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  • subtitle: 5th Annual Stuart Single Fin Showdown Enjoys Good Waves And Good Vibes, All For A Good Cause

Written by  Justin Beard
Wednesday, 3/20/13

TURF: 5th Annual Stuart Single Fin Showdown To Benefit United Way of Martin County Presented By Ohana Surf Shop; Stuart Beach, Stuart, FL; March 16th, 2013.

ENERGY: Go ahead and throw out any misconceptions about single-fins being hard to ride. If you know how to surf, then you should be able to ride just about any kind of surfboard. Want proof? Just ask any of the 120 surfers who competed in the 5th Annual Single Fin Showdown. Sure, they’ll admit that some single-fins performed better than others. But by day’s end, the rippers always found their line.

Stuart Beach isn’t exactly known for its grinding barrels or air sections. However, neither is necessary to pull off a successful single-fin contest. All that’s required are waves, a decent sandbar, a beach large enough to accommodate a massive party, and an ample amount of free parking. Being able to enjoy St. Patty’s Day Weekend without being hassled by the cops (as long as it’s in a cup or can) is also a plus for thirsty surfers and spectators.

This March has been one of the coldest on record in South Florida, so no one was surprised when the mercury was hovering at 47 degrees around 6:00 a.m. the morning of the contest. It was hard to gauge just how big the surf was in the dark, but the sound of the shore pound indicated that the solid groundswell we had enjoyed for most of the week was still there. When the sun finally came up, we were stoked to see perfectly groomed chest-high waves with the occasional larger set and knew it was going to be one of those classic days.

FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Over the past few years, the Single Fin Showdown has enjoyed much of its success through grassroots marketing. But this year, Ohana Surf Shop took it to the next level by setting up an official event page on their website (www.OhanaSurfShop.com) and fully utilizing the power of Facebook to spread the word. The contest has now become one of the largest one-day amateur surf contests in Florida, and with only 120 slots up for grabs, it tends to fill up quick.

Since the beginning, the Single Fin Showdown has always been about riding a retro single-fin chosen at random while raising money for a good cause. The first year, we didn’t even have a longboard division, but we added it in year two and never looked back. It’s now become the most popular division, so finding a dozen or so vintage longboards for competitors to ride each year has become increasingly difficult. This year, we decided to switch things up and let everyone ride their own longboard, which turned out to be the right call as everyone from the competitors to the spectators to the judges benefited in what was a highly competitive division.

THE SLIDE: Surfers sometimes get a bad reputation because so often people see surfing as an individual sport. To some extent this is true, but collectively, surfers have an uncanny ability to rally behind a cause. And that’s what we’re able to achieve with the Single Fin Showdown.

Since 2009, the contest has raised more than $25,000 for United Way of Martin County, a local nonprofit agency that focuses on addressing Martin County’s most pressing needs. As usual, the raffle tent raised a couple thousand dollars and was stocked with tons of surf-related gear, an iPad, a Cronin Surfboard, a few skateboards, a custom painting by Walter “Dubz” Nowak of Dubzitized Surf Art, and a handmade king-size quilt and matching pillows created by Polly Beard.

In addition to raising money for United Way, more than $1,700 was raised for Brooke Thabit, a 17-year-old member of the Ohana Surf Team who severely broke her neck last year during Labor Day Weekend. Brooke has since made great strides in her recovery thanks to support from Ohana Surf Shop and the local surf community. In just a few of months, Ohana has raised more than $20,000 for Brooke, and her doctors believe she should be walking in a year or so.

The day finished with a party across the street at Ohana Surf Shop, where TC Paddle hooked everyone up with a free barbecue and the Ellemeno Beats, an up-and-coming surf rock band from Jensen Beach, played a couple of sets before awards were given out. This year’s division winners were more than stoked when they were given a sport coat complete with an embroidered crest and a sweet beach cruiser courtesy of The Bike Shop in Stuart. 2nd- and 3rd-place also got hooked up with a prize pack loaded with all kinds of surf-related gear.

THE PAIN: The waves can go south real quick during an East Coast surf contest. While we were blessed with solid chest- to almost head-high surf in the morning, the incoming tide really killed whatever lingering swell was hanging around and forced the competitors closer to shore. With sets getting more inconsistent and the surf getting mushier, surfers had to fight for whatever scraps they could get, which led to a couple of dings and a few bruised egos.

THE MAN: You really have to hand it to Jordan and Tara Schwartz at Ohana Surf Shop. They’ve given back more to Martin County in seven short years than most of us will ever give during our entire lifetime. Whether it’s raising thousands for United Way of Martin County or introducing Surfers For Autism to the Treasure Coast or training surfers for the Special Olympics or organizing successful fundraisers for their own teamriders, the Schwartzs do it all without batting an eye.

YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: "The sport coat is the best idea anyone has ever had for a surf contest. It’s killer to have something so unique instead of a plastic trophy!” –Greg Badgley, three-time Single Fin Showdown Men’s Champion

"I’d rate this contest a 10! Out of all the contests I do every year, the Single Fin Showdown has to be the funnest! As far as riding different boards, it’s matched by nothing else. It’s so much fun to get out there and see how boards used to ride and then having to figure them out along the way because you’re riding so many different boards as you advance." –Rob Bitzkowski, 2013 Single Fin Showdown Senior Men’s Champion

FINAL RESULTS OF THE 5TH ANNUAL STUART SINGLE FIN SHOWDOWN TO BENEFIT UNITED WAY OF MARTIN COUNTY PRESENTED BY OHANA SURF SHOP:

GROMS

1. Tommy Coleman

2.Cameron Quesada

3. Avery Aydelotte

4. Curren Schwartz

5. Skylar Magliochetti

6. Greyson Hargrave

JUNIORS

1. Chauncey Robinson

2. Fisher Grant

3. Hunter Roland

4. Ethan Loundsberry

5. Kasey Fillmore and Billy Marshall

MENS

1. Greg Badgley

2. Brent Meinhold

3. Justin Baker

4. Patrick Kelly

5. Kieran Grant

6. Drew Sweeney

SENIOR MENS

1. Rob Bitzkowski

2. Corey Cirrillo

3. Alex Maran

4. Phil Magliochetti

5. Kyle Lauritano

6. Joe Ryan

MASTERS

1. Brian Bowen

2. Thomas Cook

3. Robert Knight

4. Steve Meyer

5. Drew Jones

6. Chip Herber

7. Alex Rivera

LONGBOARD

1. Patrick Kelly

2. Fisher Grant

3. Brian Bowen

4. Michael Kiernan

5. Brent Meinhold

6. Mike Karol

WOMENS

1. Megan Kreiger

2. Skylar Magliochetti

3. Maddy Melizia

4. Crystal Lucas

5. Andrea Osborne

6. Morgan Bakinowski

 

 
 
 
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ESM FIGHT CLUB
ESM COMPETITION ARCHIVES
Access all the past archives of all competition features on EasternSurf.com.