Tierra Del Mar was the place to be September 11th to 13th, big waves, massive air, backflips, barrel rolls and a camaraderie like no other, combined to make one unforgettable weekend! Over 40 competitors from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada came together to compete for cash purses, prizes, and points towards the IFWA World Championship as well as the Blowsion Surf Slam Championship
Surf Slam 2015 kicked off Friday, September 11th with pre-qualifying rounds for all competitors, including the all new Rookie class. This was the first year that a Rookie class was offered at Surf Slam and brought a total of 12 young competitors from the US and Canada to the event.
We had a little morning fog until around 11 am when the sun finally broke through and competition got under way. The surf was powerful in the inner sets with big rollers in the back. There were a lot of new rookie riders at the slam this year, taking advantage of the newly created Rookie class. There were also a lot of new riders in the Amateur class. This made for some great entertainment as most people that follow the sport were not sure what to expect from the young riders. They did not disappoint!
Some honorable mentions for the weekend include the whole ragtag freeride crew that drove over all the way from New York including James Juvet, John Tetenes and Thomas Scaccionoce. Thomas may have thrown the biggest backflip in recent competition history on his water logged stock stroke 850-powered Rickter FR-2. Thomas absolutely sent it during the big air contest! That megaflip would put Thomas on the top podium spot of the K&S Big Air Showdown with a big fat $500 cash prize.
Young Rookie rider Sean Starr of California put a great show on for his first year of competition. The weekend prior to Surf Slam, Sean blew the motor up on his trusty square nose during a practice session in Pismo. He was able to get another motor in his ski in time only to then break his hull with no time to repair. With the help of his friend Trevor and T.C. Freeride, Sean was able to borrow a well set up Rickter Edge and competed all weekend on a borrowed ski. Sean would go on to win the Rookie contest with his aggressive surf style and aired out re-entries and he has already set his sights on the Amateur class for 2016. Watch out guys, he’s coming for you!
Saturday started bright and early with a rider’s meeting followed by a qualifying round consisting of 10 heats of 6 minutes each. Next was the Last Chance Qualifier, which was 5 heats at 6 minutes each followed by a lunch break. Three of the competitors from the Last Chance Qualifier moved on to the 1/8 final (Brandon Lawlor, Christian Young and James Juvet was the wild card). After lunch was the 1/8 finals and all remaining Amateur heats. Props to the three woman competitors this year; Baylee Jones in the Rookie class and Demian Morgan and Danielle Lawlor competed in both the Amateur and Pro classes.
Another standout rider in the Amateur class was legendary racer and Blowsion mechanic Jordan Fielder from the UK. This was Jordan’s first competition in freeride but you would never know it. He has obviously been practicing and was able to pull out the win in the amateur class among some really talented up and coming and experienced riders. Hopefully Jordan keeps going with freeride and we see more competition in Jordan’s future.
Sunday brought the 1/4 finals, 1/2 finals, final round and consolation as well as the Big Air Showdown. We saw good friends Zack Bright and Mark Gomez battle it out in the quarter finals with Zack advancing to the semis. Sunday also brought the only swamped ski of the weekend. Big shout out to the safety crew for recovering Darin Anderson’s ski after a monster re-entry with an off kilter landing in the mosh pit during the semi final round and to his crew for getting him back on a ski for the remainder of his heat.
Zack Bright and Brock Taylor advanced to the finals for a showdown between the Aussie and the American. During this 10 minute heat, Brock busted out some huge airs along with a ruler flip. Brock must have a few screws loose or basketballs between his legs because that trick is insane! Pictures do not do the ruler flip justice.
As the heat went on, Zack put on an absolute surf clinic, launching the cleanest big wave re-entries of the weekend and stomping out aerials one after another. It must have been a close heat but when the results were tallied, Zack would come out on top and be crowned champion of surf slam among the best riders in the world.
Zack took some time off from competition and the IFWA this year to start his new business (Ruthless Unlimited) but do not count him out! There is no doubt that Zack is very much still a top rider in the world and he proved that at the 2015 Blowsion Surf Slam. A well deserved congratulations to ZB for finally taking that coveted top spot!
Another big congratulations to all of the IFWA tour competitors that worked so hard all year to claim their spots. This year has had some really crazy progression and one of the innovators and hardest working guys in competition, Mark Gomez was crowned the IFWA 2015 World Champion. No one deserves this more, and Mark is a class act both on and off of the water. Following close behind Mark on the IFWA podium was Abraham Ho (second) and Mick Anthony (third) who have both been working so hard and throwing down at every contest in hopes to place among the top riders in the world. It was pretty awesome to see riders from three different countries taking out the top spots. We have some great riders and people to look up to on the IFWA podium.
It was a great weekend and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year! If you have not made this event yet, make plans for next year. You will NOT be disappointed! This year’s sponsors included Blowsion, Pape Rentals, K&S Kuwait, Hydro-Turf, TruckBoss, IJSBA, On Course Events, Jet Tribe, Jet Pilot, Fiberlay, ODI, Fullgaz, New West Technologies, DASA, Jetinetics, Tillamook Country Smoker, Skat-Trak, Jet Import France, Fly Racing,Tau Ceti, Pod4Print, ADA racing, Gasket Technologies, Goggle Grip, Novi Jet, Bogwater Brewery, Jetski Club.AU, MFJfoto.com, DP Producciones, IFWA, HyderGraphics, and PDX wraps.
There were also several local businesses that offered their support A big thank you goes out to On Course events, all of the IFWA crew and judges who also work very hard to make the competition run as smooth as butter. A big thank also you goes out to John Dady and all the crew at Blowsion who work tirelessly leading up to and during Surf Slam to make it the premier freeride competition in the world. Without Blowsion we wouldn’t have this awesome showcase of the sport of freeride.
Final Surf Slam Results: Pro: 1. Zack Bright, 2. Brock Taylor, 3. Bruno Jacob, 4. Darin Anderson, 5. Mark Gomez; Amateur: 1. Jordan Fielder, 2. James Juvet, 3. Thomas Scaccianoce; Rookie: 1. Sean Starr, 2. Edgar Quezada, 3. Nicholas Collins; K&S Big Air: 1. Thomas Scaccionoce, 2. Mark Gomez, 3. John Tetenes; IFWA Pro Class Season Results: 1. Mark Gomez, 2. Abraham Hochstrasser, 3. Mick Anthony, 4. Bruno Jacob, 5. Brody Copp
Additional text provided by Dan Lindgren