It’s happened before (see cramikfest 4) and it will happen again, and it’s great. Santa Cruz showed up and lit the cramikfest on fire this year, taking the top 2 spots in both divisions (Am and Pro). Under un-stellar conditions, everyone still went all out and attacked the troughy, choppy conditions with ferocity and great attitudes.
The Cove in Bodega Bay, for the 4th year in a row played host to the cramikfest, and though the conditions were downright awful for much of the event, you couldn’t have noticed by looking at the faces of the faithful who came to enjoy skimboarding in northern California with all their friends. The morning started out well enough, I received a text from Deebo saying that dub was offshore and swell was up from Friday. Some pretty clean and fun waves treated the early risers, which is always the case, right? But as the morning went on, a slight 5mph or so south dub was steadily wreaking havoc with the texture of the water and making for un-clean conditions. Knowing that tide was coming up (not a good thing today) and seeing conditions deteriorate in front of our eyes, we decided to start the heats earlier than anticipated and planned (as pointed out by Geoff).
This year, instead of the standard cramik megaheat, the event was broken up to form 2 divisions, an Am (intermediate) and a Pro (advanced) division. I think this worked better than having 30 competitors going all at once and essentially almost making an even split of roughly 15 per division. Heats were shorter and there were plenty of breaks between heats to keep people from having to skim for 6 straight hours like last year.
Conditions were still pretty decent during the 1st pro megaheat, with lots of great rides going down. Sam owned the first heat, though there were plenty of standout rides from everyone. The cut was made to 8:
Intermediates were up next, mayhem ensued, and the top 8 were:
*After some late comers showed and pointed out that I had started the contest before the appropriate time, we held an “ancillary” heat for those guys and added a few to each division (show in red above). And btw, this was one of the funnest heats to watch – lots of energy from the Santa Cruz guys made for some great rides!
**Crass tried to bail before the semifinal heat but we tried to get him to come back but thought he bailed, so Swears stepped into his slot. then it turned out Crass did not leave, but we kept Swears in anyway.
Semi finals for the intermediates were run next and conditions had turned sour, but everyone still charged and laid it out there. Making the final was:
Pro semis up next and Deebo displayed some home-style dominance. I can’t remember how many barrels and great rides he had, but if the contest had ended after the semis he would have joined Thomas as the only 2-time cramik champs. At the end of heat, there were 4:
Finals for the Ams broke out and Kevlar, Vacadoug, and Swears battled it out for 2nd place. Jackie was charging the bigger waves and completing more of her rides and was a unanimous winner from all judges. In the end it shook out like this:
1st – Jackie
2nd – Kevlar
3rd – Vacadoug
4th – Swears
Finals for the Pros was hotly contested for all spots. Riders were at the middle peak and Deebo alone on the north peak at the start, with everyone migrating to the north peak by mid-way though the heat to get away from the trough that was enveloping most everything in the middle. This made it especially difficult for the goofy footers whose backside wraps often disappeared into a mush of brown water in mid ride. Chop was all over making planing difficult and the set waves were unpredictable as to where and when they might throw over or mush. The heat was so tight that mid-way through I think I had everyone even on my scorecard (ha).
When the heat finally ended, serious debate ensued which led Colin to proclaim that we were at a stalemate. This has never happened before in cramik history, and should be rectified at future cramikfests by having an odd number of judges, but on Saturday we were stuck. Solutions were thrown out that included, but were not limited to, flipping a coin, roshambo, and fighting. We decided to run a super-heat, mano a mano with Deebo and Wyatt battling it out for the top spot. Though I don’t think this thrilled either competitor, the crowd seemed to enjoy it, and when it was over and the idea proffered to the crowd to extend the heat for an additional wave each, the answer was a unanimous cheer from the spectators.
In the end Wyatt got the best waves of the super heat and emerged victorious, though Deebo did not go down without a fight and had several nice rides especially late in the heat. The results were as follows:
1st – Wyatt
2nd – Deebo
3rd – Cameron
4th – Square
Then the trophies were unveiled. For the uninitiated, the trophies are the highlight of cramikfest, created by Tom Heins each year. These things are works of art and belong in a gallery somewhere – seriously. Words can’t describe them. And though this event is much more about fun than the actual contest, I heard more than one person saying they wished they had gotten one of those trophies. Thanks Tom!
In addition, Rhino came up HUGE this year with prize packs for all competitors with gear from 2K Sports. Probably $1,000 worth of games in addition to head bands, wrist bands, bottle openers, and the coveted Bjorn Borg underwear, signed by the man himself! Thanks Rhino!
Colin kicked in with a strange and eclectic pile of videos and movies, including (among many other things) the underground Gordo Production of Corey at Stockton, Girls Gone Wild DVD’s, and even a VHS copy of Magic Carpet Ride that actually had a different skim video inside that I can’t remember.
Fenster and I kicked down with some candy to help keep people awake on the drive home.
All in all, I think it turned out well. Everyone seemed to have a great time and Rhino proclaimed, on more than occasion that this was, “the best cramik ever!” Some criticism has come down the pipes that the event may be getting too competitive and that it should be more chill. Also, that someone should remove the megaphone from my annoying mouth. All things to work on for next year’s cramikfest.
Thanks for everyone turning out and supporting! Thanks to 3-Wheel Buttnutt (aka Fenster, aka Craig kay) for picking another great day. Thanks to Deebo and everyone else for giving recon. Thanks to 4255 for leaving in the middle to go check conditions at Salmon (thankfully it sucked). And lastly thanks to all the judges for doing a great, unbiased (in my unbiased opinion) job. I often think that we (the judges) have more fun during the contest than the rest of you, and for that I am sorry.
See you next year!
AND lastly a HUGE thanks to Rhino, Fenster, and Nikki for the pics below!