Last weekend the Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic & Brewfest ran it’s 20th annual event, marking a milestone in Oregon surfing history. No other event in the region has run as long as the Classic, and the 20th year was especially historic, as it was the first event in Oregon to introduce live scoring.
The live scoring platform allowed spectators and contestants alike to know in real time how they were doing. As soon as the judges locked in their scores for a wave, it was up on the big screen leaderboard and announced to the crowd and those in the water. This was a game changer, as during previous events, a contestant would normally have to wait a solid amount of time before they knew the results to their heat. With live scoring, competitors knew how the heat was going while they were still in the water.
The event started off on Saturday morning at 8 AM with not so great conditions, as a weekend front had settled over Oregon with unfortunate timing. Competitors were forced to try and scrounge out scores in ankle to thigh high windswell, mixed with south wind during the afternoon heats. While the surf was weak and windy, there still was a solid amount of good surfing done in the preliminary heats.
Some of the standouts of the first round were local legend Gary Hopez, with one of the highest heat totals of the day, as well as local shaper Rob Russo, who put on a show during his first heat. Brian Anderson was an early standout of the 40-49 division, and Justin Snodgrass looked like an early favorite in the 30-39 division. In the 18-29 division, Hayden Baggs and Decklyn Wood looked like the in-form surfers to beat, and in the women’s division, Amelia O’Connor, Savannah Russo and Sol Lin all won their heats in solid fashion. Kai Huggin and Tyler Quillian impressed the judges in their first round heats, and Gemma Davis, the lone girl in the 13-17 division, impressed the crowd by beating some solid surfers and advancing to the finals. The kid with parent heats rounded out the day with some of the up and coming groms of the future pulling out all the stops trying to get the top prize. This was one of the more fun divisions to watch, with the kids enthusiasm more than making up for the lack of quality conditions.
The Brewfest started mid-day, and featured beer being poured from select breweries from across the state, as well as some amazing fish and shrimp tacos from Parrilla Grill. Zugh, a local band from Lincoln City, got the crowd stoked with their funky fresh reggae jams and the beer continued flowing well after the contest was over.
Day two started off in typical northwest fashion with a waterspout touching down just south of the contest area at about 7:30 AM. A solid 30 knot south wind and rain pounded the contest area as everyone tried to set up for an 8 AM start. The contest directors made the call to delay for an hour citing terrible weather and safety concerns. Luckily, things started to clear up and the contest was able to get going at 9 AM with the semi finals for the 50-59 division. All the semi’s surfed Sunday morning were hotly contested heats, and many went down to the wire. As the sun started to creep out and the wind backed off to a manageable 10 knots out of the south, the waves actually began to get decently contestable by the time finals rolled around. During the finals, scores were announced all the way until there was 5 minutes left in the heat, leaving the final results a surprise for the awards ceremony later that afternoon.
During the 60-69 Final, Gary Hopez stole the show, and was in dominant form, leading the heat from the start and keeping his foot on the gas the whole way through. Even though you couldn’t hear the heat scores for the final 5 minutes, it was obvious Gary had it in the bag. The contest for second however was a much closer affair, with 2nd and 5th place only separated by just over 2 points.
The 50-59 Final wasn’t quite as lopsided, however Rob Russo did end up taking control of the heat and got the victory. Ben Cockroft made a solid effort and came in second, with Dayl Wood squeaking out 3rd by less than a point.
The 40-49 Final was a too-close-to-call affair, with Adam Marteeny narrowly coming out with the win with a 10.53 total score. Nathan Smith (10.40) and Tor Rockness (10.30) got the 2nd and 3rd spots.
The 30-39 Final was dominated by Mike Kitowski, who seemed to turn on another level during his final, as he had flown relatively under the radar before this heat. Brian Cramer and Justin Snodgrass battled for second, with Brian just barely getting the nod (10.43 to 10.37).
During the 18-29 Final, many assumed Darren Lundquist (last years winner), was going to run away with the heat. While he put in a solid effort with one of the highest heat totals of the event (14.27), it was Hayden Baggs impressing the whole beach and stepping it up another level, scoring an even 15.00 heat score for the win. Decklyn Wood rounded out the top three.
The Women’s Final was an exciting heat to watch, with April Cockroft and Amelia O’Connor going back and forth the entire 20 minutes. April got the nod in the end by just over a point (11.87 to 10.34). Leslie Palotas made a solid effort in the end of the heat to move herself up in to the third spot.
The 13-17 Final was super close, with Kai Huggin taking out the win, and Gemma Davis and Justin Buford coming in 2nd and 3rd. The entire field of 6 was only separated by less than 3 points.
Some major standouts of the second day were Hayden Baggs, Darren Lundquist, Gary Hopez, Kai Huggin, Gemma Davis, Mike Kitowski, Adam Marteeny, Rob Russo, April Cockroft, Ameila O’Connor, and Michael Harrington. Also, Bodie Von Allmen and Taylor Tice impressed the entire beach by going out into challenging conditions in the 12 & Under category and making it look easy!
Overall, the 20th Annual Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic was another one for the books, and it was the perfect year to push Oregon’s contest standards to a whole new level. We can’t wait for next year to keep progressing!
If you would like to check out the heat scores and results, please go to:
All photos by Cortney White
12 and Under Finals
Kid With Parent Finals
Surfboard Raffle Winner
A special thanks to our sponsors:
Moment Surf Company
Ben & Jeff's Burgers and Tacos
Parilla Gill and Jefe’s Fish Tacos
Anderson Wood Surfboards
Inn at Cape Kiwanda
Cottages at Cape Kiwanda
Shorepine Vacation Rentals
Oregon Coast Security
Coast Commerce Solutions
Nestucca Valley Sanitary Service
Creatures of Leisure
T&L Septic Service
Twist Wine Bar
SP Miller Consultants
Lib Tech Waterboards
Jarett Juarez Photography
Todd Fischer Art