Contest at Courts 2 (First time; last time) -- 6/20/04

Neal during the Relic Longboard final, photo by

Date: June 20, 2004
Time: 0700 -- 0730 plus 30 minute and 20 minute finals
Spot(s): Courts
Conditions: Light winds, smallish crowd
Swell: Fairly consistent with some southerly pulses
Surf: 1- 2+' Haw'n

Words: Went out before the contest to give the Bing a test drive for the first time. My friend let me borrow this 1963 treasure, which I planned to enter in a special relic longboard division. I was actually surprised that I could turn the board with relative ease, although turning for a wave (while sitting) took a Herculean effort.

During the contest a couple of significant things happened. First, there was a dog walk that went right in front of our judge's stand. I could not believe how many people were out walking their dogs. The variety of canines were indeed a sight to see, especially for a dog-lover like myself. So cool.

But the more significant thing was that my friend Reid borrowed my Makani longboard to shoot some video from the water. When he got back, I found that he had dinged the board big time, including a fin with the FCS plugs crushed into the foam. I was so bummed.

We worked it out where Reid would fix the board, sell it at his new shop Surfahaus, and give the money to my friend Makani who would shape me a new longboard. Still, I could not get the depression out of my head going into my relic longboard final.

In that final, I actually had the wrong strategy. It was a 30 minute heat (7 people), so I figured I'd wait outside for the sets. As most of you who have competed know, that can be a dicey proposition given the inconsistency of the elements. I just couldn't get into a rhythm and was out of position when the sets did roll through. Adding to my mental instability was that I had asked photographer friend Jamie Ballenger to get a few shots of me riding the board. So I was trying to do well in the contest, posing for the camera, and riding a very unfamiliar board in an unfamiliar surfspot. Not good.

In hindsight, I should've just gone out and tried to have fun. But such is life. I was skunked for waves and managed to catch just one semi-decent ride.

I still had one more final to deal with, and I really didn't want to use my broken board for fear of flooding it. I even went so far as to have Rabbit loan me his Donald Takayama epoxy board. But in the end, Reid told me to just use my own board and he'd dry it out anyway.

The second final went a lot better. I took a decidedly laid back approach and just went out there to have fun. Caught some fun ones and enjoyed myself a lot more. Riding the board for the last time was bittersweet. At least I knew Makani would take care of me hopefully an even better board.

Even though I ended up getting second to last in both finals (6th and 5th), I was just happy to participate. Riding the Bing that was older than me was a trip to say the least. And I truly am looking forward to getting a new performance longboard.

Aloha from Paradise,