South Bay’s presence Felt at 2016 MSA Classic
By Ed Solt
For day 813, the “El Porto Streaker,” El Segundo’s Jeremy Porfilio, continued his surf streak at Malibu’s legendary first point — with only five other surfers out.
A member of the prestigious Malibu Surfing Association since 1999, Porfilio won the MSA Classic Invitational’s 40-49 division. Existing in some shape or form continually since the 60s, the MSA Classic is the premiere event for the Coalition of Surﬁng Clubs, a legion of longboard surf clubs from all over the world. During the weekend of September 10-11, more than 200 surfers competed in perfect waist to shoulder high waves at Surfrider Beach.
“I’ve been doing this contest for at least ten years,” said Porfilio. “I was shocked to beat Joel Tudor. It was surreal.”
As a two-time World Champion, eight-time US Open Champion and organizer of the Van’s Joel Tudor Duct Tape contest Series, it’s almost a given to see Tudor at the top of the podium. Tudor and El Segundo’s Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards are often credited with keeping 1960s traditional hotdogging longboarding alive during the 1990s and ushering its rebirth at the end of the decade. Fittingly, Porfilio was on his 10” Tyler Surfboards noserider — a shape Hatzikian has put over 30 years of development into. Porfilio navigated the nose with a couple of tens and gauging man hack cutbacks all contest.
“I was psyched to surf perfect Malibu in the final with Joel and Mike Myers [6th finisher],” he said. “One of my favorite all time surf movies is Chris Bystrom’s ‘Blazing Longboards’ from the early 90s. Watching them trade-off waves reminded me of Tudor and Myer’s surfing in the ‘Lobster Traps’ La Jolla section of the movie.”
Since the begining of his competitive career, Porfilio has surfed against Myers, who rides for the infamous Windansea Surf Club.
“Before my heat, I paddled over to Mike and told him that he was my surfing hero,” said Porfilio. “He thought I was trying to psyche him out. But I was being sincere.”
Contrary to the preheat exchange, Myers was the first one to hold up Porfilio’s arm in victory.
“I’m still in disbelief. My final was packed. I surfed against Tyler Surfboards teammate Devon Howard, on his ‘throttle’ model, who won a single fin event in Bali a couple of years ago; Justin Bevan [editor of surf magazine “Foam Symmetry] who almost missed his flight back home to Australia for the finals, and fellow MSA teammate Vince Felix, who’s won this event many times. Normally, I’m playing second fiddle to Vince,” said Porfilio. “It could have have been anybody’s final. We all kept trading set after set. Having uncrowded perfect waves is the reason why I do these contests.”
The South Bay hasn’t had a club enter into the Coalition of Surﬁng Clubs contest circuit since the early 2000s with the Bay Cities Surf Club. [The South Bay Boardrider’s Club, going strong for more than five years, is more shortboard orientated].
“Since we don’t have a club, there are familiar South Bay names scattered all over entering under different Surf Clubs,” said local star longboarder Shawn O’Brien. “We have the heritage like the MSA or Windansea. Besides being the true surf city USA, in the 60s, there were clubs almost at every surf break. In the 90s and early 2000s, Abel Ibarra did an amazing job with Aloha Days. Last year’s Hermosa Beach Hotdogger Surf Contest turnout showed we have a solid surf scene. It’s time we organize our own club or bring Bay Cities back.”
Also surfing for MSA, off-again-on-again South Bay resident, Mike Siordia, took on a heavy field in the 30-39 division. In the last year between launching his own surf label, the Bandits, Siordia has been clocking time at the point break perfecting his South Bay hotdogging steeze with his trademark hair flip. In the 14-19 division, Redondo Beach’s Hudson Ritchie held the title of ultimate South Bay surf gremlin under the flag of Hope Ranch Surf Club.
“Mike and Hudson both blew minds in the early rounds,” said Porfilio. “Hang fives to hang tens — they were on fire.”
Siordia made it all the way to the semifinals. Ritchie placed fourth. El Segundo’s Jesse Hinkle’s beachside understated demeanor, much like his teammate Porfilio, works to his disadvantage in a contest scenario. His personality reflects in his surf style. Judges often overlook calm smooth style for flashy big maneuvers.
“Jesse has an intricate knowledge of noseriding. It’s hard to pick up unless you know what you are looking for. His hang tens are in the most critical section,” Porfilio said. “He’s always consistent. By placing 5th in the 20-29 division, he gave the MSA the needed points to be the overall winner.”
As hosting club, the MSA put together another stellar event — the first with recently elected president Zander Hartman at the helm. Hartman’s family has South Bay roots.
“With a new MSA board, it’s been a crazy transitional year,” said Porfilio. “Zander’s won the event in the past. I have to give him a shout out and look forward to him building on his first success.” ER