For those at Moment Surf Company and who live in Pacific City, the Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic and Brewfest has become the bookend of our busy summer season. We picked the third weekend of September to run the event each year for a couple of different reasons. One, it helps generate traffic after Labor Day and the kids have gone back to school. Two, it is simply too busy during the summer and trying to run an event like this would be impossible. Lastly, we wanted a date that wouldn’t interfere with one of the other contests that are/were running in the NW. Since we picked this weekend 9 years ago, we’ve unfortunately lost the Noll Classic in Crescent City, the Rogue Gathering in Newport, and recently the Clean Water Classic in Westport. The Agate Beach Surf Classic is going strong and building lots of momentum and we hope someone will bring back one of these other contests. For now, we are locked into this date and focused on growing the Longboard Classic and raising as much money as possible for the Pacific City Skatepark!
The weather in mid/late September can be hard to predict. Sometime around this period we usually get the first storm and big swell of the season. More often than not over the past 9 years, it seems to fall on or really close to our 3rd weekend of September date. We’ve made it work each year and in true Oregon fashion, everyone involved in the contest simply deals with the adverse conditions. When the forecast for this year’s event started calling for clean conditions on Saturday followed by rain, wind and building swell on Sunday, we thought here we go again!
On the Friday of the registration party, those who arrived in town early were treated to great surf and wonderful weather. Everyone’s stoke level was increased further by the warm evening temperature and good vibes of the opening party. Jefe’s Fish Tacos were being served up and beer provided by the Pelican was being poured. It was great to see many familiar faces and meet a bunch of first time competitors. Everyone was buzzing about the surf forecast in the morning and potential for great weather all day.
Saturday did not disappoint! We experienced some of the nicest conditions we had seen in the 9 years of running the event. Everyone was ripping, the Brewfest was packed, and the dunes and beach were filled with spectators and competitors. Good vibes were being served up all day with many standout performances seen in the water. A few include local boy Justin Buford dominating his 13 to 17 year old division; Pacific City regular Paul Snodgrass showing his comfort level at this beak and winning his 60 to 69 heat easily; Lincoln City’s own Rob Russo had the highest heat score in the 50 to 59 year old division, and podium regulars Adam Marteeny and Tor Rockness ran away with their 40 to 49 heats respectively. The biggest standout of the day might have been Peru’s David Schiaffino in the 30 to 39 year old division. He won the judges over with his smooth style and ended up being awarded Best Wave of the contest for his efforts. A fair argument could be made for standout surfer for both Brian Sudlow and PC’s newest resident Cody Watten in the 18 to 29 year old division. Both won their opening heats with some of the highest heat scores of the entire event and showed a beautiful combination of classic and modern style longboarding.
We are stoked that more women than ever signed up for the event this year and hoping this continues to grow. Cathy Harding had the highest heat total from round one and unanimously won the award for Best Wave for Women. Other standouts of day one were Emily Ballard who came all the way from Canada to compete, Leslie Palotas, and Kelly Aldinger. Everyone’s favorite part of the day is when the Kids with Parent division hits the water. The stoke level is at an all-time high and everyone gathers at the water’s edge to take in the event. Best Maneuver Award went easily to Campbell Behrends who pulled off perfectly executed splits, then popped back up and rode the wave to the beach. The Most Waves Award went to Jonah Catt who did it in style with countless grab rail rides to the beach, with honorable mention to his hard working mom Beth! Overall winner was Walter Behrends, who dropped into enough open face waves to make any dedicated surfer jealous. The competition on day one ended as good as it started!
Things became worrisome late in the evening. The forecast was calling for heavy rain and strong south winds and just as predicted, it moved in. In the morning, contest organizers decided to delay the start by an hour to give themselves enough time to move the announcers and their equipment to a dryer location and clean up the contest site. This also allowed time for the tide to fill in, the winds to stop, and rain to pass over. With a whole lot of luck and a little bit of local knowledge, the ocean started to clean up and waves began to pump. By the second or third heat of the morning, the conditions were borderline amazing! Everyone was frothing and the surfing was a joy to watch. The finals of each division were extended to 20 minutes and several heats came down to the last minute. The suspense of who won was increased by the announcers suspending scoring updates with 10 minutes left and none of the scores posted on the Live Heats website. Everything was hidden until the awards presentation later that afternoon.
While the contest was going on outside, a new addition to the weekend was being run under the main event tent. Coastal Craft, celebrating surfboard craftsmen of the PNW, was added this year as a way to help raise more money for the Pacific City Skatepark. This was such an amazing event put on by so many generous people that it deserves a write-up all its own. I will be putting that together soon and sharing all of the amazing images and videos that were captured during the event. We can’t wait to share what went down!
The awards started around 4:30pm and everyone was excited to hear who won. You can see the complete list of winners here: https://liveheats.com/events/1718
Some standouts during the finals were Tober Kling and our own Haden McAllister battling it out until the final minutes of the 12 and under final. Team Riders Kai Huggin and Justin Buford going toe to toe in the 13 to 17 year olds. Justin was the clear winner in round 1, but Kai kept his winning streak alive by bettering his friend in the finals. Steve Warner beat Paul Klarin in the 70 and older division while Pete Cochran outlasted Ben Cockcroft in the 60 to 69 final. Local shaper Rob Russo not only donated another board to raffle (he has donated one every year the contest has run) but also took home another trophy in the 50 to 59 division. Tor Rockness and Adam Marteeny battled it out until the last seconds before Tor pulled away with the 40 to 49 crown. One of the closets battles of the finals happened in the 30 to 39 division with David Shaffino narrowly besting Brian Cramer, Justin Snodgrass, and Seth Morrisey. The wind turned bad for only one heat during the finals and unfortunately it was during the women’s. Cathy Harding held on during the challenging conditions and narrowly beat Kelly Aldinger, Leslie Palotas, and Amelia O’Connor. The ocean cleaned up once again just in time for the 18 to 29 final, and the competitors did not disappoint. It was one of the most enjoyable heats we’ve watched in a long time. Every surfer was ripping and the waves were firing. In the end, less than 2 points separated 1st from 6th with Max Cameron narrowly beating Deklyn Wood and Cody Watten.
We can’t thank all the sponsors enough, especially Pelican Brewery, Wilsonville Subaru, and The Foundry Clothing Company as our title sponsors. We couldn’t begin to put this event on without the dedicated volunteers, loyal participants, and generous vendors who make it all happen. We are excited to announce that because of everyone’s efforts, we have raised more money than ever before! It is not a final number, but we are confident that it will finish around $30,000! This puts the total raised over the past 9 years to $110,000. Stoked!
Photos by Kevin Carmody and Rita Goldfarb