Our Friend Pat and the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge

Our Friend Pat and the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge

Cancer sucks! I have been very fortunate to never fully experience what this statement encompasses. It wasn’t until several weeks ago when a good friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor that these words really sunk in. To make myself even clearer, cancer f…ing sucks!

The surf world probably doesn’t know the name Pat Malendoski, but in the snowboard industry he would be the equivalent of our best glassers and sanders. The often overlooked and underappreciated craftsmen that has a direct influence on anybody who has picked up a surfboard. From the person buying their first board to a seasoned pro, we all owe this group of individuals our gratitude. Likewise, Pat’s work has had a direct effect on just about anybody who has strapped on a snowboard in the past 20 years. If you have ever watched the Winter Olympics or X Games, you have seen his craftsmanship. Many snowboard movies and magazines have featured his creations and vision. He has played a part in progressing the sport to once unconceivable heights, and brought joy to countless individuals who have ridden parks at numerous ski resorts. The riders may get all the accolades and attention, but it is Pat’s jumps and halfpipes that are the canvas that allows them to create and express themselves.

When the call went out to raise money to help Pat and his family with his growing medical expenses, the snowboard world didn’t hesitate to rally around him. If you are a close personal friend of Gerry Lopez, which Pat is, the surf industry was bound to join in as well.

Each spring Gerry puts on a surf inspired contest at Mt. Bachelor called The Big Wave Challenge. Pat has helped build the features, which are named after famous surf breaks, every year they have run the event. Riders are judged equally on surf inspired maneuvers as compared to standard snowboard tricks. Speed, power and flow are just as important as air and style. It is a very surf inspired gathering, including hula dancers and a Luau. This year, Gerry donated all proceeds from the event to Pat’s fight against cancer. His wife Toni, along with several close friends of the Malendoskis, created a benefit and auction the night before in downtown Bend. The event was full of familiar faces from both the snowboard and surf industries. Everyone came together to bid on donated items, share stories, have a few drinks, and create as many positive vibes as possible. It was a huge success in every way. The highlight of the auction had to be a beautiful Retro Fish shaped by Gerry for the event. I won’t say what it went for, but my buddy Kale’s wallet is going to be lighter for some time!

The contest the next day was equally successful. The course was challenging but fun. Each feature offered several options for the riders to express themselves. I saw everything from big airs to surf inspired power turns. Several competitors traded in their snow jackets for Hawaiian printed shirts and I even saw a couple coconut bras. Smiles and laughs were everywhere, with shakas and high fives standard protocol. Some amazing riding went on, but the feeling of aloha and support for Pat were the things I will remember most.

It was a weekend full of good people trying to help out a very good man. It's going to be a long battle for Pat, but with the love and support from his friends and family as evident this past weekend.....he's got this!

If you would like to donate, please go to: http://www.gofundme.com/patmalendoski

Some surfers in attendance were: Kohl Christensen, Joe Curren, Sam George, Fletcher Chouinard, Luke Egan, Chris Christenson 

Here are the results from the contest:

Pro Surf

1. Kody Kerbox
2. Kohl Christenson
3. Joe Curren

Kane’s [Men’s]

1. Forrest Devore
2. Tucker Andrews
3. Jonathan Sisco

Wahine’s [Women’s]

1. Ashley Thorton
2. Desiree Melancon
3. Barrett Cummins

Makule’s [40-plus]

1. Todd Richards
2. Chris Roach
3. Gordon Boehm

Keiki’s [Under 16]

1.Matteo Soltane
2. Alder Butsch
3. Elijah Pyle

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