Monday, November 10, 2008

The Worlds Come to San Onofre

Exciting past week. In the wake of LBM closing its doors, I sent out a few feelers for some freelance work in regard to the Oxbow World Longboard Championships. The event was held at Old Mans at San Onofre from Nov. 5-8. Got a few bites, so I was down there from sun-up (almost) to sun down each day of the contest. For being unemployed, those were some long, long days of work.

For the few months leading up to the event, the surf had been super consistent and really fun. Can't even count how many times after a session I believed it to be the best San O I'd ever surfed. The day before the event was set to begin, the surf looked the worst it'd been in that few months time span. Great, Southern California finally gets a big longboard contest, and the Surf Gods send us slop. Knew I should have sacrificed that 14-year-old grom. Well, five day window. Pray for waves.

Day 1 of the contest: classic crisp fall weather, sunny skies, deep blue water color and 2-3 foot wave faces as smooth as ice. And the conditions held throughout the event. During my time in the surf industry I've attended quite a number of surf contests, and this was the first one I enjoyed from the first horn blown to when the champagne was popped. Stellar conditions, first-class surfing, tons of unexpected twists and a fitting ending.

It'd been 12 years since Hawaiian Bonga Perkins had won his first world championship. He'd come close on so many occasions since — a few runner-up finishes and a bunch of late-late contest eliminations. It was apparent in his actions leading up to the final, just how much this opportunity meant to him. In the 30 minutes between the semifinals and the beginning of the final he was pacing back and forth, stretching, trying to maintain a sense of coolness and composure. But his eyes were a giveaway. He wanted this second one more than he was willing to let on. Upon his return to the shore after holding off the Frenchman, Antoine Delpero, he was finally able to let all of the pent-up emotion pour out. Quite a moment. Quite a week.

Following are a few standouts from the photos I shot. BTW, I bought a new Canon 40D ... definitely a worthwhile investment.

Hawaiian Ned Snow was ripping all week. He posted the only 10 of the event.
The Brazilians are known for their national pride.
Fantastic late afternoon lighting. Youngster Cole Robbins.
Though strapped with pressure, Bonga was spot-on in the final.
The Hawaiian contingent.


Tommy and Monique Shelby said...

great photos chasen! yeah now i have another blog to read!

McCall said...

edit: Bonga Perkins had WON
of course I'd notice the one mistake :)
really though, such a pleasure to read