by Ken Merrill
Up until a few days ago I felt all the hype concerning the Great Whites was becoming a circus show and I hate to be the clown. I’m not laughing now, of course, as surfing has changed for all of us who seek the ocean waves to sooth our daily chaotic lives. But where do we draw the line?
Photo: Hermanus Backpackers.
A dead seal with its fin bit off was seen rolling along the shore break last week at Marconi beach. Was it a boat propeller? I doubt it. A pilot spotted over 30 great whites hunting between Monomy and Nauset on a recent sunny day.
I know fishermen. Big guys! They won’t even put their big toes in the water, yet I find myself surrounded by lineups of twenty guys deep at 6:30 in the morning at prime feeding time. Our own Cape Cod newspaper has seemed to stopped glamorizing it. I’m sure many Outer Cape surf shops are taking a sigh of relief. Some business are profiting from it. They all drew a line it seems.
Last Sunday, the seals at Marconi were congregating right in the break as a pack. More rubber than I've ever seen except at Monomy or Truro. No place seemed safe. Local surfer Drew Taylor grabbed my Dewey at one point and made several sweet nose ride passes on a line between the seals and the beach.
I watched and roasted tube steaks on my grill. As we lunched, the four letter word beginning with C and rhyming with gull was used several times in reference to both the seals and great whites. I also wondered how seal steaks would do on the overseas market.
When the tide closed in, several of us surfers grabbed rides amongst the seals not wanting to give up the final waves of the day. The seals eventually moved down toward Truro as the tide became too high.
I surfed the same spot earlier in the same week with my good friend, NECN weather man, Tim Kelly. A few seals were just outside the lineup. I questioned Tim’s sanity when he told me he was going out the next day on the OCEARCH research boat to see if he could film them capturing and tagging a great white. They didn't, but if they had, would Tim have ever surfed again? I doubt it!!! We all have to know when to draw the line.
UPDATE - NANTUCKET TRIP RESCHEDULED - REV2
August 29th 8:30am - Mike Marks is bringing the boards across on his 25' sailboat the Flying Fish. The crossing is now taking place this morning with wind 15-20 from NE. We'll be rocking and rolling. The N.E. Summer boards will now be at Cisco Beach on Nantucket on Friday, August 30th at noon.
2013 Ozone Classic Results
By Peter Pan
It is not possible to imagine a surfing contest running off as perfectly as the 2013 Ozone Classic. There was great organization, cloudless sunny skies, warm air and water temperatures, and excellent surf. The site was Cisco Beach, one of the premier surf beaches located on the exotic island of Nantucket, located off the New England coastline. This year’s event raised funds to build a new playground on the island. With many local businesses donating time and money, over 1000 surfers and residents participated in the activities. Almost 100 surfers from all over the northeast competed for bragging rights and some big prizes. This event was the result of several months’ of preparation, led by John Jordin and Melanie Kotalac, two of the local surfers who live on Nantucket year round. This is the 3rd year that the Eastern Surfing Association-South New England District has encouraged members to participate and fully rated the contest.
Parker Hall - 2nd Place Longboard Final.
As in previous years, the surfing competition was of the highest caliber, especially in the Open Men’s division. Surfers had to battle through 8 rounds of heats before getting to the final, held during the best possible surf at mid-tide. With solid shoulder high sets pouring in, the finalists had plenty to work with, and there were several 9-point rides given by the panel of judges. It was a dramatic backside tail slide and high-extended floater into the shore break that gave Peter Osley the nod over Chuck Barend for the win. Barend had one high point ride, but took off at the end of the competition area amidst a sea of surfers, and judges only saw a portion of the entire ride, as he surfed his way out of the pack. A hard driving Quinn McCrystal got two great rides but it was not enough to overtake Barend or Osley.
Men's Winner, Peter Osley Banging It Off the Lip. Photo Sally Bates Hall.
The Men’s Long board division was also quite competitive, with some outstanding performances in the ideal conditions. By the time the final arrived, both the lefts and rights were easily makeable. In a very close heat, Matt Hill beat out Miles Hamilton with a great nose ride and switch foot for the win. Hamilton milked two long lefts to top Gary Kohner for 2nd place.
Longtime Nantucket local ripper, Rachael Powers topped a tough Women’s Open Long board division final, over another hot local, Mya Kotalac. Powers has always had a knack for finding the best waves of the heat, and this day was no different. Mya matched Rachel’s moves, but the two best waves of the heat went to Powers. With Melanie Kotalac taking the 3rd spot, it was an all-locals sweep of the top three in that final.
3rd Place Boy's finisher, Dan Lyden. Photo by Sally Bates Hall.
There was plenty of wipe outs and exciting action in the newly created Stand-Up Paddle Board Division, which is now a rated ESA category in competition. Some of the biggest sets of the day came through during the semi-finals and finals, but the afternoon onshore winds made take-offs quite the challenge. Gary Kohner managed to find two big rights with clean faces, to carve his way into the first place over Rick Kotalac. With David Iverson taking third, this also became an all-locals sweep of the top three. Special mention should be made of the only female competitor in the event, Sally Bates Hall, who got some hoots from the beach with a couple of steep take-offs in the semi-finals, managing to keep control of the giant SUP she was riding.
Peter Pan - 1st Place Masters
Other outstanding performances included Boys winner Luke Johnson, who won every heat and the final with some great little barrel rides. Spencer Bridges continued his domination in the Junior Men’s division, as he also won every heat, including the final round over a determined Corran Moore. He topped that off with some great hot-dogging moves to win the Junior Longboard division. Peter Pan borrowed a board off the beach to win the Masters division, Ed Barend slid into two great backside lefts to top the Boys Longboard final, and his sister, Maria got the best wave of the heat, to win the Girls final.
BOYS-1.Luke Johnson 2.John Sussek 3.Curtis Maltby 4.Dylan James 5.Dan Lyden 6.Sam Pagon
JUNIOR MEN-1.Spencer Bridges 2.Corran Moore 3.Matt James 4.Jed Monaco 5.Brandan Loveng 6.Noah Davidson
MEN-1.Peter Osley 2.Chuck Barend 3.Quinn McCrystal 4.Matt Hill 5.Ryan Webb 6.Miles Hamilton
MASTERS-1.Peter Pan 2.George Consagra 3.Asa Hubner GIRLS-1.Maria Barend 2.Shea Lyden 3.Callie Platt
WOMEN-1.Ana Barend 2.Mya Kotalac 3.Leah Cabral 4.Melanie Kotalac 5.Christy Buckholtz 6.Greer Lowenstein
BOYS LONGBOARD-1.Ed Barend 2.George Nickoll 3.James Taaffe 4.Curtis Maltby 5.Cameron Gottlieb 6.Cooper Goetze
JUNIOR LONGBOARD-1.Spencer Bridges 2.Parker Hall 3.Natty Davidson 4.Noah Davidson
MENS LONGBOARD-1.Matt Hill 2.Miles Hamilton 3.Gary Kohner 4.Chuck Barend 5.Spencer Bridges 6.Kristian Hill
WOMENS LONGBOARD-1.Rachael Powers 2.Mya Kotalac 3.Melanie Kotalac 4.Leah Cabral 5.Mischael Olson 6.Joelle Dineen
SUP OPEN-1.Gary Kohner 2.Rick Kotalac 3.David Iverson 4.Tucker McCready 5.Matt Hill 6.Brooks Hall
Bay Challenge & Shark Paddle
Aug 16, 11:15pm - Less than 5 hours from now up to 100 marathon SUPers will be launching from Long Beach in Plymouth to paddle 34 miles across Cape Cod Bay to Mayo Beach in Wellfleet for the 6th annual Cape Cod Bay Challenge. The party at Mayo will get started with the arrival of the paddlers, expected around 3:30pm. Some tickets are available at the beach. if you want to join the fun be sure to get there early. This "Grandaddy of all New England SUP events" benefits Christopher's Haven.
At the other end of the challenge spectrum is the Cape Cod Shark Paddle, an event to benefit shark research that is taking place on Town Cove in Orleans on Monday morning, August 19th. The Shark Paddle offers two 1/2 mile beginner races and a 2 mile race open to everyone.