Shaper Studios and Vissla welcomed a crop of Southern California's creators and innovators back to the beach this year for Self Shape Surf Contest #03. Despite some pretty funky weather on set up day and poor swell forecasted, we were ultimately blessed with a beautiful sunny day and, to everyone's surprise, extremely contestable 3 foot surf throughout the event.
The format of this year's contest remained the same: 4 divisions (Mens, Womens, Juniors, and Invitational), best 2 wave total to determine heat winners, and the only board requirement was that it had to be a self shaped surfboard. The most exciting change was welcoming a new team of sponsors into our contest family; Suja Juice, Mintz-Levin, GoPro, and Trace App.
The original intent of the Self Shape was to take all of the hard work from the shaping studio, or back yard shed, or converted garage, or cargo container, and meet at the beach for just one day and share some waves.
Then we thought about bringing a tent or two. Maybe we'd have a friendly little surf heat and end the day with a BBQ. Well... why only bring two tents if we could bring 6 or 8? Why only run one heat if there was time to run 88 surfers and 19 heats? Why have a little BBQ when we could have an all out party back at the Shaper Studios clubhouse? If that was year one, you can only imagine what year three looks like.
The Self Shape Surf Contest is a big celebration of surfing, craftsmanship, and community, disguised as a contest. The Invitational division is an essential part of this disguise, where we invite 12 friends, that you would never want to surf against, out to put on a Self Shape spectacle.
From the Vissla roster we invited, Cam Richards, Mason Barnes, Andrew Jacobson, and everyone's favorite human Donald Brink. We also had SS01 champion, Lucas Dirkse, hunting for his second Golden Planer.
Heat #1 kicked off with Kameron Brown splitting the peak with Cam Richards. Kam going right on his second self shape log and Cam going left and to the air on a sub-5ft twin fin fish. It wasn't long before Mason Barnes joined Cam Richards on the reeling left and the two pals from team Vissla spent the rest of the heat trading waves all the way to the beach. With Derrick Disney out of the country, we needed a Seaside local to represent, so we called in local hero, Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot, who surfed his way into the finals on his first asymm self shape.
Heat #2 was stacked with former Self Shape Champion Lucas Dirkse, Hawaiian-Diegan Kahana Kalama, Colombia's pride Simon Salazar, and one of California's very best eco-surf craftsman Michael Emery. It was Kahana that showed up and showed the crowd how to absolutely shred your first self shape. He picked up his 5'6 Twin Fin Pin the night before from Shaper Studios San Diego, took a warm up run the morning of, and then casually ripped through his first heat and onto the finals.
1. Cam Richards 16.33
2. Simon Salazar 14.66
3. Mason Barnes 14.00
4. Lucas Dirkse 12.66
5. Kahana Kalama 11.66
Invitation Winner: Cam Richards
Two-time juniors champ, Cole Houshmand, sat this year out with a busy contest schedule and left the door open to crown a new juniors champion for Self Shape 03. With almost an entirely new field of 12 juniors competitors, it was first year competitor Noah Slawson edging out three-time Self Shape finalist, Tyson Lockhart, to take home his first Golden Planer.
Juniors Open Finals
1. Noah Slawson 13.00
2. Tyson Lockhart 11.00
3. Chase Jacoway 10.66
4. Koby Huges 10.33
4. Kalani 10.33
6. West Adler 7.00
7. Luke Worsham 6.33
Juniors Winner: Noah Slawson
The Womens Division is always a highlight of the Self Shape Surf Contest and this year was no different. From 7:00AM to 3:30PM, we take no breaks between heats, yet in those moments leading up to the Womens first heat it feels like the beach lights up and attention turns away from the water and onto the sand as the women gather on the beach and thousands of group photos.
The camaraderie amongst the female competitors is exactly what the Self Shape represents. Returners to the Self Shape were Shaper Studios Members Mia Bolton, Hallie Jacobs, and 2X World Champion, Jen Smith. New to the Self Shape were Shaper Studios Members, Nalena Kumar, Lisa Sundeen, Jacklyn Burke, Linnette Clark, and Invitational surfers Sara Taylor, Malia Ward, and Jenayl Peters.
Of all the incredible surfing throughout the women's event, it was 2x World Champion, Jen Smith, who surfed her way the win and become the first female to hold 2 Golden Planers.
Womens Open Finals
1. Jen Smith 15.33
2. Sara Taylor 12.00
3. Jenayl Peters 10.33
4. Malia Ward 9.33
5. Mia Bolton 8.33
Womens Winner: Jen Smith
Our largest division has always been the Mens Open with 54 surfers all competing for 1 Golden Planer and a lifetime membership to Shaper Studios. This is a surf anything, ride everything category that has seen the likes of asymmetrical boards, finless shapes, and even old wooden paipo boards. This year the competition was heavier than usual and everyone brought the very best of their self shape quiver down to Seaside Reef.
As we pushed through round one and into the semi-finals the competition just kept heating up and so did the waves. There were some familiar faces that made it to the finals but it was Shaper Studios Member, and marine biologist, RJ Jiorle who ended up with the Golden Planer and the lifetime membership.
Team Vissla took three of the top spots this year with Vissla Marketing Manager, Eric Melburg surfing his twin fin fish to second place tie with Vissla Team Manager, Corban Campbell. One of our favorite artists/photographers, Taylor Dunfee (@tsdivision) moved through three stacked rounds and into a 4th place finish by catching some of the longest noserides of the day.
Mens Open Finals
1. RJ Jiorle 12.00
2. Eric Mehlberg 11.66
2. Corban Campbell 11.66
4. Taylor Dunfee 11.33
5. Justin Wilson 11.00
6. Bobby Lockhart 10.33
6. Ryan Kloostra 10.33
Mens Winner: Rj Jiorle
Surf Photos: Alycia Wilson (@alycia.wilson.photography) and David Evanko (@minivanphotography)
Competitor Portraits: David Evanko (@minivanphotography)