Bobby Martinez – Surfing Magazine’s MVP
Canadian figure skaters, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Light middleweight Oscar De La Hoya against Sugar Shane Mosley. And now....this. In what's likely to go down as one of the biggest judging rip-offs in sports history, SURFING Magazine lost the inaugural Publisher's Cup by a measly half-point on Friday, held in waist-high closeouts at D Street in Encinitas.
From all indicators, it appeared as though the heavily favored SURFING staff had a lock on the National Surf League, Game-format event. They had the team spirit: a full cheering section complete with signs, uniforms and a boom-box backpack bumping Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet. They had the crew: tube-maestro Hagan Kelley, O'Side scrapper Justin Heit, Kong lovers Steve Sherman, Evan Slater and Adam Warren, fearing Frenchman Ross Garrett and the brains of the operation, coach Sean Taylor and water coach Nathan Myers. Above all that, they had the wildcard: the best surfer in California right now, 2006 WCTer Bobby Martinez.
SURFING's semifinal Game against Surfer Magazine went as smooth as a B. Martinez speed hack. Hagan, throwing big claims and sticking Alley Oops. Martinez, going Mach 10 and proving his forehand's just as lethal as his Rincon-honed backside. It was all they needed, and our heroes clearly kicked Surfer's ASG.
The final match against Oceanside's Surf Magazine proved to be a bit tighter, primarily due to deteriorating conditions and a judging scale that ranged from 3.5 to 6 (c'mon, boys, open it up a bit!)Needing to make up a half-point deficit after the first half (even though Justin "Super Slam" Heit was blatantly underscored for his three-blast combo down the beach) , Surf Magazine left it wide open with an underwhelming 25-point final score. Then SURFING's big guns came out, with Bobby doing his part right away with a J-Bay-like speed float for a 6. Warren subbed in for Sherm, and looked like Elko in the SANDS contest for a 3.5. That left our staff MVP Hagan, needing a measly 4.0 to tie and a 4.5 to win. He waited, and waited, and waited. Two timeouts and a lot of nailbiting later, it came: a semi lined-up set left. Hags took off, threw down a big, Frohoff arc, and finished it up with a power float. Easily a 4.5. And to seal the deal, Warren took off down the beach at the same time, looked like Elko at the Record Bar Pro, and absolutely one-upped his 3.5 by at least a point.
The scores for both waves? 3.5!
Shock. Horror. Disbelief.
Steve Sherman – SURFING photo editor and yoga master
The buzzer sounded with SURFING scratching its head, Surf Magazine yelling "2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?" and the judges holding up their hands, as if to say, "I don't know what to tell you guys."
"Two out of the five judges gave Adam's wave a four and two of the five gave Hagan's a four," said one. "So I guess SURFING got the short end of that one."
Did they ever. To prevent any more of these judging mishaps, we're proposing the next Publisher's Cup be held at Maverick's.
Team Challenge, anyone?
Surf Magazine 25.0
SURFING Magazine 24.5 *
[Special thanks to Jeff Cutler, the National Surf League crew, Hansen's, Dragon, DC Shoes, Nixon,, Lecucadia Pizza, Surf Magazine and yes, even the judges, for providing all the fun.]
*Currently in dispute.
Team SURFING – Out for revenge in ’06