Haakenson: Oakley seeking top high school surfers

The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge has come up with a new twist to its concept of team surfing competitions, and this one will feature some of the best high school surfers in the area.

The Oakley Orange County High School Surf Team Challenge will be held on Saturday at 54th and 56th streets in Newport, a competition with 10 of the best high school surfing teams in Southern California.

Last April, Torrey Pines High won the first high school challenge with a Southwest Region championship. The West Region title on Saturday will showcase surfers from Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, Huntington Beach, San Clemente, Edison, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Tesoro and Santa Margarita high schools. The 10th and final spot had not yet been determined as of press time.

The teams will not only compete for the West Region title, but with it comes some goodies -- $5,000 to the winning school, the money split with half going to that school's athletic department and the other half to the science department.

There also is a $1,000 prize to the most spirited team.

The high school challenge is part of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge, and this week's event (Friday and Saturday) has become a popular and fruitful contest for the surf shop teams.

This West Region contest will feature teams representing Jack's Surfboards, Huntington Surf and Sport, Surfside Sports, T. Patterson Surfboards, Katin Surf Shop, Spyder Surf, Laguna Surf and Sport, Frog House, Val Surf, Killer Dana, Becker and ET Surf.

The event series pits four-man teams — made up of two surf shop pros and two shop employees — against each other for a chance to win $10,000, an advertising spread in SURFER Magazine, and the title of best surf shop in the country. And to spice things up even more, the winning shop in each region gets a trip to Bali, Indonesia, to compete at the National Championship event in October.

The seven regions that will send a surf shop team to Bali include Southwest (San Diego), Mid-Atlantic (Outer Banks), Northeast (Maine to South Carolina), West (Orange County to L.A.), Hawaii (all islands), Southeast (Texas to Georgia) and Northwest (Ventura to San Francisco).

Last year's champion was Sweetwater Surf Shop from North Carolina.


Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, Sage Hill High in Newport Coast) will try to continue on her hot streak when she competes in the Assn. of Surfing Professionals 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France now through the weekend in Seignosse, France.

They're expecting good weather there for the event, but are keeping their fingers crossed considering what happened recently as they were setting up the event venue.

"Last Monday we already started building the site, and we suffered a 100-kilometer wind storm and 10-foot waves, and unfortunately the ocean climbed up and flooded the structure — that was our first test," said Julie Audibert, the event organizer. "We then built another dune in front of the site to protect it, and then Friday night there was a mini-tornado that ripped off some of the tents. It was quite a setback but at least now we're prepared for anything."

Conlogue won the last 6-Star event, taking the title at the Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, Australia a few weeks ago. She's also sitting in fourth place in the race for the title of ASP World Tour champion with two events remaining.


Last week in this space it was mentioned that Newport's Andrew Doheny is gracing the cover of the July issue of Surfing Magazine. And now we have another local cover boy, as San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas is on the July cover of SURFER Magazine, riding a barrel in Tahiti. Check it out at http://www.surfermag.com/videos/behind-the-cover-9.


Kelly Slater was featured in the New York Times with a Q and A, and one of the questions was:

What should you know when surfing a new location?

Slater: "Know what the reefs are like and what the bottom is made of. You could paddle out over flat rock and find out it's covered with urchins. If you are in South Africa, South Australia or Northern California, you can guarantee there'll be a 'Great White factor.' You also have to look out for the locals. There's inevitably a pecking order at every break. Let the established locals do their thing and let you in when they want to."

Read the entire article at travel.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/travel/kelly-slaters-wave-finding-tips.html.

JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at joe@juvecreative.com.

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