This past weekend, in summer-like conditions, Alex Knost glided to victory at the third Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, CA. In a final that saw well-overhead waves rolling through Middle Peak, Knost overcame Australia’s Harrison Roach, Encinitas’ Ryan Burch, and Malibu’s Chad Marshall.
Similar to the prior contests in Montauk, NY, and Virginia Beach, VA, Tudor and Vans handpicked 16 of the world’s top longboarders to battle it out in a competition with little guidelines other than to catch three high-scoring waves. Competitors had no trouble meeting that requirement. “We couldn’t have asked for better surf and weather,” said Nolan Hall, Vans Surf Team Manager.
And while the focus was on the main event, the legends’ heats provided their fair share of solid surfing, as Nat Young, Joel Tudor, Herbie Fletcher, Michel Junod, and Tyler Hatzikian tore apart Middle Peak.
Sticking to its core tradition of being the anti-contest contest, interferences weren’t called, and were actually encouraged, with a $500 check given to the Best Shared Wave at the end of each heat. And with the no-cord policy, the most unusual and highly entertaining award was the Best Board Sacrifice. It appeared local standout, Jason “Ratboy” Collins, would cake walk his way to the $1,000 prize after his board washed into the rocks, until Chad Marshall voluntarily threw his board off the cliff to outdo Collins’ performance.
In the end, it was Alex Knost’s crouch-fives across Middle Peak and into Indicator’s that left competitors at a loss. “I got really lucky,” said Knost, after accepting the first-place award and a check for $4,000. “All of these guys surf so well, and this just means a lot to win.”
Knost gets the chance to repeat his Santa Cruz performance this coming August, when the first international Duct Tape Invitational hits Spanish waters.