The 2013 Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge at Mt. Bachelor
Words and photos: SKS
Sunny skies and offshore winds greeted surfers and snowboarders at Mt Bachelor last weekend as one of the last big swells of the season hit the mountain. The Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge was underway, and a perfect course of a-frames, hips, point breaks, berms, beach breaks, banks, barrels, spines, and rollers greeted an international field of professional surfers and snowboarders, as well as up-and-comers from around the country.
Based on a foam model of the course that Gerry created over the winter, renowned park builder Pat Melondowski translated Gerry’s vision from paper to snow to create frozen versions of legendary surf spots. The massive, frozen waves of Steamer Lane, Log Cabins and The Ala Moana Bowl, Puerto Escondido, The Wedge, and 2nd Reef Pipeline awaited competitors. Each rider got two runs, with judges scoring each wave out of ten, leaving a total of 50 points up for grabs on each run, with the best run of two counting as your score.
Locals brought the heat, with Curtis Ciszek, Austin Smith, and Gus Warbington showing face and busting fins loose, but with Superpark leftovers like Ben Biloq, Blake Paul, Louif Paradis, Scott Blum, Alex Yoder, Tim Eddy, Gray Thompson, Jackson Fowler, Ben Lynch, Tucker Andrews, and more salty surfers than you could shake a stick at, the lineup was stacked and it was anybody’s guess who would catch the wave of the day.
In the end defending champion and local Gus Warbington claimed his second victory in a row, with Truckee’s Taylor Carlton, and Japan’s Ruiki Masuda snatching up 2nd and 3rd. The ever-thoughtful Gerry had hand-blown one of a kind glass trophies for everyone who made the podium, which may have been some of the sickest trophies I’ve ever seen. The women’s field saw some fine slashing as well with Colleen Quigly taking 1st, Katie Williams in 2nd, and Desiree Melancon in 3rd. A professional surfers division was created as well, with three Maui boys landing on the podium, Lewis Marlon riding a frozen set wave to 1st, Maui’s Matt Meola cruised to 2nd, and Albee Layer digging a rail into 3rd.
If you are a terrain park builder, digger, manager, or resort owner or manager – please note what I am about to say. THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST FUN COURSES I HAVE EVER RODE. EVERY RESORT SHOULD EMBRACE TERRAIN FEATURES LIKE THIS, AND PROMOTE TURNING, CARVING, AND SLASHING. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE START PUTTING IN RUNS LIKE THIS.
Big Thanks to Gerry Lopez, Mt Bachelor, Patagonia, and all of the surfers and riders who came out to support the love of the most soulful component of all boardsports, the slash.