage’ as announcer Sal Masekela coined, the new name would best describe SC’s 4th quarter push to win at home. Adam Replogle would start the heat with a slash on the inside and milking the wave for all it was worth with several snaps while trimming all the way to the end of the wave. Taylor Fox would unleash an angry slash while maintaining a smooth fluid style through the inside section. A long lull quickly engulfed the group, as SC called a timeout. During this timeout, Santa Cruz’s guerilla mascot emerged with several beautiful women clad in red SC shirts and hats. To much of the crowd’s delight, the real omen of support was perhaps aided indirectly by their mascot as one of the biggest sets of 3 waves arrived with the timeout ending. Kieran Horn took off with a deep agitated bottom turn fully railed followed by a spectacular vertical snap off the lip, exposing full fins. Taylor Fox sped through the line and generated 2 huge turns on the outside. Substitute Taylor Smith got bogged down but was able to capitalize on the opportunity in these dire wave conditions. Santa Cruz would finish their final quarter with combined total of 37 points and overall score of 159.75 points. SD would need a score over 35 points for the bottom of the forth quarter to defeat Santa Cruz. To much of the SC’s dismay, San Diego would enter the water with a flurry of waves after long flat spells experienced by Santa Cruz. Superstar Rob Machado performed a perfectly calculated backside 360 reverse and scored a 7.0. Unlike a normal contest, the game format would pull the best out of the SD crew as they helped each other to best maximize another long lull. Coach David Barr would call a solid time out with Dane Johnson throwing a stylish roundhouse scoring a 5.25. Austin Ware and Kyle Knox would contribute to an SD push that would have both announcers Sal Masekela and Brad Gerlach reporting that Santa Cruz was only leading by .75 points (SC: 159.75 to SD: 159) with 8 minutes to go. As several minutes passed, the 6 minute mark saw a set roll through providing key waves for Dane Johnson, Kyle Knox and Austin Ware. Rob Machado would score another 7.0 granting him the game MVP with the highest combined game score of 25.75 points. This miraculous window of opportunity gave San Diego a 4th quarter score of 39.5 to SC’s 37 score, defeating Santa Cruz by 4.5 overall points, SD: 164.25 to SC: 159.75.

The Billabong Game Weekend is the third stop of the 2004 National Surf League California Cup. Today’s postponement will see series leaders Orange County challenge Santa Cruz on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. and Ventura County vs. Santa Cruz later in the afternoon at 1 p.m depending on wave conditions. For photos from NSL photographers please go to

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