Kevin Cody

Hermosa Beach delivers in Hermosa fashion for Subaru Pacific Hotdoggers Surf Contest

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Hermosa Beach Hotdoggers vintage board contestants. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Mike Purpus

Hermosa Beach native Tommy Witt, whom some consider the best longboarder in the world, arrived at the Hermosa pier Saturday morning and said to the local surfers, “Are you guys crazy, surfing these waves, everyday?” Witt had driven up from his home in San Clemente to compete in the Subaru Hermosa Beach Hotdogger longboard contest.

The wind was offshore. The air and water were 70 degrees. And a south swell was delivering head high sets. But being Hermosa and being fall, the winter sandbars hadn’t formed and the waves were closing out close to shore.

The only thing positive about the close-outs were that the mid-morning high tide made the waves break close to shore, cutting down on swim time. Competitors were required to ride single fin boards, without leashes.

Abel Ybarra at home in Hermosa. Six feet overhead, six inches below. Photo by Kevin Cody

Shortly after Witt expressed concern about the waves, his Huntington beach friend and rival Dakota Faircloth pulled into a barrel and came out with blood spurting from above his left eye, where his board clocked him. Faircloth got patched up and went on to win the men’s division.

Other top surfers from down south included Oceanside’s Michelle Layton (who would have won the women’s division had a closeout barrel not sent her to the hospital for stitches), the Takayama surfing family and San Clemente’s Steve Newton. Among the South Bay surfers hoping to capitalize on their local knowledge were Mike Siordia, Dave Schaefer, Troy Campbell, Hudson Ritchie, Chris Hall, Ethan Pozzolo, Shane Jones, Sarah Foley and Morgan Sliff.

Sliff, who surfs south of the pier every morning won her first heat and placed second in the finals. Palos Verdes Cove ripper Marisa Archimbaud said of the first women’s heat, “It was a nightmare surfing with Morgan and Jessica Taft (from San Diego). It was more like a final. Jessica got some great tube rides on the nose. I took the leftovers but it wasn’t enough to advance. I’m just happy to have been a part of the contest.”

“I had fun out there. It’s a blast just surfing with so many hot surfers from all over,” Taft said.

Spider Surf’s Sarah Foley faced Layton in her first heat. Foley pulled into enough backside barrels to advance to the finals, where she placed fifth. “I was amazed I made any of the waves because they were so fast. It was hard to pull in without getting slammed to the bottom,” she said.

Rachel Layton hangs five after getting clocked in the mouth by her board on the previous wave. Photo by Kevin Cody

Layton brought the crowd to its feet by pulling into an overhead barrel, rushing to the nose and hanging 10. But it came at a cost. She came up bleeding from getting hit in the mouth by her board. Competitor and retired LA firefighter/paramedic Dave Schaefer swam out to help her back in. But Layton waved him off and pulled into the barrel of another set wave. (Two waves were required to advance.) Layton won the heat, but couldn’t stay around for the finals. When she swam ashore to retrieve her board a lifeguard convinced her to go to the hospital for stitches.

San Diego’s Laura Canavan won the women’s division by hanging five on just about every ride.

The high tide peaked, pushing the impact zone to within a few feet of shore, just in time for the legends (over 51) heat. My first wave slammed me to the bottom before I could turn. My second wave held up long enough for me to go about 10 feet and then get slammed to the bottom. I passed on the next wave, a 7-foot close-out, but advanced to the finals on a small shore wave that sped down the line as the horn ending the heat went off. Also advancing from my heat were Troy Campbell and Mike Takayama, who was as smooth and sharp on the nose as his legendary uncle Donald.

In the finals we met up with Joey Lombardo whose local knowledge earned him first place in the legends division and Abel Ybarra who pulled in and out of one of the best barrels of the day.

In the Super Dogger Heat, the 30 competitors were required to ride 60s era boards, wear Hawaiian shirts and put $20 in the pot. Foley put on the best overall performance, but Shane Jones caught the best wave to win the pot. He would need the money for medical bills. In his next heat he hit the bottom and dislocated his shoulder.

In the men’s open division, Brendan White was second, behind Faircloth, and Dave Schaefer of Hermosa was third. Schaefer also won the 35 to 50 division.

Other top finishers were — Boys under 18: 1. Will Allen, 2. Ben Goldstein, 3. Kevin Elliott. Girls under 18: 1. Emily Flavin, 2. Brooke Carlson, 3. Tess Goddard. Men’s 18 to 35: 1. Hudson Ritchie, 2. Grant Noble, 3. Ethan Pezzolo. Men’s 36 to 60: 1. Dave Schaefer, 2. Whiskey Tango, 3. Brendan White.

The contest was organized by Eddie Solt and Wright Adaza and judged by

Marcus Fender, Mike Downey, Chris Wells, Adam Davenport. South Bay Boardriders Karen Tominaga managed the results. For complete results, visit ER

LA Bandits “Lil Bandito” Under 18 Boys

1. Will Allen

2. Ben Goldstein

3. Kevin Elliott

4. Curran Lizares

5. Luke Pond

6. Joe Kisling

Jonesea Wetuits “Mermaid” Under 18 Girls

1. Emily Flavin

2. Brooke Carlson

3. Tess Goddard

4. JoJo Fitzsimmons

5. Erin Reilly

6. Heather Huff

Hippy Tree “Heavy Happenins” 18-35

1. Hudson Ritchie

2. Grant Noble

3. Ethan Pezzolo

4. Christian Stutzman

5. Steve Buchan

6. Kris Hall

Liquid Salt Magazine “Mid-Life Crisis” 36-50

1. Dave Schaefer

2. Whiskey Tango

3. Brendan White

4. Nic Votto

5. Jeremy Porfilio

6. Dave Wells

Naja’s Place “Crusty Legends” 51+

1. Joey Lombardo

2. Mike Purpus

3. Michael Takayama

4. Abel Y-barra

5. Troy Campbell

6. Rickey Judalena

Subaru Pacific Lovely Ladies Open

1. Lauren Canavan

2. Morgan Sliff

3.Amy Reda

4. Jessica Taft

5. Sarah Foley

6. Beth O’ Rourke

Subaru Pacific Hotdogger Open

1. Dakota Faircloth

2. Brendan White

3. Dave Schaefer

4. Mike Siordia

5. Ethan Pezzolo

6. Kris Hall

Best of winners

Yellow Rat “Best Noseride”

Tommy Witt

Yellow Rat “Best Wipeout”

Michelle Layton (nine stitches and a concussion)

Yellow Rat “Best tandem”

Cormac O’Brien and Will Allen

Most Radical Roller Coaster

Mike Purpus



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