Blazing Logs: Finals Day At The Duct Tape Invitational Sayulita - Stab Mag

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Style and grace in the morning's embrace, Kelis Kaleopa’a. Photo: Claire Murphy

Blazing Logs: Finals Day At The Duct Tape Invitational Sayulita

Justin Quintal and Kelis Kaleopa’a stand out above the rest in Mexico.

style // Apr 24, 2022
Words by Garrett James
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Beautiful, blazing hot weather and buttery logging conditions continued to bless the Duct Tape Invitational as it joined the MexiLog Fest in Sayulita, to celebrate the creativity of the world’s best longboarders.

However, these past four days have been more than just a celebration of the traditional singlefin. They’ve been a much-anticipated reunion for a group of international friends who share a love for the ocean, cross-stepping, and good times; a reunion that had been postponed indefinitely by that sonuvabitch Covid.

Just another day in the office for Andy Nieblas and his groovy catwalk through life. Photo: Claire Murphy

The first days of the family reunion were welcomed with more tequila shots than competitors in the heat draw, with the sound of Reggaeton thumping down the narrow streets into the early hours of the morning. However, the eve of finals day may have been the quietest night that Sayulita has ever heard, a moment of rest for the Mexican outpost that hardly sleeps; a stark contrast to what would undoubtedly ensue following the crowning of the DTI champions.

Milking it all the way through the shorebreak for what its worth. Justin Quintal. Photo: Claire Murphy

The morning of finals day saw the heat draw of feel-good enthusiasts transform into a fierce, composed, and driven group of surfers. The high fives before heats became fewer and fewer as the desire to make the final (and prize money) took over, peeling back layers to reveal the often hidden competitive nature within each and every one of these loggers. Once the finals were set, the surfers gathered at the shoreline for photos and an honorary beer and/or tequila chug to take off the edge. Now it was time to pull out all the stops to secure the bag.  

The Women’s finalists with an honorary “cheers” before heading out for log warfare. Photo: Claire Murphy

On the women’s side, Karina Rozunko stepped up and put on a show in her first DTI final, elegantly dancing across the tropical playground of a wave, hanging heels well into the shorebreak. It was a close final, but in the end Rozunko was unable to top the consistency and poise of Kelis Kaleopa’a, who put together the precise combination of noseriding, railwork, and style that it takes to win a DTI. 

Karina Rozunko elegantly perched on another beautiful Sayulita runner. Photo: Claire Murphy

From early on in the draw, it was clear to see that Andy Nieblas and Justin Quintal were the frontrunners for the Men’s division – Andy, with his silky smooth reflexes, cat walking up and down the peeling rights, and Justin, with his experience and ability to ride 10s through lengthy sections, crank hard turns, and seemingly never fall off his board. In the end, it was Quintal who peaked at the right time, in the final, to take his 10th Duct Tape crown. Joel Tudor joked, “Somebody needs to take out this guy’s knee already. Go full Tanya Harding.”

Duct Tape Invitational Sayulita Champions, Justin Quintal and Kelis Kaleopa’a. Photo: Claire Murphy

Immediately following the Duct Tape awards ceremony, the “high five world tour” kicked back into high gear and the celebrations went off without a hitch. Tequila and fresh sashimi, the Duct Tape skate jam at Shore Skatepark, passionfruit margaritas, and quite possibly the most entertaining night of karaoke I’ve witnessed –  a celebration that bled through the day and well into the night.

Jules Lepechaux, your favorite logger’s favorite logger. Signing off from Sayulita. Photo: Claire Murphy.

Final Results:

Men’s Duct Tape Invitational Sayulita

1st – Justin Quintal

2nd – Andy Nieblas

3rd – Jules Lepechaux

4th – David Arganda

Women’s Duct Tape Invitational Sayulita

1st – Kelis Kaleopa’a

2nd – Karina Rozunko

3rd – Hallie Rohr

4th – Rosie Jaffurs

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