Thirty big wave surfers gathered in the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, March 10, 2019, for the Kaizen Institute Nelscott Reef Pro — Oregon’s big wave contest. Featuring a $10,000 prize purse sponsored by Bahama Boards & Buds, 24 male competitors and four female chargers threw on thick 7 mil rubber to bare the chilly water in Lincoln City. Hawai’i surfers participating included: Jamie Sterling, Trevor Sven Carlson, and Emi Erickson — who took first place in the women’s division.
Although the ladies were given the first hour of the day to surf amongst themselves, the rest of the event featured a co-ed expression session. Unlike a Big Wave Tour event, the Lincoln City gathering had no formal heats, nor jerseys… a bit hectic at times (I would describe all big wave contests to be “organized chaos”). Yet, the Nelscott Reef Pro was similar to a freesurf with some big wave all-stars and local talent.
In the athlete safety meeting the night prior to the event, the surfers decided to split the prize money evenly making for a friendlier lineup. Some of the locals described the event as the most crowded session they had experienced at their cold water spot, but good vibes in the water and plenty of swell on tap allowed for everyone to get some bombs and enjoy the ideal conditions on tap at Nelscott Reef.
Big congrats to Hawaii’s Emi Erickson taking the victory in the women’s event! As voted by the surfers, the 2019 Kaizen Institute Nelscott Reef Pro Champions are:
Jojo Roper and Emi Erickson in first place; tied for second were Nic Lamb, Anthony Tashnick, Joseph Hardeman and Bianca Valenti by one vote in the women’s division; and Chris Mumford and Raquel Heckert in third.
Thanks to event director Gabe Smith and all the locals for taking such good care of us while covering the event, and for sharing the love of big wave surfing!
Richard Hallman and Matt Brandt