Being a contest director is one of the most stressful behind-the-scenes jobs you can do; especially when you’re introducing a new style of contest that counts on 40 people to show up and at the same time, introducing them to a new format, a new judging criteria, and a whole new scoring system. If one guy doesn’t show it could mess up the whole flow of the contest. Not to mention, you have to count on Mother Nature to provide you with waves that are rideable and most of all contestable. After seeing the surf the night before the contest, the waves were my biggest monkey wrench in the whole plan. You really don’t want to ask the athletes in your event to drive three hours on the highway to come surf ankle high slop, especially when you have talent like Corey Lopez, Jesse Hielman, Dave Speir, and Blake Jones making that drive.
When the sun bust through the horizon on Saturday morning we were surprised to see a very fun looking waist to chest high surf grazing the south side of the Jacksonville Beach Pier. As it got later in the morning the four-man teams started to make their way onto the beach. The teams were clothing brands that Sunrise Surf Shop has been carrying for years. Each brand has a rep that visits the store many times a year to show their new lines and check on how product is selling. All the reps in Florida have been doing it forever and know each other very well. We came up with an idea to have the rep build a team and compete against other teams in a fun formatted surfing contest. The rules were simple: every team had a rep (team captain), a brand ambassador (ex: marketing director) and a team rider. The fourth surfer would be chosen at random from our Sunrise surf team. Each team would go out together in a 15-minute heat. Each surfer on the team would receive one score toward the team’s overall total. After the teams were decided, and the rules were explained, the first heats hit the water and the action began.
In the first round team Billabong posted the highest heat total with a 29.8. Right behind them and qualifying for the second round were the following teams: Lost, Hurley, Oakley and O’Neill. The second round saw some insane surfing. Corey Lopez from team O’Neill posted the highest wave of the event with a 9.5 for a barrel and two nice rail carves. When the dust settled in the second round only two teams advanced. Oakley, which had been surfing with a solid scoring team all day, and team O’Neill stood next to each other with briefcase full of money in the middle of them which would be rewarded to the winning team.
The final was a heated 20-minute bout that saw high scores coming from both teams. In the end team Oakley, which had the only father/son duo, came out on top. The team consisted of David Spier his son Blake Spier, team rider Nick Groschell and Sunrise team rider Justin Quintal. The team members walked away with $1,000 and a huge smile on their faces. After everyone left and the beach was clean, only then can a contest director sit back and give a big sigh of relief. Thanks to everyone involved and we look forward to next year’s event.
1. Oakley 27.9
2. O’Neill 25.8
9. Surf Source
*Top two results have a score due to going head to head. All other teams are placed how they finished overall.