SURFER Magazine is pleased to announce that the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship at Playa Colorado in Rivas, Nicaragua, on October 24, 2018 has been won by Surf Ride Oceanside of the Southwest region. Surf Ride secured the coveted title of America's Most Core Surf Shop in a thrilling down-to-the-wire battle with nationals finalists Sunrise Surf Shop (SE), Huntington Surf & Sport (W), and Hi-Tech Surf Sports (HI).
Six teams earned an all-expense-paid journey to the world-class Central American surfing destination after winning a regional qualifier event. A seventh and final spot was selected through the 2018 GoPro Wildcard Contest online voting poll. The 2018 championship event consisted of teams representing Sunrise Surf Shop (SE), Surf Ride Oceanside (SW), Berdels (NW), Huntington Surf & Sport (W), Hi-Tech Surf Sports (HI), 7th Street Surf Shop (NW), and Secret Spot Surf Shop (Wildcard).
In pumping 4-7ft surf with offshore breezes, the seven quads took to the water at Playa Colorado. After two preliminary heats and a last chance qualifier, Surf Ride Oceanside, Huntington Surf & Sport, and Hi-Tech Surf Sports would have the chance to knock out 5-time Shop Challenge Champion veterans, Sunrise Surf Shop.
Defending 2017 champs Sunrise Surf Shop took a commanding lead early and found themselves sitting in first place with a 31.96 total heat score in the closing moments of the final. With under two minutes remaining Surf Ride Oceanside's final surfer Christopher Murnane needed a 4.98 while Huntington Surf & Sport's Taylor Pai needed a 5.07. In a dramatic finish Christopher Murnane was able to secure a 5.07, catapulting Surf Ride Oceanside into the top spot with a final heat score of 32.06.
"We started it off super slow," explained Surf Ride's whammy surfer Gabe Garcia, "and then our boy Chris came in and dropped the 5 to get us in the winning spot right at the end!" Surf Ride team rider Dayton Silva continued, "It's been so much fun and we're stoked to be bringing the trophy home!"
Congratulations to Surf Ride Oceanside team members Simon Hausmaninger, Gabe Garcia, Dayton Silva, and Christopher Murnane on their 2018 OSSC Championship!
Special thanks to Nica Heartbeat Health Center for being onsite to provide first aid services during the event.