Ocean Beach to Host Professional Surf Contest
On Sunday morning, the Association of Surfing Professionals announced that it will host a professional surf contest at Ocean Beach in the fall of 2011.
The news broke via the popular surf website surfline.com, which indicated that the contest will be contained to a portion of Kelly’s Cove, from Stairwell 20 in the south up until the end of Kelly’s Cove.
Because of the unpredictable nature of waves, the contest does not yet have a confirmed date, but is instead set for a window of time, from November 1-11. This is generally a time of the year when conditions favor good surf.
The surfline.com article quoted Dylan Slater, the marketing director for Rip Curl, the corporation sponsoring the event, as saying:
“We wanted to show a different side of the Search. If you look at the six different locations over the last six years, there’s such a variety of different types of waves. San Francisco brings a whole new dimension to the Search: The World’s Best Surfers vs. the Elements — cold water, sizable surf, beachbreak. And that time of year gives you a good chance for offshore winds. Plus the unique energy that the city brings will make this event a very distinct part of the Rip Curl Pro Search legacy.”
The news has already prompted some mixed reviews from the local surf community, and social networks are abuzz with the various reactions. Bob Guerin posted on the Ocean Beach Surf’s Facebook page “I can’t wait to play hooky from work and see how the pros get er done!” On the same page, Mark Massara sarcastically wrote, “This will be hilarious & memorable. Welcome to SF boys.”
The reasons for excitement are obvious. It is a rare opportunity to watch some of the best surfers in the world compete on your hometown waves. But such an opportunity comes with many concerns, like possible over-crowding of the waves, as well as the impact on local businesses. Andy Olive, a San Francisco surfer, summed up the mixed reaction, as quoted in the surfline.com article. “People are kinda into it ’cause it’s happening, but no one is stoked that it’s happening.”
One major question is how the contest will impact local surfers. There are no opportunities for local surfers to compete in the contest, something that Ocean Beach surfer Jaimal Yogis laments. “I wish we had some locals in the contest to cheer for,” explained Yogis. “I don’t know a single person here who really follows pro surfing closely, so it would get the local community pumped up if we had some hometown heroes to support.”
One of those hometown heroes would have likely been Alex Martins, a Brazilian surfer who lives on Ocean Beach, runs a surf repair shop, and competes in the annual Maverick’s contest. When asked, Martins had no real concerns with the contest, instead referencing his curiosity to see how the pros would perform. “Ocean Beach is always challenging when it’s big, and then there are not many guys out [in the water],” explained Martins. “I hope they get a really good, sizable swell for the contest, because it will be interesting to see the world’s best dealing with those conditions.
“Those conditions” refer to some of the notorious natural conditions that make Ocean Beach such an enigmatic surf spot, especially the very challenging water currents. Across Twitter, Facebook, and surf forum sites like StokeReport, the most consistently referenced concern about the contest is the currents.
“If the currents are ripping like they often are around that time [of year],” Yogis indicated, “we’ll have guys down at Quintara by the end of their heat, so I don’t know how it will be for spectators.”
Yogis couldn’t help but to include some of the pride in their community that many surfers are voicing. “I really hope that if it’s giant, [local surf legend] Dog Renneker will paddle out to yell at the pros, then snag the wave of the day.”
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