Dylan Graves wins the 7th Annual Nixon Surf Challenge

Text by Mike Murciano

San Sebastian, Spain- Puerto Rican Surfer, Dylan Graves, walked away the winner of the 7th Annual Nixon Surf Challenge in San Sebastian’s Playa La Zurriola this past weekend (September 29-October 1). Tahiti’s Hira Teriinatoffa placed 2nd followed by European’s, Gony Zubizarreta and Fredo Robin, who placed 3rd and 4th respectively. All had been finalist in years passed, except for Graves, who was attending the event for the first time.

The surfers arrived at Playa La Zurriola where the late morning conditions were a contestable 2-3 foot with light, offshore winds. With the event called on, the first round of riders hit the water of this peer judged event and the start of The Surf Challenge was quickly underway. The conditions improved throughout the day going from 2-3 foot high tide peaks to 3-5 foot low tide wedges in the afternoon for the final.

The event saw amazing surfing from everyone who attended but there were some obvious standouts. Mike Gleason (USA) from New Jersey threw out some of the more aggressive turns of the event and made into the quarterfinals. Also making his way into the quarterfinals was Jonathon Gonzales (CAN) who stole the show with some incredibly powerful surfing mixed with new-school aerials and Michel Bourez (TAH) proved to us why he is considered a world-class surfer. Casey Brown (HAW) also made his presence known by dismantling his peers with his amazing contest prowess. Brown, one of the youngest invitees at the event, turned heads as he made his way into the semi-finals.

This year’s final was one of the more memorable ones and incredible surfing went down. At the one-minute mark it was a tie between Teriinatoffa and Graves. With more time needed to settle the final outcome, and because of the peer-judging format of the contest, another 5 minutes was added to the heat to determine who would take home the title.

Graves capitalized on the extra time, landing a large sideways air reverse and gave the judges no option but to give him the title for the 7th annual Nixon Surf Challenge.

Graves was awarded a 5000 Euro check and had this to say, “This was a great event! There are so many aspects that go into making this fun. You definitely don’t go into this contest stressing out. If you loose, you kick back drink a beer with your friends and laugh about it. If you win, you buy your friends a beer and laugh about it. The surfing is just a small part of what makes this event great. It’s just everything blended together: culture, surfing, nightlife, food, people, everything”.

1st Dylan Graves
2nd Hira Teriinatoofa
3rd Gony Zubizarreta
4th Fredo Robin

Benjamin Sanchis (FRA)
Fredo Robin (FRA)
Eric Rebiere (FRA)
Gony Zubizarreta (ESP)
Derek Dunfee (USA)
Mike Gleason (USA)
Dylan Graves (PTR)
Casey Brown (HAW)
CJ Kanuha (HAW)
Ian Rotgans (USA)
Jonathan Gonzales (CAN)
Hira Teriinatoofa (TAH)
Alain Riou (TAH)
Michel Bourez (TAH)
Reubyn Ash (UK)
Eli Mirandan (USA)
Ethan Egiguren (ESP)
Fabrice Gelez (FRA)
Jason Griffith (USA)
Norman Landa (ESP)
Asier Ibanez (ESP)
Jaime Aspiroz (ESP)
David Grandville (ESP)