Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nelscott Pt. 4


Nelscott 4


Lets get a few things straight. The Santa Cruz guys are no better at towing than us. Want proof? How often do they get a chance to tow? The answer is about a tenth as much as we do up here. There are days the Reef is breaking and Mavericks is a lake. I learned first hand that they can't handle the ski any better than us, in fact most of them are worse than us when it comes to driving. So for those of you that think the local boys can't handle the surf on the day of a contest, we are out there every swell. What makes that day any different? The only difference is if it’s a contest, you don't get to surf your own surf spot. Or if you’re invited and want to pay those greedy bastards 400 bucks to get in, you get to surf for 40 min. If you make the final you get another 40 min.

Adam or festivus says that I chose not to be in the contest. That's right, I chose not to be in it after my partner was kicked out for being involved with the APT. Then they tell me who I'm going to be partnered with. Then I tell them Gerry Lopez will be my partner. They tell me for the right amount of money Gerry can be my partner. So yeah, I chose not to be in it because they screwed me out of a partner.

Adam says the contest was in the red for the second year in a row. No shit. You’re burning so many bridges, what do you expect? Why don't you just give it up then? We don't need it.

In light of all this negativity and take, take, take mentality, I am going to do something that is all about giving back. Something that has been on my mind for sometime.

When I look at how much surfing has boomed in the NW over the last several years, I can't believe that there are no locals kids involved. Look around the lineup next time your out…especially here on the central coast. Not hardly anyone in the water actually lives here and definitely none of them are kids. The Central Coast has only produced 4 born and raised locals in the LC area over the last 50 years. That's wrong!

I'd like to give kids the opportunity to get involved in surfing. I'm starting a Central Coast Surf Club for grades 7 - 12. We are going to do mass community service like beach monitoring, beach clean ups, painting over graffiti at staircases and restrooms. We are going to have fundraisers to purchase wetsuits, boards and other gear. We are going to volunteer at the aquarium, maybe trade some hard physical labor down at the yacht club for some sailing lessons. Maybe purchase an outrigger canoe and take it to the lake. We're gonna have a lot of fun.
~jason garding

There are legendary surfers here in Oregon. There's also the right combination and enough consistency to create world class surfers. The reason we don’t have as many rippers here is the lack of surf culture and awareness of surfing in this state. Couple that with frigid waters, long drives, and you get Oregon.

This contest raises awareness and threatens the low key nature of surfing north of San Fransisco. The zone between San Fran and the strait is the last underground left in the US. Why do these people need to ruin this? I don't tow, but if I did I wouldn't compete in this contest.

Hasn't everyone seen tow madness happening at Peahi? Or what about the crowds out at Mavericks? Don't people realize that this will happen here sooner if we let the cat out of the bag?
~random dude

Here's an idea...You NW Tow dudes should totally put out an "in your face" to the contest organizers...invite all the Northern Cali Tow guys up for an unpublicized, un-pumped up, and un-whored out, Braggers Cup.

When the swell hits...hold it and surf it out. No banners. No money. No sponsors. Just bragging rights.

I got a better idea…We are gonna act like the contest isn't even happening and tow our wave like we would any other day. The organizers are not surfers. It's our wave. It's your wave. It's there for the taking.
~jason garding

Jgarding------Finally some right on comments…from someone who would know. Most contests that are put on with a profit and promotion in mind, generally are surrounded with controversy. The PC contest (now defunct), the Rogue Gathering and the CSO are three of the best contests I have ever been around for pure fun and surf culture. I know you can all criticize (and will) the motives of the promoters of these contest but: they are still fun. The Nelscott is an attempt to bring the "Big Show" to Oregon. The surf and the ability level required to be in such an event will leave most of us on the beach as spectators. And you know what? That's OK by me. So if most of us are spectators why are we even a little worried about how crowed Nelscott, Mavs or Peahi get? jgarding----good move on the surf club. Your ideas are the most constructive and well thought that I have seen…in a long time.

As far as the contest thing goes, the old Cowabunga at Otter, the Cape Kiwanda Longboard thing were two that were both well organized and had a great feeling about them. Having been in Pro contests where everyone is looking for a win or points or whatever, those that were in Oregon were by far the best in regards to meeting others and developing lifelong friendships. Close up to those were the interclub contests down in Cali when I rode in some for Windansea. There was a great deal of comraderie about them but then again there were so many that had been doing those get togethers for decades. Some even as second and third generation members. The cool part about having the ones in the NW was admittedly most of the people had come from all over the US and even farther away to live and surf in Oregon, yet most all understood what it means to be a surfer in the NW. These dudes that come for the TOW thing, take away the money and small time media do you think that they would do it at Nelscott?!

Remember some of those SC guys also travel. Jaws, Chopes, Dungeons, Tasmania. Sure you may have the local experience, but not the portfolios these guys have. They’re towing more than you think and not just at Mavs. Really how many good days does the reef have? I bet Mavs has just as many. How many days have been good the last 3 weeks when Mavs has been firing consistently? Sure it may be flat down there when it’s macking up here, but it works the opposite way to when it's victory at sea here it's going off super huge down there, which I think happens more often. Really, no offense here…I'm sure you charge, but I don’t think you or the so called locals at the reef are towing more than any of the SC guys or have the confidence and style they have. They’re PRO surfers for a reason. I've seen some of those guys who tow at the reef surf at the beachies on regular days and really their average surfers especially by SC standards. More power to you guys though. I'd love to see an Oregon team claim it over SC and wish someone represented, but I still don't think that level of talent exists around here right now, at least to win the "big prize".

Generate a little bit of the "industry" like SC has and then see what happens. This of course is a generalization but you know that towing is a one trick pony. There is a reason guys who charge at places like Pipe, Mavs, Backdoor and such do well there and are not really known outside of that "arena" or for that one place. Look at the last pro tour bit in Hawaii, so many locals did great, but take them away from their local specialized break and they don’t do so well.

As far as the SC guys being so great…well, [I] doubt it, didn’t seem so the times I was there. They fell just as much as most of the others. Yeah they charge and all, no doubt there, and of course you can draw a comparison to the locals in the NW having watched them fall, eat shit and whatever, but at least by being here and seeing that you get the full picture. When you look at vids and magazines of these guys making every wave that’s just not the way it is. It’s a lie. Unfortunately people get caught up thinking that they are so great because of all of the stuff they pull off. But do they really do it so consistently?

There have been people in the NW that could do well in the surfing market if there was just some kind of industry interest in the NW to keep it going. SC is lucky for that. Same with most other places that have some kind of regional infrastructure. So Cal, Florida, Australia come to mind as well as Hawaii. What about the NE? Some great surfers have come from there but it’s so much harder for them to make it due to lack of support. The UK? Same thing. Spain, Portugal, Tahiti.... Wonder what kind of chargers live and grow up in the perfect set ups of Indo. Again, little to no support to make it happen for them.

Unfortunately it looks like the NW’s fascination of SC that was around 15-20 years ago is coming back. It was a hang up then and who knows what it will be now.

…the other thing to consider Dub, is actually what Jason is saying. He's not claiming superiority-- he's just claiming equality. Some of those guys are big time pro rippers, but half of the Nelscott list bartends for a living, pro or not-- not all of them have the portfolio you speak of. Actually, less than half of the invite list does. I guarantee there were at least 15 calls to employers saying, 'Hey, can I get the day off for this surf contest?' But to say that the crew that pioneered the reef from Newport and LC isn't up to snuff in comparison to the SC guys just isn't right. It's their reef. JG rips, anywhere. I've seen him tow, I've seen him paddle. Yeah, he might not be ready to tow Chopes at 30 feet (or maybe he is), but I'll bet given a paddle lineup up at Pipe or Sunset and JG would take off just as deep as at least half to three quarters of that roster. As far as confidence and style go, I can vouch for him. Level? Sure, we don't have as many guys, but per capita we do. At least four guys I can think of have the talent right here and right now.

…you guys make a good point and really I'm just playing devil's advocate on one of them. I'm not calling out any particular individuals abilities and maybe the local guys could pull out a win who knows? I'd imagine some of them are from California originally with many years of experience under their belt. But after spending time in NorCal and logging over 10 years here on the Oregon coast surfing from Brookings to Seaside and beyond in the PNW, I have just not seen the talent as a whole. Really any average guy in SC or the greater Bay Area bartender, computer guy, or pro can get barreled, snap it fins free, and blast an air here and there and that's after fierce competition for any wave. The pros down there are a level above all that.

You also have to consider the surf, the day to day quality of waves here in Oregon. How many points and reefs do we have that work more than 200 days a year? And then look at the swells we get. Either too big or too small. Fall can produce, but it was really only consistently good for 2 months this year. Spring's hit or miss often plagued by onshore winds, summer while the weathers great, the surf is usually pretty weak and gutless, and winter the time of constant swell activity is often about finding windows between weeks of storm surf. There's a reason the best surfers in the PNW and the only pro surfers are from Vancouver Island. They got the waves and breaks for the varying conditions and swells and can surf consistently all year. Maybe the tow arena is Oregon's big chance to produce?

But then there's the main factor, the Oregon attitude. The majority does not care about these contests or pro surfing or about getting any fame up here. There are people that are here to get away from all that and wonder what this contest is all about. Outside of a handful of guys who have the money, time, and equipment to tow and the non surfing population amazed there is even surfing going on, I don't think the average Oregon surfer gives 2 chits about this contest and wishes it would go away leaving the reef to whoever can and wants to come and ride it.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused...

To me, Oregon is one of the last surfing frontiers within the USA. Everywhere else has become hopelessly crowded with the growth and popularity of surfing.

I'm not from Oregon. In fact, I'm from a place you all probably hate: Orange County, Southern California; surf industry central, USA. And yes, I am in the surf industry.

Funny thing is, many of us really know about Oregon surf. We've known for years. But most of the surf industry has attempted to be very respectful of the local Oregon vibe by not exposing or promoting Oregon surf. But now the locals are doing it...

As an example, I'm also an avid user of Surfline, and know that they have respected the "Oregon Frontier" by not providing much of any information for Oregon for more than 20 years.

Now it seems many of you are trying to put Oregon on the map for the surfing industry. The Nelscott tow in event with significant international exposure; complaints about not enough sponsorship of local surfers; a host of websites like,, and many others who offer very detailed Oregon information.

What's going on? Has the Oregon vibe changed?

Be careful what you wish for. You won't be able to cherry pick what you want and what you don;t want. As you develop more exposure for Oregon the local surf industry and community will surely grow. And as it does, you will leave behind Oregon surfing as you know it.

With exposure you'll find increasing crowds within your lineups. Tow surfers will be the least of your problems.

I think Jason and a few of you have the right idea, and I really liked the quote below. ~SoCal

I think/hope the reason why there is no local talent is that this contest goes against Oregon surfing mentality. Oregon surfing is about keeping secrets, and enjoying good surf at the sacrifice of personal glory. I know there are a lot of people out there that think this contest is a horrible idea. I'm one of them.
~random dude

This contest raises awareness and threatens the low key nature of surfing north of San Fransisco. The zone between San Fran and the strait is the last underground left in the US. Why do these people need to ruin this? I don't tow, but if I did I wouldn't compete in this contest.

Don't people realize that this will happen here sooner if we let the cat out of the bag?
~random dude

Doc said...

Although your points are well taken...I don't know that they're 100% accurate.

Popular Oregon breaks can get crowded...not by So Cal standards, but still crowded. The difference is that there are plenty of spots that remain unsurfed due to access and sketchiness factors.

While surfing in Oregon is sure to gain is surfing in general...there are some predominant issues that come into play that preclude exposive growth here.

Cold, fickle and sharky...

The water rarely reaches temps that allow comfort...for kids, mine included, this severely limits their ability to enjoy the sport, even in summer, for extended periods.

The inconsistency of surf also causes issues...I got 2 sessions in 2 can get good for stretches, but long out of control periods are more common.'s simply a bigger risk here. Having surfed here for over 15 years I have seen large sharks in the water on 3 occassions personally. It is easily the most unnerving experience one can have.

I don't hate people from California...I'm one. Left in 1987.

I don't much buy into surf industry fashion...but I use the gear that I need...wetsuits, leashes, surfboards...I don't need Gotcha hoodies, Hollister trucker hats or Ugg boots...If someone else needs 'em that's fine by me.

The whole contest scene leaves me cold...lotsa people like them, I'm uninterested...The Nelscott is interesting, after the fact, due to the shitstorm that some of the internal local politics that have occurred...I've met John Forse, I don't have a problem with him...but apparently he hasn't always been the most aloha guy in Oregon, and some people do.

I think the exclusion of locals from the contest was a mistake...and regardless of how you wordsmith it they were effectively marginalized and prevented from participating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for wasting my time fucker. J

Doc said...

No problem J-anon

miguel said...

Dig the fight.jpg image. rotflmao.