Another huge turnout of spectators enjoyed a fun filled weekend of festivities in Sayulita, Mexico as some of the top longboard and stand-up paddle (“SUP”) athletes competed in surfing contests and SUP paddle races at the 2nd Annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic which took place on March 12 -13, 2011.
After two days of competition lasting late into Sunday afternoon, Darren Eudaly of Laguna Beach, California, edged out Sayulita resident and 3-time Mexican National Longboard champion, Patricio “Ticho” Gonzalez, to take 1st Place in the Men’s Longboard division by showcasing some incredible nose riding skills. Last year, it was Gonzalez who edged out Eudaly in the finals.
On the women’s side, Mary Osborne of Ventura, California successfully defended her women’s longboard title in a tightly contested final which featured top “waterwoman” Candice Appleby of Hawaii and young guns Karina Rozunko and Hallie Rohr from California.
And then there were the amazing competitions themselves, which featured an international field of professional and amateur surfers competing in longboard and stand-up paddle (“SUP”) surf contests, along with open ocean SUP distance races.
In the men’s SUP surf contest featuring local favorite Guillermo “Tigre” Cardena and big wave star, Garrett McNamara, it was San Diego, California’s Sean Poynter taking the title in some challenging conditions as wave selection in diminishing swells tested the competitors patience. In fact, McNamara, who arguably rode the highest point value wave in the finals, was unable to register a second scoring wave which resulted in McNamara taking 3rd place. However, it was Poynter’s ability to make some incredible turns in small waves throughout the course of the contest and in the finals that proved to capture the judges’ attention.
In the SUP Elite and 10K paddles races, it was a repeat for Slater Trout as the 16 year old professional from Maui held off a tough field of elite paddlers that included Anthony Vella, Zane Schweitzer, Chuck Patterson, Aaron Napoleon and local Sayulita waterman Ryan Helm. Slater seemed to have an extra gear in both races and showcased impressive paddling technique with Vella and Schweitzer finishing close behind in 2nd and 3rd positions in both races. For the women, it was reigning “Battle of the Paddle” champion Candice Appleby of Hawaii winning the women’s Elite Race title and Schulyer Robbins placing first in the 10K distance race. Complete results for the surf contests and paddle races are available at www.puntasayulitasurfclassic.com.
“It would have been nice to have more consistent and bigger waves so that the spectators could really see how talented these competitors are,” remarked Kevin Roberts, a principle with event organizer Punta Sayulita. “However, the small waves did not diminish the great community vibe and aloha spirit that surrounded the weekend event. Moreover, with surfing legends Gerry Lopez and Jericho Poppler competing and holding their own against the younger surfers, it was really a special experience for the competitors and spectators alike,” added Roberts. Despite their years of experience, Lopez held his own quite impressively in the SUP Elite and Distance races and both Poppler and Lopez showcased their classic wave riding skills in the surfing contests.
One of the highlights from the weekend festivities was the Saturday evening benefit concert performed by international reggae recording artist, Mishka (www.mishka.com) who played a 2-hour non-stop set in front of a packed Sayulita beach who witnessed Mishka’s first live performance in Mexico. The j.k. livin recording artist commented that the “vibe of Sayulita” was one of the best venues he has played in his career.
As a result of the fantastic support of the sponsors, volunteers and competitors, proceeds raised from the Punta Sayulita Classic will go towards supporting the activities of The Reef Check Foundation and the Punta Sayulita Foundation’s 2011 programs. In fact, during the week prior to the Punta Sayulita Classic, one of the Punta Sayulita Foundation’s programs, established to support the growth and education of the sport of surfing, was completed by 25 surf instructors who participated in an intensive 3-day International Surfing Association (ISA) Level 1 Coaching Clinic and all received ISA Instruction Certifications. Additionally, on the Friday afternoon prior to the start of the Classic competition, a group of about 20 special-needs and underprivileged children had an incredible time at the beach and learned to surf under the personalized instruction of Jimmy Gamboa and members of his TheraSURF Foundation alongside many of the professional surfers and local Sayulita surf instructors.
Media inquiries, event photographs, videos and general information regarding the 2nd Annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & SUP Classic can be obtained by visiting www.puntasayulitasurfclassic.com or by contacting Jose Luis Caselin at U.S. Toll Free (866) 947-6017 or +52 (329) 291-3957. For more information about the Punta Sayulita resort community visit www.puntasayulita.com. Thanks again to everyone who helped make our 2nd Annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic such a fantastic success. Community and environmental stewardship are core principles of Punta Sayulita and hosting events like the Classic are a perfect way to bring it all together in one fun filled weekend. Photographs from the 2011 Classic