SURFING: Pagan claims title, Purpus shoots pier, Zaun picks nose

Surfer Dane Zaun nose pick

Dane Zaun earned the contest highest wave score for this nose pick. Photo by Mike Balzer

“We got to see upcoming groms, who rip, and the older guys we’ve looked up to, who  still have the fire,” Matt Pagan said after being named the South Bay Boardriders Club Contest Series men’s open division champion during Sunday night’s awards ceremony at Sangria.

The Body Glove team rider placed first in three of the contest series’ five events. But as a measure of the level of competition, Pagan finished third in the final contest, held Sunday at the Manhattan Beach pier. Fellow pro Dane Zaun placed first and Zaun’s younger brother Kelly, a four-year standout at Mira Costa was second.

The older Zaun was awarded the day’s highest wave score, an 8.8, for a close-out wave on which he performed just one maneuver. After breaking the tail free he stuck the nose of his board into the wave and pivoted the tail 360 degrees around the nose before straightening out. He called the maneuver a “nose picker.”
The colorful name notwithstanding, South Bay Boardriders president and surf photographer Mike Balzer told the awards ceremony audience that Zaun’s maneuver is one you might hope to see at an ASP contest, but not a local contest.

Surfer Mike Purpus shoots Manhattan pier

Former U.S Surfing champion Mike Purpus shoots the Manhattan Pier. Photo by Mike Balzer

Pagan’s expression of appreciation Sunday night was an apt confirmation of the Boardriders’ decision to stage the contest series and the local surf shops to support it.

The goal, according to club president Mike Balzer, was to bring attention to the area’s top competitive surfers, and provide a training ground for promising young surfers. Contest director Matt Walls noted that despite the South Bay’s storied surfing history, it has produced few professional surfers in recent years.

Sunday’s contest was a reminder of that storied history, with former top ranked pros, including Mike Purpus, Ted Robinson, and Chris Frohoff, and a portending of a promising future in the Zaun brothers, NSSA college champion Dayton Silva, top ranked NSSA juniors Rachel Tominaga and Noah Collins, and a whole crew of groms, whom, as Pagan observed, “rip.”

Another positive sign was that Sunday’s contest had the largest turnout of the series, with over 200 entries, from six to 60, including six full heats of men’s open competitors. The surf was also the largest of the series. The fading south swell still had enough juice, even during the afternoon high tide, to supply overhead sets during most of the heats, which began at 7 a.m. and ended with the men’s finals at 6:45 p.m.

Sponsor Spyder Surfboards provided an elevated platform for the judges, who included ASP judges Mike and Pat Downey. Spyder also provided an electronic scoring system that allowed announcers Richard Dickey, Mark Cole and Jimmy Young to announce the competitors’ scores during their heats and spectators to watch the scores on an electronic scoreboard.

South Bay High School Surf League director John Joseph called the contest the best he’s seen in the South Bay since the legendary 1982 Dewey Weber Long Board Contest.

At the awards dinner, the top three finishers in 10 divisions were awarded prizes that included Adventure Sport Tour trips to Nicaragua, Body Glove wetsuits, Spyder surfboards and Sector Nine skateboards.

Contest Series top three finishers: Men’s Open – Matt Pagan, Dane Zaun, Dayton Silva. Open women – Natalie Anzivino, Becca Rosen, Rachel Tominaga. Longboard: Brent Bland, Gus McConnell, Dave Schaefer. Masters (over 40) – Ted Robinson, Scott Johnson, Chris Frohoff. Legends (over 50) Scott Daley, Derek Levy, Mike Purpus. Junior boys – Kent Nishiya, Dave Slay, Kelly Zaun. Junior girls –Rachel Tominaga, Jordan Wible, Ailiden Sheden. Boys – Noah Collins, Codee Stamis, Sam Dunbar. Groms (12 and under) Kile Beatty, Ron Sannes, Jack Rowan. Micro groms — Kieran Walls, Shane Moseley, Noah Steinmetz. ER

Paddle out for Granny
A paddle out in celebration of the life of Leroy Grannis will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 on the south side of the Hermosa Beach pier. He died in January at age 93. Granny, as he was known to all, caught his first wave when he was 12, at 14th Street in Hermosa in 1931. Four years later, he became a founding member of the Palos Verdes Surf Club. He would continue surfing for another seven decades, until age 84 and remain active in photography into his 90s. Taschen, the prestigious German publisher, published a coffee table book of his photos, a 275 page collection titled Leroy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s. Surfer’s Journal also published a coffee table collection of his photos titled Photo: Grannis, Surfing’s Golden Age 1960 – 1969.

The Hermosa Beach Surf Museum, Bo Bridges Studios on Hermosa Avenue and Sangria Restaurant on Pier Plaza will be featuring galleries and memorabilia of Granny’s work as part of the celebration of his life.

Hang 20: Surfing the {pages}
Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World by Mira Costa High graduate Michael Scott Moore, will have a book signing next Thursday, June 2 at Pages bookstore. Joining him will be Point Dume author Katie Arnoldi. 7 p.m. Pages is located at 904 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach.

South Bay Boardriders contest

Blue skies, big surf and a professional setup at the Spyder SB Boardriders May 21, 2011 contest. Photo by Mike Balzer

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