About 3 days before the TAC Skimblast, a big south swell rolled through Santa Cruz ripping out a huge swath of sand at the contest site. By Saturday morning the slope had recovered, and the missing sand had exposed even more of the sider rock at 26th avenue beach. After waiting for the tide to come up, the pros took the the water early Saturday morning with clean 1-3 foot conditions with inconsistent siders. The very first pro heat of the day saw some of the best siders all weekend with Max Bourne catching the lion’s share of siders throughout his heat. Other standouts in round one included Tim Fulton and Lucas Fink who both adapted to the shifty siders quickly. By round two on Saturday the conditions had become pretty blown out, but the rising tide and closer waves meant riders like Sam Stinnett and Austin Keen were throwing huge frontside and backside airs off the 2 ft ramps.
Sunday began with the Pros quickly jumping in the water as soon as the first siders started connecting. Blair Conklin had a stand out heat, catching about 5 different sider connections and linking them with impressive big spins and cutbacks. From the quarter finals on, the riders were stacked up in two-man heats, which allowed for some intense one-on-one battles. In the semi finals, Blair and Austin squared off against each other in one of the closest heats all weekend. Blair threw out his tail on one steep wave and that helped propel him through to the final. Sam ended up edging out Tim in the semi finals despite Tim’s incredibly late backside hacks. Then the contest concluded with Blair and Sam going toe to toe in the final.
Sam and Blair exchanged big airs and frontside hacks throughout the final, and murmurs on the beach would have left you guessing about the winner. Sam ended up taking the win, and he extended his lead in the overall points standings. For the top three, the Santa Cruz results mimicked the overall tour standings with Sam, Blair, and Austin taking the top three spots respectively. With just three stops left, it’s a toss up. The top three competitors are all well-within striking distance of each other. So stay tuned to see how Vilano, Aliso, and Balboa shake up the incredibly close rankings.
A big thank you to Ben Koscielniak and TAC Apparel for putting together a great event, and thanks to all of the sponsors: TAC Apparel, Zeal, Exile, GBC, Let’s Party Traction, Pabst Ribbon, Pulse Skimboard Mag, Whole Foods, Pono Hawaiian Grill, Star Bene, Volcom, Testas Autobody, Native, NHS, Thieves, Opes Advisors, SAR Development, and Boardroom.
1st- Sam Stinnett