Paul and his buddy Nick paddled across the Monterey Canyon yesterday yeaowwwww!!!
NICK NAME: New York
HOME TOWN: Monterey, CA
SPONSORS: Liquid Militia, Pearson Arrow, Natural Curves, Patagonia, My Wife
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- I grew up in Rockaway Beach, New York but have lived in Monterey County since 2000. I got my first real board in sixth grade. It was a 6'2" Rusty that was broken in half and put back together. I got my first real barrel that year and from then on I was addicted. Liquid Milita hooks me up with clothing contest entry money and some travel expenses, Pearson Arrow and Natural Curves shape me boards, Patagonia gives me discounts on wetsuits and some other stuff (because I work as a California State Lifeguard). My wife is my main sponsor though. You could call her my sugar moma. She makes me smoothies, green juice and forces me to eat healthy and do yoga.
Paul Wetterau News
This year would be different for participating in the Nelscott surf contest. For starters, I didn’t have my co-pilot Brian Gorrell, big wave rider, along for the ride. He needed to get his EMT certification. So the 14-hour drive from Pacific Grove to Lincoln City Oregon seemed a bit more painful, but somehow soulful and therapeutic.
Beyond that, there would be no Greg Long and Peter Mel to add glamour to the event and it wasn’t even part of the Big Wave World Tour, BWWT.
I had my doubts. I had just got back from my vacation with the warm waters of the North Shore of Oahu, to go to sit like shark bait in the Pacific Northwest, but Liquid Militia paid my travel expenses and entry fee. The wind was forecasted to be light to non-existent.
My lifeguard boss Erik Landry said, “Go it’s going to be buttery glass and pumping.”
But I looked at the forecast and had my doubts.
Aaron Ungerleider, last year’s finalist and BWWT competitor, who I’d just seen on Oahu kept calling me, “Are you going? Are you going?” I don’t know if it’s going to be big enough I replied. I had doubts, as it’s not part of the tour any longer and I was bummed that the big names weren’t going to be there. But I decided to go at 1:00 a.m.
Then as I was ready to leave my car wouldn’t start, so I tried to jump it and it wouldn’t work. Luckily my wife let me borrow hers and I was on it.
After barging up HWY 5 for a seemingly endless amount of time, I met up with some of the competitors and discovered that the swell was looking weak and there were only a few guys in the contest. I thought to myself that this was lame and that I should be home with my family.
Nevertheless, I got a good night sleep only to awake to cold, crisp air and pumping surf. It was solid 12 ft., glassy and consistent, with long walls. In other words, there were 25ft faces that were breaking smoothly and reeling uninterrupted for hundreds of yards. It looked like big Sunset Beach, Hawaii, but with no one out and the surf better.
More news hit me after. We would have six guys paddling in and six guys stand up paddling. The format had similarities to the Eddie Aikau event in Hawaii, where competitors would get a long time to surf.
To be exact, we had the peak to ourselves trading on and off for about three hours. We all had contest jerseys, so you could call it a contest, but the vibe was different. We had Jetskis™ to tow us to the peak and provide water safety, so it gave all of us a great opportunity to just go for it.
I rode my 10’0” Pearson Arrow rounder nose quad gun and got about 12 sick waves. This was quite better than last year, considering only got two in 2013. The vibes were great all around.
Jeremy Rasmussen the local boy took the win for tagging bomb after bomb.
Keith Galbraith also an Oregon bloke sat just a touch further in, right under the lip tagging some sick ones.
Mike Kotowski was sitting steep and deep and got the barrel of the day.
Colin Brown, a lawyer and Hellman got a few bombs to make me want to consider taking the bar exam.
Ed Guzman and I rode a wave that was a highlight for me, as it set the tone for the event.
Ian Wallace held it down for the SUP division catching some of the heaviest waves of the day.
This year I got second place, which was epic. The result meant nothing. I could’ve got last and wouldn’t have mattered. It was a great surf trip with cool people to make it happen.
The locals were super nice, and all of the organizers did great.
So, hats off to John Forse for driving a Zodiac out into the chaos as one of the first peeps to tap in to this place.
Forse did a great job for making this comp happen another year and we got better waves than 2013.
I guess I never got my chance to beat the top BWWT guys, but all I can say is, “You guys missed it. The waves were firing.”
EVENT #3 OF THE BWWT 2012/2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4th, 2013
Big Wave World Tour Champion 2010/2011, Jamie Sterling, takes top honors at the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic in Lincoln City, Oregon this Saturday, February 2nd 2013.
Contest organizers started the event with a pre-contest meeting Friday night as John Forse (Contest Director), Gary Linden (Director of the BWWT), competitors and staff discussed the following day’s contest operations, judging criteria and start time for maximizing peak swell conditions for the contest.
All awoke Saturday morning with clear skies and glassy conditions. In the earlier part of the morning, Ian Wallace, Haley Fiske and Drew Brophy gave an SUP Exhibition and were the test pilots to decide when to start the Big Wave World Tour Event.
By 11:15 am the first heat hit the water. Although a slow start, the event saw waves in the 25-30ft faces range in perfect conditions with the best big wave surfers in the world displaying their modern approach to big wave surfing. The display of big wave surfing at Nelscott Reef was incredible and the judges were handing out excellent scores throughout the day.
“After missing last year for the first time in seven years due to lack of swell/conditions, Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic came through in a big way to make #8 the lucky number.” John Forse, Contest Director
The A-frame nature of the reef allowed competitors to split the peak and maximize scoring potential with big drops and long walls. Round 1 standouts included Gabriel Villaran, Grant Washburn, Ben Wilkinson & Ben Andrews.
The Semi Finals saw an increased size in surf and many of the usual suspects were charging toward the final while other BWWT newcomers battled for the remaining slots. The standouts of the round were Gabriel Villaran, Jamie Sterling, Greg Long, Ben Wilkinson, Joao De Macedo, and Aaron Ungerleider.
The Final started at 4:15 pm with only 1½ hour’s left of sunlight. The final saw the largest and most critical waves of the day. Jamie Sterling stepped it up during the Final and collect two excellent scores, a 9 (best wave doubled) and 8.5 to receive a total of 26.5 out of 30.
“I’m stoked to have won. I love the wave… That’s why I’m here. To surf against world-class surfers at a world-class wave is just icing on the cake.” Jamie Sterling
The South Reef Bomb exhibition was a close battle between Nic Lamb and Rusty Long. Both exchanged many great waves in the 30ft face range. At the awards ceremony the surfers and fans gave the nod to Rusty Long.
We would like to especially thank SportsGuard for all their support for making this contest a reality.
Joao De Macedo
Photo: Richard Hallman
Finalists (LtoR) Gabriel Villaran, Jamie Sterling, Greg Long, Ben Wilkinson & Aaron Ungerleider
(Joao De Macedo not pictured)
Photos: Brian Overfelt
Surfers: (LtoR -Top to Bottom)
Aaron Ungerleider, Greg Long, Jamie Sterling, Rusty Long