The Nixon Surf Challenge wrapped up today, to the pleasure of all who have been participating in the festivities more than the surfing. The surfing was incredible none the less the waves picked up and so did the wind, but the boys were able to find ramps and big sections. As a judge, I was really impressed. At the end Josh Kerr, ( who was my first pick to win after the first round, where was the betting window?), was the winner, Jock Barnes, second, Hira Ternatoofaa, third, Jay Quinn, Fourth. Again all the guys in the contest were going off, it was definitely a spectators contest. Big airs, and big turns all over the place. But the biggest action, was definitely at the night time events. Big group dinners and after hours late night clubbing. The whole crew went literally beserck, but it was all in good safe fun and the event will be remembered as a total blast, and most of all looked forward to next year. See you then.–Saxon Boucher
Australia’s Josh Kerr proved unbeatable as he swept to victory in the stunning final of the 2005 edition of the Nixon Surf Challenge. Josh was up against friend and fellow Australian Jock Barnes along with New Zealander Jay Quinn and Tahitian Hira Terinaatoofa.
The finalists, all good friends, had spent the weekend partying together and now found themselves battling it out to win. Only seconds into the final it was pretty clear that Kerr was not going to end his run of heat wins as he stamped his trademark air to fakie manoeuvre on his first wave to hoots from the crowd on the beach. Barnes quickly responded with some big hits of his own, with Terinaatoofa hot on his heels.
However Kerr was unstoppable linking a frontside 6ft air reverse, landing it perfectly then following up with a lip grab bash reverse. Then as if that wasn’t enough Kerr went on to silence the critics by pulling into a tight barrel.
With this tidy effort the battle was for second place. With both Hira and Jock working the waves it was Jock that claimed the second place, despite having to cut his final short due to a knee injury sustained on landing one of his aerials. Barnes was not the only one to suffer in the final. Jay Quinn also had a bad knee from a similar injury sustained in the semis. This injury undoubtedly hindering his performance and forcing him to settle for a respectable fourth place.
The concluding day of the event started in fierce onshore winds almost strong enough to blow away the tents on the contest site. Nevertheless our fearless surfers braved not only gale force winds but a relentless paddle that had Australian Jock Barnes commenting, “I almost had a heart attack just getting to the waves!”
The action started with the “second chance” heats with French surfer Mikael Picon true to his current standout form and Australian Jock Barnes grabbing the opportunity to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Into the quarter-finals it was the third heat that offered the most tensions as friends Miky Picon and Fabrice Gelez fought for a place in the semi-finals.
It was eventually Fabrice who gained the upper hand over Miky, forcing him out of the contest, not an easy feat considering Picon’s recent form that could secure him a place in next year’s world championship tour.
The semi-finals saw the end of Europe’s hopes for a Nixon Surf Challenge victory. In the first semi-final, probably one of the toughest heats of the contest.
German Marlon Lipke was edged out of the contest, despite an impressive run up to this point. Australian Daniel Ross also had to accept defeat, unlucky in the tricky conditions as he struggled to find a wave worthy of his surfing ability. In the second semi-final France’s last hopes were dashed as Fabrice Gelez was squeezed out of the contest by the fearsome combination of Kerr and Barnes who took first and second place. Hawaiian CJ Kanua was the remaining semi-finalist. CJ, a relatively unknown quantity and newcomer to European surf events, surprised the local crowd with his masterful handling of the San Sebastian waves.
With the surfers having performed so spectacularly in the daytime activities, there was only one battle left – the one to beat San Sebastian’s nightlife…all surfers took up the challenge with the same enthusiasm they had shown throughout the event!!