The Krash Nationals USA held its opening round of the 2014 freeride season at the Grayland Open in Grayland, Washington this past weekend. With a field of 40-plus strong competitors across the five classes: Rookies, Amateur, Pro, Masters, Runabout and a Pro Jam, everyone knew it had the ingredients for a weekend full of spectacular riding.
The conditions for the duration of the weekend were challenging with a small inconsistent swell for the most part but the event was blessed with clear sunny conditions and moderate winds.
The contest was judged on a similar format to the one used at the IFWA and Krash Nationals Australia, which consists of 50-percent surf riding and 50-percent aerial tricks (apart from the Rookie class which was only judged on surf riding and nose stabs).
The score card shows numerous boxes for aerial tricks, each box has a category for height, difficulty, execution, body extension and number of limbs off the craft. Surf riding on the other consists of open face riding being the lowest all the way through to trick re-entries and tube riding being the highest, and at the end of each criteria a calculator to work out the overall scores.
The Pro field consisted of riders like Jake Montandon, the reigning world champion who made the trip from South Africa to familiarize himself with his new Blowsion-built Krash Predator and get in some vital training leading up to Surf Slam next month in Oregon.
Tanner Thomas made the trip down from Ketchikan, Alaska after a long winter to get back in the surf and begin his assault on the US freeride scene over the coming months.
The Bright brothers didn’t disappoint with some of their signature moves on display, Jake absolutely sending it in the Pro Jam with one of the biggest corked-out underflips that any of the judges have ever seen, followed by a wicked flex roll to take it out; and Zack doing a clean barrel roll re-entry on one of the larger sets of the weekend to put him in a close second in the Pro Jam and third overall in the Pro Class.
Pete McAfee was a true inspiration in the Pro class over the weekend, throwing can-can flips throughout the opening heats, proving himself to be a real contender in this year’s championship.
The Lawlor brothers were there after taking out the Grayland Open in 2013 and were pretty keen to take it to the Pro class and put their skills on display. Randy unfortunately, just dipped out in the opening heats by the slimmest of margins but definitely showed he will be a force to be reckoned within years to come.
Brandon – after taking out the UK National Round in June – was quick to stamp his authority on the Pro class with an array of difficult aerial maneuvers combined with some fluid surf riding, putting him in the finals on Sunday and in contention for some valid points.
Our weekend announcer, Mr. Mark “Hollywood” Gomez also graced the scene as someone that has obviously been doing some serious training leading up to this year’s season. Mark not only took out the “Best Trick” of the contest with a double can-can flip but also won a closely-contested final with Brandon Lawlor. Both riders took to the water for their 8 minute final in tricky 2-3 foot conditions with intent to be crowned the Round 1 winner.
Brandon opened up strong with some very clean Madonna flips and one-foot, one-handed rolls while Mark opted to get some strong electric surf riding on the board. As the heat reached the 6 minute mark and both riders looking tied for points, Mark launched a big and perfectly executed scarecrow barrel roll, soon after that, Hollywood was spotted kneeling in his tray and setting his flip bars up, as the judges looked on in anticipation to see whether he could pull something miraculous out of the bag to tip the scales in this closely contested class.
He didn’t disappoint. With a minute to spare, Mark did the seemingly impossible in the tough conditions and not only did one but two double can-can flips to seal himself on the top of the box. Big congrats go out to Mark Gomez full pulling down the Pro class win at the first round of the Krash Nationals tour.
The Amateur class had one of the largest fields and some great up and coming talent. Danielle Lawlor lived up to the Lawlor name and charged her way through the opening heats, but found herself stepping off of her Rickter in two of the most spectacular bails we saw all weekend and earning herself the Gnarliest Wipeout award.
The finals between Dane Dials and Jerry Cox was another hotly contested round with both riders going straight at it after the sound of the horn, racking up valuable surf riding points with Dane opting to go for some flips at the half way point to secure his win in the class and earn himself our other top prize of $500 to be spent at DASA. Jerry with some flips also but it wasn’t quite enough to take the top spot.
In the Rookies class we had Curtis Marker, Donovan Issac, Demian Morgan and Ky Hyytinen making up the Top 4 and really showed great surf riding for being in the beginner class. The two young guns, Demian and Donovan prevailed and put on a great exhibition in the finals. Young Donovan opened every wave he could find on his dad’s borrowed ski but it wasn’t quite enough to topple Demian who showed fantastic skill as a surf rider. Displaying her ability to do nose stabs in both directions, she earned the top spot by the slimmest of margins.
The Grayland Open, by design, is geared toward the young and beginning riders. As the winner of the Rookie class, Demian was awarded the top prize for the weekend which was donated by Xscream. She was given a complete adjustable handle pole, steering, bars and mount set up. She was super stoked but very humble to receive such an awesome prize at her first competition. She showed great character along with solid riding ability all weekend and is for sure a future star in this sport.
The Masters displayed true superiority in the ocean with their years of experience. Jay who rode in three classes and took out the top spot, Rick Pearce a former Canadian Freestyle Champion both barrel rolling and back flipping his way through the heats and taking out third, Chris Batten of Idaho who up until the weekend hadn’t performed a backflip but dug deep in the semis to complete two and go on to finish second.
We also saw the return of the runabout class with Jason Lindstrom grabbing some huge air and variety of aerial tricks to take out first, Crescent City freerider Roy Rook on his X2 wasn’t to be out done and with some of the most intense surf riding ever seen in the run about class, took out second followed by Eric Wilson showing some quick surf maneuvers and airs on his Sea-Doo XP.
All in all, it was a fantastic turnout for the 2014 Grayland Open and the first round of the Krash Nationals USA some new faces and some old. Extremely well organized by Dan Lingren and Chris Farell. A huge thanks to Chris and Maria Tiffany at the Cranberry Road winery for his exceptional sound system, breakfast burritos, pizza and winery for hosting us every night and feeding us every day.
A big thanks goes out to all the sponsors for supporting the Krash National Tour and the Grayland Open: Krash Industries, Liquid Militia, Tyler Rental, Cranberry Rd. Winery, Bennet’s restaurant, Blowsion, Hydro-turf, DASA, TC Freeride, Pape Rents, Westport Inn, Xtreem Throttle, Grays Harbor Tourism, House Brothers Const., 105.7 The Jet, Westcoast Surf Riders, Pro Rider Magazine, Wetracer Magazine and The Watercraft Journal.