Whether you’re full-on kooking it or flat-out ripping, there is no group more honest about the quality of your surfing than your hometown bros. So when Santa Cruz heavies Adam Replogle, Daryl “Flea” Virostko, Shawn “Barney”Barron and Anthony Ruffo all deemed Peter Mel as the winner of the second Red Bull 5X surf contest, you can consider their call indisputable.

The Red Bull 5x is a new style of contest where five competitors throw down five bucks each, surf together in one {{{90}}}-minute heat, and then watch a video of the session while judging each other on five criteria: Torque, Boost, Push, Mojo, and Combo. Afterwards, all five competitors decide on the winner, who walks off with $25 in his pocket and much props from his crew. This time around, the five NorCal compadres charged south to Puerto Vallarta where Mel emerged the star player in this tale of the tape, which is scheduled to air on {{{Fox}}} {{{Sports}}} Net on August 4 at 4 p.m. SURFING caught up with Mel, while on hiatus in Times Square, New York, to see if we could get a sneak preview of what’s to come.

SURFING: First off, congrats on the win. How important is this victory for you?
PETER MEL: It’s important because I’ve been working really hard to improve my surfing these past couple of months so it shows that my training has paid off. And as far as surfing with my peers, any one of us is a really good surfer, and it just happened that the RB5X used one of the sessions where I surfed well .

SURFING: How many sessions did you guys surf?
PM: Well, we surfed two, but the very first one we held at a beachbreak, and it instantly blew out so we all decided to blow that session off. The next one was held in better conditions. It was kind of a punchy beachbreak. — head high, a little overhead. It had some nice barrels and nice sections, so it had some variety. It had a left and rights so it was a fair playing ground for everybody.

SURFING: So, did you spend your hefty cash prize yet?
PM: [laughs] My $25 went to dinner with the boys. We’re all really good friends, and that’s what’s really neat about this type of contest format is that you can do it with any of your buddies.

SURFING: As far as traditional contest formats go, how does the Red Bull 5X compare?
PM: It’s a really good alternative to the three-to-the-beach theory. [The Red Bull 5X] allows the versatile surfer to come out because the way the format goes you’re judged on all sorts of different maneuvers. It actually pushes your surfing, too. Say a guy is known for being a carver and does really gnarly, radical turns; in order for him to win the event he also has to do airs and he also has to do maneuvers that push the limits of surfing. So you get a very entertaining type of surfing for a competition.

SURFING: I’m looking at the five judging criteria right now, could you elaborate on them?
PM: Torque is the gnarliest turn. Boost is judged on the gnarliest completed air. Then there’s Mojo, that’s just having the Mojo basically, like your getting the best waves and clicking with the spot. Push is basically pushing the limits of surfing, trying maneuvers that you would never do, and you get judged whether you complete the maneuver or not. Then there’s Combo, which is a combination of one criteria mixed with another one on a wave. Like Torque or Boost mixed together, which would mean you have a gnarly, radical turn and on the same wave you do an air at the end. At the end of the competition, [all of the competitors] rank one another in each criteria.