San Clemente, CA (August 31, 2011) - Team O'Neill is back. After a two-year hiatus from the Nationals in Huntington Beach, the 2007 and 2008 Northwest champions arrived to Steamer Lane today in fine form and took the Regional win.
Kicked off amid a fresh, 4- to 6-foot southwest swell, SURFER Magazine's Oakley Surf Shop Challenge produced plenty of surf for the competitors to dig in to. With a swell expected to arrive the day after the contest, Mother Nature delivered early as contestants showed up at the Lane to see sets stacking and the best swell Santa Cruz has seen in weeks.
Heat one featured teams Channel Islands, Pacific Wave, Nor Cal, Liquid, and One Way. Team Pacific Wave had a solid handle on the lead with standout performances by Tyler Smith and Randy Bonds. However, on the back end of the heat, things got a little slow and their fourth team rider in the lineup, Willie Eagleton, wasn't able to find a wave that would contribute to the team's bottom line. This allowed Channel Islands' whammy surfer, Nat Young, to capitalize on a perfect, little 4-footer that netted him 8 points (16 points with the double whammy score) for his efforts, taking team Channel Islands to the win of heat one with a total of 33.56 points over Pacific Wave's 31.96.
Heat two consisted of teams Arrow, Revolution, On the Beach, Rincon Designs, and O'Neill Surf Shop. Team O'Neill got off to a quick lead with Brad Fox scoring a 7.5 and an 8.5 on his first two waves, leaving the rest of the teams fighting for second for the remainder of the heat. Jason "Ratboy" Collins, who was O'Neill's whammy surfer, was able to push their lead even further with a tube to flare-up that resulted in an 8.5 (17) point ride. In the end it was teams O'Neill and Revolution who were able to put themselves in the final against Channel Islands and last year's champs, Pacific Wave.
The final saw no shortage of action as the fresh swell continued to pulse. If that wasn't enough, the event was met by a vagrant man was lovingly referred to as "Greenough." He paddled out on a homemade body board, sans wetsuit, just to "get a closer look" at the action. Typical Santa Cruz. As Greenough looked on, team Pacific Wave made a strong push as Tyler Smith and Randy Bonds put on airtight performances that gave their squad an early lead. Team O'Neill's Brad Fox was having a hard time gathering momentum in the early part of the heat and only scored a 4 and a 5.5, forcing him to rely on his teammates to pull out the win in the back half of the one-hour final. Ratboy was able to score a solid 6-footer that offered up a nice barrel and some solid open-face turns for a total of 9.2 (18.4 whammy). Neither teams Channel Islands nor Revolution were able to keep up with O'Neill and Pacific Wave as their local knowledge of The Lane proved crucial. After all was said and done, it was team O'Neill who came out victorious with a heat total of 36.06 over Pacific Wave's total of 31.73 and re-claimed their title as Northwest Champs.
1. O'Neill Surf Shop - 36.08 (Brad Fox, Noi Kaulukukui, Jason Collins*, Tyler Fox)
2. Pacific Wave - 31.7 (Tyler Smith, Kyle Buthman, Randy Bonds*, Willie Eagleton)
3. Channel Islands - 31.6 (Pat Ecker, Nat Young*, Brandon Smith, Blake Howard)
4. Revolution - 23.46 (John Villela, Hecter Santamaria, Jake Kelley, Danny Estes*)
*Indicates team whammy-rider
For photos, video footage, results and more check out SurfShopChallenge.com.
SURFER Magazine’s OSSC event series teams shop employees with shop pros for a chance at $10,000 and the title of the best surf shop in the U.S. This year will see 280 surfers from 70 shops around the country compete at seven regional stops before culminating at the Huntington Beach pier in September for the National Championship.
All seven regional champions will be flown to Southern California on September 20-21 for the winner-take-all National Championships at the Huntington Beach Pier. The winning team will receive a check for $10,000, a trip to Surfer Poll in Hawaii and a full page ad in SURFER Magazine along with a full year of National bragging rights.
Special thanks to Oakley and other event partners Muscle Milk, New Era Caps, Futures Fins, Buell Wetsuits, and Bubble Gum Wax for all their support. Without their involvement the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be what it is today.
About Surf Shop Challenge:
Originally conceived to provide a fun and competitive format for the hardcore surf shop riders, the SURFER Shop Team Challenge was one of the most popular and exciting Southern California contests of the early 1980s. Through the years the contest has evolved, with five qualifying regional events around the country, culminating in a national championship at the famed Huntington Beach Pier in sunny Southern California. The underlying principles, however, have remained the same. The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge is still about giving back to the shops, the true backbone of the industry and the heart of the sport of surfing. Each year the competition level rises, the stakes become greater and the prizes become bigger.
About Oakley, Inc.
The global leader in performance sunglasses, goggles and prescription eyewear, Oakley also offers technical and lifestyle apparel, footwear, watches and accessories. The company was created for athletes who see impossibility as just another challenge, and their dedication inspires Oakley to seek out problems, solve with innovation and wrap invention in art. Exceeding the limits of possibility for more than thirty years, Oakley serves the demands of world-class athletes with unbeatable technologies including High Definition Optics® (HDO®). Additional information is available at www.oakley.com.
In 1960, SURFER Magazine began as the original. After a long history of delivering provocative and insightful editorial features, revealing interviews and award winning state-of-the-art photography, SURFER remains the authoritative voice of the surfing world and thus earned the moniker “the bible of the sport.” The SURFER brand has also grown to include Surfermag.com, Fantasy Surfer, and a myriad of SURFER message boards. All of these assets combine to make the SURFER network the most current and reliable channel of information to the surf community. The magazine is published by Source Interlink’s GrindMedia, which reaches more than 10 million active sports enthusiasts through an integrated network of magazines, online properties, events and television programming. For more information, visit surfermag.com
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