Hotdogger Surf Contest reunites Old School surfers at Hermosa Pier
by Mike Purpus and Kevin Cody
In 1961, 13-year-old David Nuuhiwa, arrived in Hermosa Beach from his native Hawaii to stay with Big surfboard shaper and fellow Hawaiian Donald Takayama, a future Hermosa Surfer Walk of Fame inductee. In 1968, Nuuhiwa won the US Surfing Championships at Huntington Beach and became recognized as the finest surfer of the 1960s, according to Matt Warshaw Encyclopedia of Surfing. The Bing Nuuhiwa Noserider, designed by Takayama, became the best selling board of the era. On Sunday, Sept. 30, Nuuhiwa, was reunited with fellow ‘60s era surf stars and Hermosa Surfer Walk of Fame inductees Mike Purpus and John Joseph at the Hermosa Beach pier for the Hermosa Beach Hotdogger Championship. The third annual, old school longboard contest, founded by Ed Solt and sponsored by Subaru Pacific attracted longboarders from up and down the coast, as well as Puerto Rico and Australia. Nuuhiwa was the celebrity judge. Joseph also judged, as did John Grannis, son of legendary Hermosa Beach surf photographer Leroy Grannis. Purpus competed in the Legend’s division and placed third. During the post contest party at Naja’s on the Redondo Pier, the 70-year-old Purpus was presented with a birthday cake bearing an image from his youthful Playgirl Magazine centerfold. Also at the afterparty, a documentary on Leroy Grannis by clothing brand Bend was aired.
Photos by Kevin Cody
The Hotdogger is part of Solt’s ongoing crusade to celebrate the South Bay’s surfing heritage. Solt recently helped resurrect the Bay Cities Surf Club, whose members helped judge the contest. President Shawn O’Brien was head judge. Other judges included Marisa Archimbaud, Mel Davenport, Adam Davenport, Mike Geib, Joey Lombardo and Pat Cahil, and Tucker O’Shia. Stevo Wilson, Ian Ritter, Lauren Jozeft, Zack Stoller, and Kolby Holdsworth ran the check-ins. Bobby Warchola handled the announcing. David “DX” Wells, hand painted, metal flaked and kustomized vintage hubcaps that served as trophies.
Contest rules required boards be traditional single fins and nine-feet or longer. Leashes were allowed, but frowned on and there was no interference rule. A $100 prize was awarded to surfers who rode tandem after their boards collided. The contest also included a notably old school Big Slice Division sponsored by Mickey’s Deli. Solt cemented his Old School credibility by winning the division, which required a waistline of 37 inches or greater and a weigh-in of 225+.
Though the honorees were from a past generation, the day’s top honors went to the current generation. Small, glassy surf created ideal conditions for long nose rides.
“I love the Hotdogger because it brings the best surfers from up and down the coast with all their inventive surfing equipment, different styles and ideas,” Hudson Richie said. The 21-year-old Redondo resident recently starred in the feature film “Summer of Age,” playing a role pretty much like his real life role. Richie was dominate in the early Men’s Open heats and finished fourth. His band, “The Country Breakfast Band” performed at the Naja’s afterparty.
Local shaper Kris Hall’s walks to and from the nose were reminiscent of ‘60s Hermosa Beach board maker and pro Dewey Weber, whose footwork earned him the nickname “Little man on wheels.”
Mike Siordia gave an impressive endorsement for his new Bandit boards with fin-first takeoffs, followed by effortless appearing cross stepping. He finished third in the Hippy Tree 18-35 Division. Siordia’s dad Big Mike managed the Wayne Miyata Surfboard factory in the ‘90s.
Brian Bent represented the pre longboard era on his 12-foot, 80 pound Kook Box.
“I lived up the street from where Scotty’s on the Strand is now. It was a Taco Bell with the bowling alley next door back then,” he said, recalling his Hermosa youth. Bent designed the contest poster in the signature style he used to design the Becker Surf Shops.
Bing Surfboard owners Margaret and Matt Calvani came up from their shop in Encinitas with a strong team of surfers.
Local surfer Morgan Sliff put her local knowledge to use to win the women’s division. Sliff has surfed for over 1,000 consecutive days, many of those days at the Hermosa pier.
Ventura surf camp owner Jeff Belzer won the men’s open. He also won the Spirit of the Hotdogger award for bringing a bus load of Ventura groms.
Grom Cormic O’Bryan, the 9-year-old son of contest judge Shawn O’Brien, proved the longboarding tradition is good for another generation with a long cheater five he rode half a block, to the pier. He finished second behind Austen Gasser, of Malibu, in the Sunbum Fun Under 12 co-ed division. O’Bryan also finished 6ththe in the 13-17 Sector 9 boys division..
Mike Takayama, who came up from Oceanside, put on a nose riding clinic that evoked memories of his legendary uncle Donald, who is also on the Hermosa Surfer Walk of Fame. Mike’s son Kai Takayama, along with Will Allen, and Tommy Coleman,represented the current generation with strong performances. Riding a vintage Bing Surfboards David Nuuwiha Noserider, Allen won the Davenport Surfboards “Superdogger” session. The Superdogger had over 50 contestants riding pre-1968 surfboards.
The Bodega Boarder Crew, in their matching team jackets, won the inaugural King Harbor Brewing Team Challenge. The team consisted of Mike Siordia, Levi Prairie, Erin Ashley, Kris Hall, and Lillian Whitley
Hermosa Surfer Walk of Fame inductee and Lifeguard Medal of Valor winner Kip Jerger won the legend’s division with an old school head stand.
“I love the Hotdogger because you see everything,” Jerger’s former partner in Kanoa Surf Camp Troy Campbell said.
In a decidedly non old school gesture, Subaru Pacific provided $3,500 in prize money, divided equally between the sexes.
Shane Jones of Jonesea Wetsuits, awarded wetsuits to the winners. The Hippy Tree tribe brought their teepee. Kinecta Federal Credit Union provided free surf wax. Later Day’s Coffee, made sure caffeine was readily available. Chevron awarded gas cards to the finalists.
Subaru Pacific Hotdogger Open Men’s: (top finishers, in order) Jeff Belzer, Bobby Hasbrook, Will Allen, Hudson Ritchie, Brendan White, Mick Rogers.
Subaru Pacific Hotdogger Open Women’s: (top finishers, in order) Morgan Sliff, Lillian Whitley, Makala Smith, Sophia Arky, Summer Richley, Erin Ashley.
Hippy Tree 18-35 Mens: (top finishers, in order) Bobby Hasbrook, Jeff Belzer, Mike Siordia, Dane Perlee, Micah Wood, Nico Espinosa.
Sector 9 13-17 Boys: (top finishers, in order) Tommy Coleman, Luke Worsham, Cole Watson, Ryan Hughes, Tennyson Blue, Cormac O’Brien.
Jonesea Wetsuits 13-17 Girls: (top finishers, in order) Summer Richley, Paige Diomartich, Sophia Arky, Aolani Barreto, Sophia Caravello, Eva Levy.
Sunbum Fun Under 12 co-ed:(top finishers, in order) Austen Gasser, Cormac O’Brien, Carmen Lange, Lueila Pace, Henry O’Keefe, Max Kaplan
Kinecta Federal Credit Union 45-49 Senior Men: (top finishers, in order) Michael Takayama, Hans Geiger, Dave Schaeffer, Tupi Cabrera, Eric Jennings, Troy Campbell.
San Onofre Surf Company 60+ Legends: (top finishers, in order) Kip Jerger, Bobby Warchola, Mike Purpus, Joey Lombardo, Pat Cahill, George Wilson.
Mickey’s Deli Big Slice Division: (top finishers, in order) EdFactor, Stevo Wilson, Two Ton Tommy, Thomas Hammer,
King Harbor Brewing Co. Team Challenge:
Bodega Boarder Crew
Subaru Pacific Best of Winners
Best Rollercoaster: Robbie Kegel
Best Noseride: Micah Wood
Best Wipeout: Henry O’Keefe
Best Tandem: Luke Pond and Cormac O’Brien
Spirit of the Hotdogger: Jeff Belzer