SURFER Magazine is pleased to announce that Pacific Wave Surf Shop of Santa Cruz has won the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Northwest regional qualifier. After failing to make the finals in 2018 and giving up the regional title to Berdels, the now six-time Northwest winners are headed back to Mark & Dave's place at Playa Colorado to compete for the National Championship.
The stage was set for the nine shops competing in stop three of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge with overcast skies and clean 2-4ft waves at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. Four squads would advance to the finals after three opening qualifier heats. The squad representing Freeline Surf Shop with Nat Young and father-son duo Peter Mel and John Mel secured the highest team score in round one with a 34.74. Channel Islands Surfboards, O'Neill Surf Shop, and Pacific Wave Surf Shop would also qualify for the final round.
During the final heat, Nat Young opened scoring for Freeline with a solid 9.7, the event's high score, but time management would prove a key strategic factor as wave conditions became a little inconsistent. As seasoned Oakley Surf Shop Challenge veterans, the squad from Pacific Wave Surf Shop managed their time well and completed the heat in first place with a total team tally of 30.3. Freeline Surf Shop threatened a close second (total 29.73) but the dwindling clock would not allow their final surfer to catch more than one score-able wave, a 2.9.
Congratulations to Pacific Wave Surf Shop team members Randy Bonds, Austin Smith-Ford, Emmett Balassone, Alessandro Slebir on their Northwest OSSC title.
"We're super excited," said Pacific Wave's Austin Smith-Ford. "It was the first year being back at The Lane and my whole team was feeling right at home. I can't believe we won, the teams were all so good this year and we had a really competitive final that came down to the wire. We couldn't be any happier and we'll see you soon Nicaragua!"
The Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award was presented to Sam Coffey of O'Neill Surf Shop for his lofty frontside air reverse to the flats in the finals.
New for 2019, the Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award is presented to the athlete who performs the most radical and progressive maneuver during competition at each event, as decided by the judging panel. Winners receive a custom 2019 Nixon Base Tide Pro watch and other Nixon accessories.
Special thanks to Oakley, SURFER and event partners Body Glove, Flexfit, Futures, Nixon, Mark & Dave's, MERGE4, Reef, and Yeti for their support, without which the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be possible.
Up next is the West regional qualifier at 54th or 56th Street in Newport, CA in Santa Cruz, CA. An official call has yet to be made for competition during the June 6-7 waiting period.