An Eccentric Surf Event (In Florida, Naturally) - Stab Mag
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Step into a paradigm where fun boards and purple wigs are lucrative. Photos: Gunner Hughes

An Eccentric Surf Event (In Florida, Naturally)

Where tackling your opponent is a scoring maneuver and $100 bills rain from the sky.

elsewhere // May 18, 2022
Words by Zander Morton
Reading Time: 2 minutes

You know the old cliche: “the best surfer is the one having the most fun?”

Yeah, well, that’s bullshit at a professional surf contest. Fun doesn’t win money. At least not until last Saturday, at the Saint Augustine Pier in Florida, where Fat Tire revived a two decades old surf contest concept called the Single Fin Hoe Down, wherein a bunch of talented surfers — men and women, shortboarders, longboarders, pros and local rippers alike — compete in a single division on boards of every shape and size, so long as they only have one fin. All for $10,000 in cash.

‘Twas a single fin affair. Photo: Gunner Hughes

For the Hoe Down concept, “compete” was a loose term. Drop-ins were OK. Bad attitudes resulted in immediate disqualification and any sort of heat strategy was a sure way not to make your heat. Wigs and costumes were encouraged. And while good surfing was still the main focus, there were many other ways to make money. Like a WWE takedown on a surfboard. Or ripping in a way-too-revealing speedo.

Contest director/head judge Chris Ropero started the morning with pockets brimming with cash, sending $100 bills flying on the spot for anything he deemed deserving from the first heat through to the final. All the while, the day raised over 5k for two very deserving charities: Task Force Hydro1 and SurfearNegra.

Some legitimate surfing. Photo: Darby Moore

By the end of the comp, the field of 40 was down to 10, including pro surfers Noah Schweizer, Cody Thompson, Chauncey Robinson, and Sally Cohen (all the way from Hawaii), as well as former-CT’er Gabe Kling, and local legends Josh Autrey and Alex Hobbs. The waves for the final were pumping (by Florida standards), looking something like a small day at Upper Trestles, and so the surfers (mostly) dropped the costumes in favor of actual legitimate single fin surfing.

At the end of the final, Noah walked away $3000 richer for riding a retro-inspired diamond tail shaped by Ken White the same way he would his normal thruster: blowing tail down the beach, linking old-school turns with style and flair.

A tasty metallic treat. Photo: Gunner Hughes

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