San Clemente, CA (August 19, 2014) — The second attempt at holding the 2014 Southeast Oakley Surf Shop Challenge at Ponce De Leon Inlet proved fruitless last week with no contestable waves on tap. But organizers got creative and relocated the sixth of seven Regional Qualifiers to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. And when all was said and done, reigning 2013 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Champions Sunrise Surf Shop had claimed their seventh consecutive Southeast title and the all-expense-paid trip to Central America to defend their title at the 2014 National Championships.
With consistent waves barreling across the manmade sand bar from the get go, heat one set the pace for the rest of the day with the top three teams (Sunrise, IWS and Rip Curl) standing out as clear frontrunners to win the event. The relocation required some format changes which made for an interesting challenge: only 150 waves could be ridden, each team would be split into two heats of five and the top five teams would go on to the Final.
However, watching the Final was like watching a roller coaster with highs and lows for each shop as they jockeyed for the lead to hold the top points. Red Dog opened strongly with Noah Schweizer achieving a mid-range 7 on his second wave. But without the help from double whammy surfer, Eric Geiselman, the team fell short.
This was also the case for Surf Station who changed out their double whammy surfer from Dustin Richardson to hometown hero Gabe Kling. In heat one, Gabe dropped an 8.03, but was unable to match that result in the Final.
Rip Curl had a strong campaign throughout the event, but due to some unfortunate breaks and an early double whammy claim from Jeremy Johnston, the team ended their night in the third-place position.
The real battle came when Tanner Strohmenger from IWS upped his score by two points, totaling 6.67. This put the pressure back on Sunrise, and more importantly, Dane Jefferys. Dane needed a 4.12 to take the lead and give Sunrise the win, and with that in mind, Dane ultimately delivered. Sunrise is once again the Southeast Oakley Surf Shop Challenge champs for 2014 and will be headed to Central America to vie for the National Championship.
This is what the team had to say about their strategy and the pool: “The pool definitely added some nerves in the beginning, but we eventually got used to it and got the chain saw effect going. Also, it’s important to have the shop guys on a good wave, and out here tonight we didn’t have to worry about that, so the pool definitely made for an even playing field. Special thanks to Oakley for putting this event on, we’ve won it now seven times and we couldn’t be more thankful for the support of everyone!”
1. Sunrise Surf Shop – 34.03
2. Island Water Sports –