SURF: A typical 2-3 foot, dumpy summer swell in Oceanside: fast, bowly sections mixed with some closeouts. Great conditions for pushing the competitors’ skill levels.
EVENTS HELD: It was the whole deal: Men, Prosthetic, Drop Knee, Knee Board, Junior Bodyboard, Women Bodyboard, Senior Bodyboard, Men Bodyboard, Menehune Bodyboard, Senior Longboard, Senior Women Longboard, Master Longboard, Men Longboard, Junior Longboard, Junior Women Longboard, Menehune Longboard, Open Longboard, Menehune, Junior Women, Women, Senior Men, Men, Legends, Grand Masters, Masters, Air, Launch, Boys, Junior Men, Girls, Open Shortboard.
NATURE’S CALL: Everyone is having fun so I’ll keep the wedges coming, but I’m going to dice it up a little with some wind and make these finalists work for that Number One slot.
PREDICTED: Can the beach at the Oceanside Pier get any more packed? With this year’s U.S. Championships being the biggest ever, including a successful Oceanfest ’03, which kept everyone from mid-west shoobies to Oceanside locals refreshed and entertained with food, drinks, cloths, a mini-pipe skate contest and much more it looks like next year just may get bigger.
HEATS OF THE DAY: Being that there was a slough of finals that went down, we’ll discuss a few. Before the wind came up and ravaged what were glassy chest to head high peaks, the Open Longboard event was granted the most consistent and well-formed surf of the whole event. Besides, the heat provided some pretty talented action and a glimpse into the future at some of the United States’ brightest young loggers. The heat began cool then quickly ignited with 17 year-old North Carolinian Tony Silvagni stealing a pair of unusually long rights and pulling out all stops from classic cross-steps to powerful carves. Meanwhile, as Tony did his thing, his Californian peer Tommy Witt cruised out the back and answered back with equal talent. But Witt couldn’t stop the Southern boy from stealing the crown and settled for a second. After his heat, Silvagni jammed his face into his buddy’s video camera to replay, what he said, was one of his best heats ever. “Oh yeah!” Tony mumbles, “That was a good one!”
Long after the buzz of the Open Longboard luck of the draw had worn off and many heats passed before a sloppy, inconsistent Pacific Ocean the Junior Men and Open Shortboard finalists lit up Oceanside Pier one last time before calling it a wrap on the 2003 Championships. Hawaiian heavyweight Hank Gaskell strung together a few solid slop slaps but it wasn’t enough to take out California’s Brandon Ragenovich who put enough elbow grease into his routine to squeeze past Gaskell’s 14.2 with a 14.8.
You could be sure, however, that Hawaii wouldn’t let another one slip away, and Shane Valieri stepped up to meet the challenge. With a still-packed beach audience, a blazing hot yet hazy Southern California afternoon sky and worsening conditions Valieri milked whatever the walling Pier peaks had left and put together a worthy final point standing of 16.66, powering past runner-up Bobby Morris’ 13.00.