The 6th Annual Nelcott Reef Big Wave Classic took place on Tuesday, November 2nd in Lincoln City, Oregon. For the second year, it was a paddle-in event rather than a tow-in event. For the first year, it included a women’s division - the first women's big wave event. One of the stops on the Big Wave World Tour, this year’s event was held in the biggest conditions ever surfed at Nelscott Reef. Waves were 40 foot plus! Kohl Christensen took first place in the men’s division, and Kealla Kennelly won the women’s division.
Yesterday I saw the raw power of nature like never before. The Nelscott Reef 2010 big wave event erupted the biggest waves ever surfed in Oregon. Ron Hill and I got there just as they were launching the first sleds and it was pandemonium. The surge was so high it was picking up those logs that are left up top of the sand (since the last huge storm) and pushing them all around the beach like toothpicks.
The guys in the first sled to go out were very brave and garnered a new level of respect as watermen and sled operators. The walls of whitewater were so high and there were so few opportunities to get out that watching the sleds was as interesting as watching the surfing.
The waves were 40’+ and indescribable. The weather was perfect and comfortable in T-shirts. Light offshore winds made a spindrift off the top of the waves that was as high as the waves were tall. When the break exploded, it was as high as both!
Once the surfers were out there they paddled in to catch the waves. We were amazed that they managed to do this, the skill level unreal! Most of the drops were totally vertical. Positioning and wave selection were critical. Fewer waves were ridden than in a tow-in contest but each ride got more respect. Most of the boards where rhino-guns 10' to 11' with big, thick stringers and multiple fin combinations.
The peak to the south of the contest zone was A-frame and even bigger. Several non-contest tow-in crews were working it and also put on a good show.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to witness such an epic day!
Check out this video of Big Wave World Tour Director Gary Linden talking about the Nelscott Reef Event: