2017 VLF Steel Pier Classic & Surf Art Expo

June 8, 2017 • East Coast Contests

Written by Jason Hoover — The Virginia Longboard Federation’s annual surf and art extravaganza began as an event to both celebrate the life and stoke of Zeke Saunders and to give back to the Virginia Beach surfing and art community. Now in its 14th year, the Steel Pier Classic draws competitors from all over the country. This year, Surfline predicted flat conditions for the first two days of the event on May 27th and 28th, but luckily, as Dean and Mary Knight made a pre-dawn survey of the conditions on Saturday morning, there was a contestable, waist-high wave greeting them that held up all weekend.

Throughout the contest and art expo, participants and spectators were treated to local vendors, Hawaiian dancers, surfboard demos, and amazing art on sale created by both high school students and East Coast artists. The contest kicked off with a heart-stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by Paisley Brooks, and from there the first set of competitors took to the water. As the pros began battling it out on first peak, the SUP racers took to the water farther to the north headed towards the fishing pier and the tiny groms had their own push and go division on Second Peak, assisted by Seth Broudy School of Surf instructors. After they were done charging hard, they were rewarded with a medal and high fives from their families and spectators.

2017 Steel Pier Classic. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Contest highlights include Carolina Beach Longboard club members Kevin Penn and Colby Crombie surfing with a fluid style all weekend, with Kevin taking top honors in the Guy Takayama Pro Noseriding division and Colby making it to the podium on multiple occasions.

Guy Takayama Pro Noseriding winner Kevin Penn. Photo: Danny Holland

Leif Jones earned a huge win in the Open Longboard division over Kevin Penn with flowing carves and long noserides, while Surf & Adventure and VLF team rider Scott Pieno claimed his first Steel Pier victory in the Menehune Longboard category.

Leif Jones. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Local RVCA advocate and wood craftsman Philip Goold ripped his way to a Pro Shortboard division win, while VLF team captains Morgan Knight and Mikey Melichiorre won their respective Pro Longboard divisions. Mikey earned a well-deserved perfect 10 during one heat, and after 14 years of always finishing close to the top, Morgan was elated to earn her first Steel Pier Women’s Pro Longboard victory.

Morgan Knight and Mikey Melchiorre, your Women’s and Men’s Pro Longboard champions. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Head judges Travis Williams and Bud Easton kept things running smoothly along with the help of all-star commentator Gaylon Montgomery and Justice Jenkins, who took a quick break from the scaffolding to win the Big Kahuna Longboard division.

Gaylon Montgomery and Justice Jenkins on the mic. Photo: Robbie Hickman

And Justice Jenkins in the water taking a win in Big Kahuna Longboard. Photo: Robbie Hickman

The under 16 Mini Pro Shortboard and Longboard categories were new additions this year that had the groms frothing for cash. Jason Broudy took top honors in shortboard and Ryan Conklin edged out Saxon Wilson on the longboard side, with the champs taking home $200.

Under 16 Mini Pro Shortboard winner Jason Broudy. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Sandbridge local Kanoa Wong continued his winning streak of late, battling it out with Gavin Ferris to earn a victory in the always-exciting Menehune Shortboard division. For the third straight year using clean, aggressive turns, Josh Holland paddled his way to a win in the Men’s SUP Surf division, with Carrie Copenhaver winning on the Women’s side over her good friend and fellow Wahine Club member, Trish Steingold. Grey Copenhaver rode an upside down board on his way to the Retro Longboard title, while Laney Brooks slashed her way to the Open Women’s shortboard prize.

Menehune Shortboard champion Kanoa Wong. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Grey Copenhaver with an upside-down ride to win Retro Longboard. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Grey and his mom Carrie Copenhaver, who won Women’s SUP Surf. Photo: Robbie Hickman

The overnight theft of some of the student art show prizes from the show tent on Friday night threatened to dampen the mood of the event. Among the items missing was a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, custom-made Axis twin fin surfboard handpainted by Bang Art and glassed by Sothis Glassing, which was the top prize of the student art show. However, through the power of social media, someone realized the huge mistake they had made, and the art reappeared on Sunday morning. Kellam High school student and 1st-place winner Sidney Swoope was amped to add this prize to her quiver.

Dave Porch and Morgan Knight (right) present winning high school Surf Art Expo student Sidney Swoope (left) with her Axis twin fin surfboard handpainted by Bang Art and glassed by Sothis Glassing, which was stolen from the beach on Friday night but returned thanks to the power of social media on Saturday. Photo: Robbie Hickman

This year’s annual memorial paddle-out was a beautiful gesture to our fallen soldiers and friends, including Mickey McCarthy, Duane Duval, and Lee Jones. The Knight family, along with their team of volunteers, VLF members, and sponsors, worked their tails off and successfully provided the Virginia Beach community an exciting weekend featuring top-level pro longboarding, competitive amateur surfing, and ocean-focused artwork, along with a family atmosphere. VLF matriarch Mary Knight is already hard at work planning next year’s event!

This year’s Memorial Day paddle-out honored fallen US veterans, Mickey McCarthy, Duane Devel, and Lee Jones. Photo: Robbie Hickman

2017 VLF STEEL PIER CLASSIC & SURF ART EXPO RESULTS:

MENS PRO LONGBOARD

  1. Mikey Melichiorre
  2. Saxon Wilson
  3. Austin Hollingshead
  4. Pat Nichols

TOWNEBANK WOMENS PRO LONGBOARD

  1. Morgan Knight
  2. Kate Easton
  3. Katt Neff
  4. Leigh Powell

MENS PRO SHORTBOARD

  1. Philip Goold
  2. Jordan Montgomery
  3. Tyler Volpe

The Surf Art Expo and student art show in all its colorful glory. Photo: Robbie Hickman

GUY TAKAYAMA NOSERIDING PRO

  1. Kevin Penn
  2. Mikey Melichiorre
  3. Austin Hollingshead
  4. Evan Micele

MINI PRO LONGBOARD (16 & UNDER)

  1. Ryan Conklin
  2. Saxon Wilson
  3. Kevin Penn
  4. Colby Crombie

MINI PRO SHORTBOARD

  1. Jason Broudy
  2. Kanoa Wong
  3. Rachel Wilson
  4. Aaron Arsenault

MENS LONGBOARD

  1. Kevin Penn
  2. Brody Lewis
  3. Nick Copenhaver
  4. Liam McLaughlin

MENS SHORTBOARD

  1. Brody Lewis
  2. Wes Laine Jr.
  3. Patrick Lutz
  4. Tyler Hines

JUNIOR WOMENS LONGBOARD

  1. Rachel Wilson
  2. Ragan Curtin
  3. Laney Brooks
  4. Camden Hoover

Junior Women’s Longboard finalists. Photo: Robbie Hickman

LEGENDS LONBOARD

  1. Bruce Willis
  2. Bobby Chenman

LEGENDS SHORTBOARD

  1. Bruce Willis
  2. Barry Davis Sr.
  3. Roger Smith
  4. Gary Finnigan

MASTERS LONGBOARD

  1. Curtin
  2. Pat Agnew
  3. Mike Payne
  4. Steve Brooks

MASTERS SHORTBOARD

  1. Wes Laine Sr.
  2. Paul Kane
  3. Pat Cunningham
  4. Pat Agnew

Masters Shortboard finalists Paul Kane and Wes Laine Sr. Photo: Robbie Hickman

OPEN LONGBOARD

  1. Leif Jones
  2. Kevin Penn
  3. Liam McLaughlin
  4. Colby Crombie

OPEN SHORTBOARD

  1. Matt Aycud
  2. Kanoa Wong
  3. Bud Trent
  4. Tyler Hambliton

MENS LONGBOARD

  1. Brier Haycox
  2. Grey Copenhaver
  3. Josh Carolina
  4. Sean Knight

MENEHUNE LONGBOARD

  1. Scott Pieno
  2. Kanoa Wong
  3. Gavin Farris
  4. Parker Kitts

SUP SURF MEN

  1. Josh Holland
  2. Randy Harris
  3. Mike Copenhaver
  4. Brian Stokes

SUP SURF WOMEN

  1. Carrie Copenhaver
  2. Trish Steingold
  3. Camden Hoover
  4. Bailey Cox

Sisters Camden and McCauley Hoover blow a good-luck kiss before Camden’s Women’s SUP Surf final. Photo: Robbie Hickman

MENEHUNE SHORTBOARD

  1. Kanoa Wong
  2. Gavin Farris
  3. Zachary Starr
  4. Nolan Isenhour

CHICHO’S HOT N’ SPICEY MENS SHORTBOARD

  1. Erik Noaksson
  2. Barry Davis, Sr.

OPEN WOMENS SHORTBOARD

  1. Laney Brooks
  2. Rachel Wilson
  3. Sofia Carver
  4. Kendra Rentz

RETRO LONGBOARD

  1. Grey Copenhaver
  2. Andrew Curtin
  3. Mathew Will
  4. Colby Crombie

SR MENS LONGBOARD

  1. Lee Atkins
  2. Tom Demille
  3. Paul Youngk
  4. Mark Griffith

SR MENS SHORTBOARD

  1. Brad Styron

BIG KAHUNA LONGBOARD

  1. Justice Jenkins
  2. Pat Cunningham
  3. Paul Young
  4. Brian Stokes

Big Kahunas Longboard finalists. Photo: Robbie Hickman

WOMENS LONGBOARD

  1. Kate Easton
  2. Morgan Knight
  3. Leigh Powel
  4. Trish Steingold

BIG KAHUNA SHORTBOARD

  1. Pat Cunningham

TANDEM

  1. Kate Easton & Albert Barker
  2. Sarah Bimson & Regan Curtin
steel pier classic

Until next year, one last look at the 2017 VLF Steel Pier Classic… Photo: Robbie Hickman

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