Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge: 2018 Recap
The early arrivals to the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge at Mt. Bachelor definitely got the worm this year. With a couple of the best powder days this season to serve as the event warm-up, surf and snow frothers descended upon Mt. Bachelor to enjoy the fruits of a relatively uneventful winter (at least for snow and surf in the NPAC), ride with friends, and share the stoke with new ones.
This year's surf-inspired course, which was the best thus far according to Gerry, began with an Uluwatu left, followed by a J-Bay right, a Rocky Point choose-your-own-adventure, and the G-Land left which transitioned into a Gas Chambers spine, with the Pipeline left as the grand finalé. With ideal conditions and even a bit of sunshine for the competition day, men, women, 40+ men, groms, and pro-surfers chose their own unique lines and got creative in exhibiting the style, fluidity, and finesse they would be judged on.
Not that this contest is about winning - fun was had by all. Competitors encouraged one another on from the sidelines, the female competitors waited at the finish line and congratulated each other as they finished, groms high-fived before their runs, and the cheering at the award ceremony almost warranted earplugs. Competitors wore their aloha shirts and also embodied the aloha that Gerry has been cultivating by integrating snow and surf into this event.
Now, for the results. Our talented Patagonia and Patagonia Japan teams styled their way to various podium finishes, but we have to give a huge shout out to Patagonia Japan ambassador Hayato "Bubbles" Maruyama who placed first in the Makule division (40+). The comeback story of all comeback stories, Bubbles suffered a severe leg fracture during this very event four years ago and was able to make it back to the podium in fine form. Bookending the Makule division is Patagonia Japan ambassador Kensuke Numamo, who placed third.
On the Wahine side, versatile and stylish rider Marie France Roy placed third while smiling, always. And although Patagonia Japan ambassador Haruna Kito didn't technically end up on the podium, her powerful fluidity earned her some serious accolades.
On the surf side of things, FCD shop friend and photographer Scott Soens won second place in the Pro Surfer divison, besting Greg Long, Jamie O’Brien, Dane Gudauskas, and Joe Curren, and surprising nobody but himself in the process. Also, congratulations to multi-sport phenom Jason Slezak, who was relegated to Open Men's on account of the ease of his victory in last year's Pro Surfer division!
The cameradie at this event, the genuinely high levels of stoke and aloha, and the shared love of ripping into both liquid and solid walls of water, will keep us coming back and supporting this event year after year. Thank you to Gerry for all of the work that goes into this event - from building the features, to putting up with all of us - we are already looking forward to next year!