SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., April 23, 2012 - The Mid-Atlantic Regional of the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge surf series went down last Friday at Jenette's Pier, Nags Head, NC with Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) claiming the title. The win reserves their seats for a round trip flight to Bali for the national championship event in October, where they'll compete with six other regional champs at Keramas for a shot at the $10,000 grand prize.
The four-man team is comprised of store manager/men's buyer Kevin Hodges, WRV Surf Camp director/instructor Brendan Petticrew and teamriders Blake Jones and Mark Yonkers. The OSSC gives store employees like Hodges and Petticrew an opportunity to compete alongside ace teamriders in structured, heated competition: one round of two tag-team relay-style heats, the four teams with the highest point tallies (one score per competitor plus double for the whammy surfer's claimed wave, only tree rides allowed by surfer) advancing to the final. And the team that wins the final gets a trip to Bali to compete for $10k.
As two-time OSSC National Champions, Sweetwater Surf Shop from Wrightsville Beach, NC pretty much rendered all the other teams underdogs before the contest even started. And by the end of the first round, Sweetwater was well in the lead, 26.10, with WRV, The Pit and OBBC trailing with 22.46, 20.16 and 13.70, respectively.
By the first exchange of the final, however, returning WRV alumni and whammy surfer Blake "Hey, I surfed for them when I was 11 and have the ads to prove it" Jones posted a 7.15 off the bat for a 14.30 total, sending WRV out to an early lead and applying the pressure on remaining finalists Sweetwater, The Pit and 17th Street. Sweetwater's whammy surfer Mike Powell actually bested Blake's score, 7.9 for a total 15.8 and the highest single wave total of the event; while 17th Street's Brett Barley bettered that for an 8.57, though Brett wasn't a whammy competitor.
In the end, however, it all came down to a (virtual) man-on-man between a pair of surf camp operators: Brendan Petticrew (WRV) and Ben Powell (Sweetwater). Brendan's 4.27 left Ben needing a 5.68 wave, a wave that never came but somehow broke his board. And just like that, WRV had unseated the far-and-away favorites.
"I heard Ben Powell scream and at first I thought he was hurt," said Petticrew who paddled in from the final with 2:35 remaining to avoid a 5-point team deduction for failing to return to the dugout in time. "But once I saw him swimming, I knew we had it, so I was outta there. I plopped right down to my belly and rode the first wave I could find to the beach."
By Thursday evening, collective team sentiment was summed up by a single Blake Jones text message to Wave Riding Vehicles legacy LG Shaw: "Thank you for flying me up here, giving me three new boards, and a trip to Bali."
1. Wave Riding Vehicles (28.71 points)
Blake Jones*, Kevin Hodges, Mark Yonkers, Brendan Petticrew
2. Sweetwater Surf Shop (25.53 points)
Tony Butler, Michael Powell*, Nick Rupp, Ben Powell
3. The Pit (20.24 points)
Jason Breiholz, Pat McManus*, Thomas Bruce, Steve Pauls
4. 17th Street Surf Shop (19.76 points)
Philip Goold*, Brett Barley, Cameron Vaughne
*Indicates double-whammy surfer