Cape Kiwanda Longboarding Classic: Recap

Last Thursday, we discussed the anticipation surrounding Cape Kiwanda’s 23rd Annual Surf Competition–halted since 2019 due to the global pandemic. Come the night of the 16th, the crowds began to flock to the Cape Kiwanda beach as the kick off of the competition began!

Morning Pacific City. Photo by Mark O. Mclinnis @markomcinnis

The heats started early Saturday morning. The wind was light with partly clouded skies and incredible water conditions. The men’s division kicked off the two days of surfing that would follow–a highly anticipated division due to it’s competition. Local legend, Rob Russo, competed in the 50-59-year-old division, which was very exciting for those locals who regularly surf his high performance surfboards. It is safe to say that his shaping skills complement his surfing ability! In order for a surfer to please the judges, they must display a combination of flow and style while also achieving the highest quantity of waves possible during the short, fifteen minute heat length. Russo clearly understood these requirements, as not only did he manage to snag a plethora of beautiful waves, but he also pulled off stylish maneuvers on the face and even excited the crowd with a few nose rides. He got second place in his first heat–securing his place in the final heat the next day. On Sunday, with an overall score of 15.03 points, Rob Russo managed to secure the victory.

Rob Russo with a freshly shaped, 9’0 log. Some say that his logs are his specialties. Photo from his website:

As the first day progressed, the north west winds began to increase–a surfers nightmare. Typically, the Cape does an excellent job protecting the waves form northern winds, but waves coming towards the beach are unavoidable, which transforms clean surf into a mushy mess. Nevertheless, the surfing continued, and the competitors persevered.

Though the older generation of men and women displayed an aged, mastered style of longboard surfing, the youngsters displayed a mix of modern styles and boards, combined with a bit of the older stuff, coined by past generations of surfers. Deklyn Wood gave the crowd a great example of this. Returning from his second place finish in 2019, Wood displayed a wondrous performance, taking first in all of his heats and finishing first place in the 18-29 year old division with a score of 17.20. Though Wood showed off his ability to maneuver the face with style–even managing a plethora of beautiful nose rides–the sheer quantity of waves that he was able to catch really drove home the win. Being perfectly positioned in the surf in order to catch the wave in the ideal section for a long ride is extremely difficult. It requires constant paddling and readjustments in the surf in order to combat unpredictable waves or currents. Essentially, Deklyn Wood showed his immense athleticism in this regard. Watching his waves would lead one to assume that the surf was consistent and that the waves where of great quality, when in actuality, it was purely Wood’s performance.

The surfing wasn’t only exclusive to the gentlemen, however. Forty-three ladies showed up and showed out! In a sport that is mostly dominated by the dudes (around a three to ten ratio) it was refreshing to see some PNW surfer girls display exceptional class and style. Women’s 30-39-year-old division, in particular, was especially busy with seventeen competitors enrolling in the heats. It was Kelly Aldinger who took home the gold in this highly competitive division, pleasing the crown with her luxurious turns and carves on the faces of a handful of quality waves. She walked away with an overall score of 16.83.

Adventurous Girl with a Surf Board is going surfing in the Ocean. Colorful Sunset Sky. Taken in Pacific City, Oregon Coast, United States of America.

Hundreds of people dedicated their time to a weekend of surfing here in Pacific City. Though the draw of the contest is always the local talent and competition–community, good surf, and great brew is also the main attraction of the Classic. The waves were decent all down the beach, and thus non-competitors were able to get their hair wet as well. If you weren’t in the water, chances are you had your sand in the toes, basking in the sixty-five degree weather, enjoying a drink from the Brewfest, hosted by Pelican Pub.

The wind was especially light during the second day of competition (Sunday the 18th). For some, getting in the water was far less appealing than just planting in the sand for a couple of hours. “I was just excited to see good surfing and good art” said local photographer, Chase Dillion in reference to the Silent Auction which featured works from local legends and artists alike. His work was displayed amongst other photographs, art pieces, surfboards, and amenity packages. All proceeds from the auction are being used to fund the completion of Phase Two of the newly started skate park here in town. The skate park has been an ongoing project by the local skatepark construction company, Dreamland; perhaps the most renown skate park craftsmen on the entire West Coast. Phase One was completed recently, in 2020, but it is going to require the help of the local community to finish the construction of the park.

It is events like the Annual Cape Kiwanda Longboarding Classic that benefit the development of our local community, and it also makes for a really enjoyable weekend at the beach! Thus, the Classic is a must. Be sure to mark it down on your calendar for next year . . . and the year after that . . . and, perhaps, the year after that.

The Brewfest. Courtesy of Pelican Brewing.

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