Nico Manos catches some air at the Shut Up and Surf Classic contest on Saturday. Manos won in the men's shortboard division. Photo: Luke Acker
After weeks of postponements, some of the top surfers in Eastern Canada gathered on Saturday at the Moose in Cow Bay to compete in the “Shut Up and Surf Classic” contest.
To the envy of contest spectators, the lucky competitors got to “shut up and surf” in perfect conditions, without crowds.
“(These were) the best conditions for a SANS contest in the last nine years,” said Quicksilver rider Nico Manos, who took first place in the men’s open division.
This past summer, the Surfing Association of Nova Scotia (SANS) decided to be patient and hold the contest on a weekend when the conditions were ideal, even if that meant repeated postponements.
In the past, SANS traditionally held its fall contest on Labour Day. But solid surf conditions did not appear on a weekend until October 17.
“These waves are some of the best I’ve seen all year” said SANS board member Amy Theriault.“We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Sooner, maybe, but not better.”
Relief was the general mood of the day.
“For the last few weeks I’ve been checking forecast models and ScotiaSurfer.com everyday waiting for this contest to roll,” said O’Neil-sponsored rider Sam Cote, who moved to Nova Scotia last May from Quebec where he surfed standing river waves.
“We’ve had like 15 great Mondays, but nothing on a weekend. It’s been frustrating, but these conditions are perfect.”
Recent surf conditions have been frustrating for most Nova Scotia surfers. Undoubtedly this has been one of the most inconsistent hurricane seasons in recent memory.
While some of us have occupied our time with surf-porn and beer, steadily losing our paddling arms, athletes who competed on Saturday have obviously been keeping themselves in top form.
This was not a competition dominated by a small handful of surfers as it has in the past; the middle ranks have clearly caught up.
“The first heat used to be just a warm up,” said Manos, “and it wasn’t until the finals that the competition was stiff, but now I’m finding that the game is on right from the start.”
With the explosion of wetsuit technology, more and more surfers are spending more and more time in the water and on the waves. This has translated into riskier moves, steeper cutbacks and the occasional aerial maneuver.
Slowest left in the world
The longboard heats were held at the left adjacent to moose, lovingly referred to as “the slowest left in the world” according to one SANS official.
This was an ideal wave allowing the longboard division to use the time to score points for style and technique. The slow peeling left looked like something Robert “Wingnut” Weaver would be frothing to surf. Conditions at the break were very clean.
The shortboard division was held at the middle A-frame break. The left was peeling super-fast and resembled a thumping beachbreak, while the right opened up and allowed surfers to attempt the barrel.
Winds kept the face super steep allowing competitors to generate plenty of power to move down the line. The sets rolled in at 10.5 feet and a 14 second period, with solid north/north east wind holding up the faces.
On a side note, a local surfer named Seamus took a nasty beating while diving for pearls at a break close to the Moose where the contest was held.
“I went for the take off, it was big and messy and it just…didn’t work out” Said Seamus. The board and fins did a good number on his face. Ouch.
Below are the results for the 2009 Shut Up and Surf Classic:
1. Jacob Albury
2. Isaac Norman
3. Kris Rambeau
1. Andrew Cameron
1. Glen McDuff
2. Jenner Cormier
3. Sam McKenna
1. Janine Strickland
2. Julie Baldwin
3. Ruth Shorten
1. Nico Manos
2. Logan Landry
3. Justin Huston
More photos to follow…