Kohl Christensen Wins 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic; perfect conditions prevail for 6th consecutive year.
LINCOLN CITY, Oregon, November 2, 2010, Kohl Christensen took the win in what turned out to be the biggest conditions ever surfed at Nelscott Reef. Chris Bertish took second, and third went to Jamie Sterling.
The day started out with pretty raw conditions producing waves of 40’+. After a slight holding period in the morning, organizers decided to start the contest at ten o’clock. Faced with a gigantic beach break with no channel, it took almost an hour for the first heat to make it into the water. By the time they did make it out, they were greeted with perfect conditions.
Finalist, Rusty Long said, “I am surfed out. Conditions were spectacular all day long. Waves were doubling off the reef, a lot of them, just a great day of surfing”
John Forse, event organizer and Nelscott pioneer noted that he saw the biggest wave ever on the reef in the morning.
There was some talk in the days leading up to the event that this swell might actually be too large to paddle into. Organizers were confident that the reef could hold that large of a swell and they were right.
The swell peaked during the semi finals. Big Wave World Tour Director, Gary Linden, was out in the water all day “It was an extremely high level of intensity. The semi final heats were really mayhem”.
After an amazing day of surfing on the reef, six men made it to the finals. Kohl Christensen, Chris Bertish, Kealii Mamala, Rusty Long, Peter Mel, and Jamie Sterling battled it out for the hour finals. This is great news for their rankings in the Jim Beam Bourbon Big Wave World Tour. Jamie Sterling, the current points leader on the tour, will solidify his position. Peter Mel will move into second.
Keala Kennelly Wins 2010 Nelscott Reef Women’s Exhibition; World’s First Women’s Big Wave Event a Success
LINCOLN CITY, Oregon, November 3, 2010, Keala Kennelly wins the 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic Women’s Exhibition, making the history books and opening the door for women’s big wave surfing. In perfect conditions on the Oregon coast, three women became the first to surf at Nelscott Reef, during the world’s first Women’s big wave event. Keala Kennely, Mercedes Maidana, and Savannah Shaughnessy battled it out during a 1-hour heat. Each surfer was able to get at least two scoring waves, making it a very even playing field.
Big Wave World Tour Director, Gary Linden suited up and got out in the water with the women to share his knowledge of the reef and ensure that they were able to capitalize on the one-hour heat. Keala broke the ice by catching the first wave, followed by a nasty wipeout by Savannah. Both girls caught several nice waves as the heat progressed. Mercedes had a very strong finish, catching one of the nicest waves of the day during the last set of the heat. In the end, Keala’s scores were strong enough to take the win.
For the past five years, Nelscott Reef operated as a tow in event. Organizers had been trying to get women involved in their contest for several years, but there were not enough all female tow in teams to make a heat. It was not until this year, when they made the switch to an all paddle in event, and with the help of sponsors RedBull and the Nelscott Reef Surf Shop, that they were able to finally put this together.
“We have been wanting to do this for years. I am so stoked that you three were able to make it and take part in the first ever women’s big wave event”, said John Forse, event organizer. The women were equally as excited and grateful. They came up to Oregon to show world what they do and that they can compete in conditions like this.
“Thank you Nelscott Reef for giving us the chance to surf this amazing wave”, said Mercedes Maidana. “Thanks to all the organizers and crew for believing in us girls and for giving us this space to show the world what we love to do the most. We’ll see you next year for sure, hopefully with more women and bigger waves!”
After learning that she was the first woman to ride a wave at Nelscott, Keala replied with a surprised and excited “Really… really?” “Now that I know, it makes it that much more special”, said Keala during the award ceremony. “I want to dedicate this to Andy Irons, who was like a brother to me”, referring to the sudden loss of surfing great, Andy Irons. A moment of silence was also held during the trophy presentation for the men, led by Kealii Mamala.
The Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic has now successfully run six consecutive years. This was the first year as a paddle in only event, and the first to include women. The women’s exhibition closes out a perfect contest under absolutely unreal conditions and opens the door for future women’s events. The Red Bull team was on hand taking video and photos of the event, which will be available on the web shortly. For detailed results, photos, and additional information on the event, visit the Nelscott Reef web page at www.nelscottreef.com and www.bigwaveworldtour.com
About Behemoth LLC.
Behemoth was started in 2005 for the purpose of promoting surf events at Nelscott Reef and other surf locations around the world. Founding member, John Forse, was the pioneer at Nelscott Reef and made his first attempt to ride the reef in 1995. Forse, along with Jim Kusz, safety coordinator for North Lincoln Fire and Rescue and veteran water rescue team leader, and Adam Wagner of Action Sports Northwest, operate Behemoth LLC out of Lincoln City, Oregon. Behemoth LLC organized and promoted the first annual Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic, bringing the sport of surfing to the professional level in Oregon for the first time.