The race competition scene may dwarf standup surfing contests in sheer number of events and participants. But with the recent influx of talented young paddlers, who’re mixing seamlessly with established, power surfing veterans, it’s hard to deny that standup surfing is pretty darn fun to watch. And events like the Ventura SUP Surf Challenge at C Street in Ventura, Calif., put some of the sport’s best on a quality wave, allowing them to do their thing with an audience.
After winning every heat he entered, San Clemente’s Colin McPhillips took home his second win in as many years at Ventura. The preliminary rounds on Friday featured glassy conditions and 3- to 5-foot swell all day. Fairly epic for Ventura. “Pretty much any excuse I can get to surf Ventura, I’ll take,” McPhillips said. “I love it here at C Street. More events like this just help to legitimize the sport.”
The women put on a great show in the chilly final Saturday after the fog rolled in. Candice Appleby took the win with a healthy dose of rail-to-rail surfing and off the top maneuvers. This after a race season where she won both the Battle of the Paddle Hawaii and California. France’s Caroline Angibaud ended second, Talia Gangini finished third and Diane Wenzel ended fourth. Angibaud, also a world champion wave skier was participating in the U.S. Wave Ski Championships, which were happening simultaneously.
Santa Barbara’s Tucker Ingalls found the right positioning in the junior finals, paddling into the biggest waves of the heat and taking advantage with a couple of nice wraparound carves and vertical snaps off the lip. “The waves were awesome and it was a great venue,” Ingalls said.
McPhillips took home the spoils, winning a free trip to Costa Rica with the win, but the level of surfing was high all around the whole weekend. Dana Point’s Dave Boehne was in good form throughout the competition, showing off his precision surfing and a dialed-in style that is among the funnest to watch in the sport today. And the airs. Huntington Beach’s Daniel Hughes found little ramps the whole event as did Salyulita, Mexico’s Fernando Stalla. Once the kids start consistently landing those airs, the sport’s possibilities are limitless, simply because of the pure speed these paddlers can generate going down the line.
And being able to host contests at quality waves like C-Street can only help accelerate the progression.
1. Colin McPhillips
2. Fernando Stalla
3. Lionel Angibaud
4. Dave Boehne
1. Candice Appleby
2. Caroline Angibaud
3. Talia Gangini
4. Diane Wenzel
1. Tucker Ingalls
2. C.D. Kinley
3. G. Ross
4. Mathew Hughes
Browse more pics at the Surfingsports.com blog.