Stab Magazine | How To Redefine Competitive Longboarding

How To Redefine Competitive Longboarding

Taking an innovative approach, Relik Longboard World Tour trims into Malibu this weekend.

style // Jun 22, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Usually, when somebody snags a contest permit for a spot like Malibu it becomes an exclusive affair. The bros always seem to benefit. But the Relik Longboard Tour took a different tack this week when they announced that they were opening up ten spots in a 40-minute expression session during their contest at First Point this weekend. All you had to do was follow their directions on social media for a chance to win a priceless spot in an empty Malibu lineup on Saturday afternoon.

A unique take on contest surfing, Relik’s thrown out the old rulebook in more ways than one. A people’s expression session is one thing, but they’ve even redefined their rulebook and who they invite.

This spring, video submissions from were accepted from surfers around the world. The top eight men and top eight women were selected and thrown into the main event. With equal money for the men and women, everybody’s a winner. There will be a $100,000 prize purse at Malibu.

For the dudes, Jared Mell’s the defending champ. He’ll be up against other notables including Andy Nieblas, Tyler Warren, Chad Marshall and more. For the ladies, Tory Gilkerson, Jen Smith Honolulu Bloomfield would appear to be early favorites.

The judging criteria has been completely redefined as well. 

“Rather than simply assigning points to an inventory of separate maneuvers, Relik establishes a standard of performance based on a unified aesthetic that we feel distinguishes longboarding from all other forms of surfing,” reads the description on 

The basis of the score will be derived from something they call “the Three T’S” — think the WSL’s “speed, power and flow” for logs. Relik defines them as:

  • Timing: The ability to ride the entire wave without running ahead nor falling behind the curl, but with the proper application of turns, stalls and cutbacks moving smoothly in and out of the pocket.
  • Tempo: Matching the speed of the board to the speed of the wave and carrying that speed throughout a series of integrated maneuvers.
  • Trim: Maintaining optimum speed throughout the ride, through all sections of the wave, without the hopping or pumping associated with shortboard surfing.

Other criteria include footwork, railwork, nosework and economy of effort. 

“The object is to let surfers express themselves freely, whether they’re riding a nine-six single fin or a nine-foot, two-plus-one,” Sam George, Relik’s editorial director, explains. “But rather than assigning points for specific maneuvers, our judges will be assessing elements like overall flow, economy of movement, footwork and timing, while at the same time rewarding the balance of both power and function. In short, encouraging surfers to push the boundaries of performance without sacrificing the inherent grace, style and beauty that distinguishes longboarding from all other forms of surfing.”

It looks like there’s going to be a waist- to chest-high southwest swell rolling into L.A. County this weekend. For some of the world’s best longboarders it’s game on…and for 10 lucky average Joes, enjoy the unclogged lineup during your expression session.



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