Joe Surf: This contest should be fun

Joe Surf: This contest should be fun
(Courtesy of Brian Bott)

The U.S. Open of Surfing will draw tens of thousands every day for a week this summer, one of the premiere surfing contests in the world in terms of money and attendance.

And then there is the contest that will take place in April, that will have no fans, no judges and no free energy drinks available.


It's the Trace Up Surf Shop Showdown, pitting six surf shops from around the country for bragging rights and a prize package of $5,000.

Orange County's surf shop representative is Huntington Surf & Sport, and they will be going against Spyder Surf Shop in Hermosa Beach, Surf Ride in San Diego, Town & Country in Hawaii, Aqua East in Florida and WRV Surf Shop in Virginia Beach.


The contest will be similar to the Trace Up Stack Up contest held in December, but that was an individual contest, while the Surf Shop Showdown features three-person teams from each shop.

HSS will be represented by Griffin Foy, Keanu Igarashi and possibly Brett Simpson. Foy, a Huntington Beach High School sophomore, won the Trace Up Stack Up contest in December and Igarashi, a couple months shy of his 14th birthday, is the younger brother of Championship Tour (CT) surfer Kanoa Igarashi.

Simpson, a two-time U.S. Open of Surfing champ and former CT surfer, has not yet been confirmed.

The contest will be judged by the Trace data device that attaches to the board. It will measure the surfers in five categories: Total number of waves, longest wave, most turns, max speed and best video with Trace data overlay. Surfers can surf wherever they want, whenever they want and as much as they want, from April 1-30.

There will be winners in each category, with the overall performance of each surfer going toward the team rankings.

"The reason we wanted to create the Surf Shop Showdown was to further showcase how Trace can be used in different formats and platforms for surfing," said Mike Schaefer, Director of Sales for Trace. "The last contest was more of an individual performance whereas this one adds the element of an overall team winner. Not only are they competing for money but also there is a bragging right and a sense of pride that goes with it. In choosing the categories for this contest format, we wanted to keep the categories specific to what makes Trace unique and special."


The National Scholastic Surfing Assn. (NSSA) held its interscholastic state championships for middle school, high school and college earlier this month down at Seaside Reef in Cardiff, with several local surfers doing well.

Huntington Beach High School sophomore Griffin Foy led the way among the locals in boys' shortboard, taking fifth place in the varsity division. Huntington's Max Seirsen placed fourth in boys' varsity longboard.

In girls' varsity shortboard, Kayla Coscino of Laguna Hills took first and Kalohe Danbara of Laguna Beach placed second.

In the junior varsity boys' longboard, Huntington's Jovan Scott-Smith took first, Brent Overst of Newport Harbor was fifth and Max Zazueta of Marina was seventh.

In the junior varsity girls' shortboard, Huntington had Hayden Rouse placed second and Chelsea Herring took third.

In the varsity team competition, Huntington took third, Laguna Beach fourth, Marina seventh, Edison ninth and Newport Harbor 11th. (San Clemente won it).

In junior varsity, Huntington took third, Marina fifth and Newport Harbor sixth.

In middle school girls' shortboard, Sowers had Summer Balentine take second and Mara Morales place third.

In middle school longboard (both boys and girls), Summer Richley of Sowers placed second and Matt Blackburn of Sowers placed fifth.

In the team rankings, Sowers placed fourth overall and Dwyer took 10th. Point Loma won the college team division.


John John Florence's wetsuit has barely dried but the World Surf League's World Championship Tour is already up and running.

Florence claimed his first world title when the 2016 season ended in December, but the world's best surfers don't need long to get back into it. In fact, they spend their off-season in the water as much as they do during the season.

The first three contests of the year are in Australia, where they can take advantage of the summer weather, starting with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The Quiksilver Pro began Wednesday, with Huntington's Kanoa Igarashi, in his second year on the WCT, matched up against San Clemente's Kolohe Andino and Australia's Jack Freestone in his Round 1 heat.

Igarashi finished third in the heat, as Andino took first and Freestone second. That moved Igarashi into an elimination Round 2.

In the women's first WCT contest, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, Santa Ana's Courtney Conlogue, a Sage Hill School alumna, won her first heat, moving into Round 3. Defending world champion Tyler Wright of Australia finished second in her three-woman heat, forcing her into an elimination Round 2 heat.


The Surf4Katie surf contest held a couple weeks ago at the HB Pier raised more than $20,000, more than double what event organizer and Edison High School senior Mary Vasquez had hoped to bring in when she began planning.

The money will help former HBHS surfer Katie Berry, 25, and her family with medical care and costs. Berry, diagnosed with Addison's disease in 2015, had a debilitating cardiac arrest in January of 2016 which has left her unable to speak and able to walk only with assistance.

The surfing community came out to help, as 85 surfers signed up for the contest. The winners included a spectacular performance by Meah Collins, who won three divisions: women's shortboard, Longboard (ages 21 and under) and Juniors (ages 15-17). The Longboard and Juniors divisions included both men and women.

Other winners included Rudy Palmboom (Men's Shortboard ages 18 and up), Jeff Newell (Longboard ages 22 and up), Keanu Igarashi (Boys 14 and under), Jeremy Nunez (Masters ages 35 and up), and Ian Delizio (Novice).

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