Adam Replogle and Alistair Craft won the 2008 Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic for the second year in a row. The event was held on a beautiful day in perfect surf conditions. Keallii Mamala goes home with the win for the first ever paddle in contest at Nelscott Reef.
After a day of thick fog on Saturday, the field of 16 teams woke up to sunny skies and big surf for the contest on Sunday. Waves were in the 20-30’ range, wind was calm, skies were clear, and the temperature hit 64 degrees. This made for a perfect day of tow in surfing.
Although there were a few delays due to fog in the early morning hours, the contest got off to a smooth start. After two rounds of heats, 4 teams advanced to the finals. Almost all the teams in the finals, including the winners Adam Replogle and Alistair Craft, were from Santa Cruz, but the surprise of the event, was the team for Australia. Jeff and Josiah Schmucker are a father and son team from Australia who had never competed in a big wave competition before. Their 2nd place finish to some of the best teams in the world was impressive. Russell and Tyler Smith took 3rd place and the Wormhoudt brothers, Jake and Zach took 4th.
“We could not be more excited about the outcome of the event”, said John Forse, event organizer. “We like to think of Nelscott as a family event, and this year, the finals had a father/son team and two brother teams.”
After the qualifying heats were completed, they ran the first ever paddle in contest at Nelscott Reef. A field of nine vied for a winner takes all 45-minute heat. Twelve waves were caught during the heat, but in the end, Keallii Mamala took the prize, as well as an auto seed with his partner into the 2009 tow in event. Jamie Mitchell took 2nd place, Shane Desmond grabbed 3rd, Mike Parsons 4th, and Gary Linden came in 5th.
“The paddle in was amazing and we were surprised how many waves were actually caught. Almost everyone got a wave in what turned out to be an optimal paddle in day at the reef”, said Forse.
After conferring with big wave contest guru, Gary Linden, and based on competitors feedback and spectator enthusiasm, John Forse has decided to integrate the paddle in into future events.
Operating in a three-month holding period, John Forse has proven his local knowledge of the reef he pioneered, with four years of perfect calls. Predicting a day in which the surf is large enough to hold the event with weather and wind conditions coinciding with that swell is extremely difficult. However, Forse has been successful in the past four years at calling the contest on the best day of the year.
The event was presented by the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, OR. They also hosted the awards ceremony, where Gary Linden was honored with presenting the awards for the evening. Also honored were the Pacific Northwest Judges, Andrew Kell, who performed safety all day, and all of the sponsors that made the event happen. The ceremony moved to the bar, where surfers and spectators looked at photos from the day and celebrated a perfect event.
2008 Tow In Contest Results: 1. Adam Replogle (N.Cal) Alistair Craft (N.Cal) 2. Jeff Schmucker (AUS) Josiah Schmucker (AUS) 3. Russell Smith (C. Cal) Tyler Smith (C.Cal) 4. Zach Wormhoudt (N.Cal) Jake Wormhoudt (N.Cal) 5. Brad Gerlach (S.Cal) Mike Parsons (S.Cal) 6. Chad Jackson (C.Cal) and Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 7. Tim West (N.Cal) Ion Banner (N.Cal) 8. Jeremy Rasmussen (Oregon) Tom Miller (Oregon) 9. Garrett McNamara (HAW) Kealii Mamala (HAW) 10. Yuri Soledade (Brazil) Everaldo Pato Texeira (Brazil) 11. Shane Desmond (N.Cal) Tyler Fox (N.Cal) 12. Justin Howard (Oregon) Andre Phillip (Oregon) 13. Jeff Kafka (N.Cal) Benji Darrow (N.Cal) 14. Andrew Cotton (Ireland) Scott Eggers (C. Cal) 15. Alec Cooke (Ace Cool) (HAW) Ron Barron (HAW) 16. Mike Parnell (Oregon) Matt Esnard (Oregon)
2008 Paddle In Contest List: 1. Kealii Mamala (HAW) 2. Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 3. Shane Desmond (N.Cal) 4. Mike Parsons (S.Cal) 5. Gary Linden (S.Cal) 6. Justin Howard (Oregon) 7. Chad Jackson (C.Cal) 8. Zach Wormhoudt (N.Cal) 9. Steve Harnack (Oregon)