Kevin Cody

Fog blinds judges, delays ET/South Bay Boardriders surf contest

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Surfer Jamie Meistrell

Jamie Meistrell landed this air after the horn. But he still advanced to the finals. Photo by Brad Jacobson

Sketchy conditions turned optimum during the early hours of the ET Surf/South Bay Boardriders Surf Series Contest Saturday at 26th Street in Manhattan Beach. The rain gave way to burning sun, the tide backed off and consistent head high waves began from breaking outside to the beach.

And then, as the finals heats were about to begin, something happened that the three year-old contest series had never been confronted with before. The fog rolled in. Judges couldn’t tell the colors of the contestants’ singlets. Contest organizers called for a 15 minute delay to let the fog clear. And then another 15 minute delay. By then it was apparent the fog bank wasn’t going to lift. Spectator Don Ruane checked his smart phone and learned that the fog bank extended 300 miles out to sea and south to San Diego, where it forced cancellation of the PGA tournament at Torrey Pines.

The novel situation elicited some novel ideas from the race organizers. Require the surfers to ride only the inside waves. Resume the contest the following morning. Select winners based on completed heats. After an hour-long debate, club president Mike Balzer announced that the finals will be held during the Dive ‘N Surf/SBBC contest in El Porto, on February 16.

South Bay groms

Groms had no problem entertaing themselves while waiting for the fog to lift. Photo by Kevin Cody

Disappointment was tempered by the fact that all of the nearly 200 entrants were able to compete during the morning’s ideal conditions.

The SBBC contests continue to attract the South Bay’s top surfers as well a number of  top, out of area surfers. Haryuoshi Shibutani, 17, Shuji Nishi, 16, and Kari Noro, 13, were visiting from Japan. Shibutani and Nishi advanced to the men’s open finals, and Noro advanced to the juniors (14 and under) finals

Visiting from Hollister Ranch was 12-year-old Sam Reichel. He won his heat in the groms (12 and under division) and hopes to return for the finals. After growing up on Ranch rights, the goofy footer said he was happy with 26th Street’s lefts. The contest was a homecoming for Sam’s dad Steve, who grew up in Palos Verdes and attended Rolling Hills High.

Advancing to the finals on Saturday were: Assisted micro groms – Rhett Messer, Myles Gaffney, Austin Mosley. Micro Groms – Matthew Hahn, Finn Bertino, Jake Rosenberg. Boys – Will Reid, Peter Healy, Dylan Hord. Open women – Natalie Anzivino, Rachel Tominaga, Julie Hernandez. Longboard: Dave Schaefer, Tom Horton, Steve Compas, Jordan Weintraub. Open men – Jamie Meistrell, Dane Zaun, Shaun Burrell, Kent Nishiya, Haruyoshi Shibutani, Shuji Nishi. Legends – Leo Nordine, Derek Levy, Otts Akamine. Masters – Steve Howe, Dave Schaefer, Chris Rodriquez, Warren Kushner, Matt Walls, Scott Whitmer. Juniors – Shuji Nishi, Peter Healey, Kairi Noro. ER


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