September 27, 2008
We ended up holding the event at what is now called Square Cove, named after the winner of the pro event (skimboarding portion), David Safradin. Secluded in Bodega Bay, the spot has been ridden by the locals seldomly as it’s location is remote and difficult to check. It just so happens, that it fired for the 2 days leading up to cramfest, continually getting better and shining with all it’s mite on Saturday.
A light fog covered the coast in the morning as the early birds showed up around 8:30. Then, a long trek down the half mile path had everyone cursing and sweating as they tried to carry gear, boards, coolers, and camera’s down the pain in the ass of a trail. Deebo provided excellent directions, that even included the caveat, “When you first get to the beach don’t panic if the waves look like crap, cus you’re not quite to the Cramfest skim site yet.” This proved to be oh so true, as upon finally reaching sand, the swell was puny and the waves were trough crap on a flat beach. As we hiked 100 yards to the right, over the rocks and caught our first glimpse of Square Cove, all the negative thoughts were instantly wiped away as the green barrels were seen peeling their way toward shore.
By the time I made it to the beach, Josh and Daver were already hitting it up in trunks and getting some sick ones. Planting our belongings, we too joined the ever expanding number of skimmers atop the steep beach, smiling from ear to ear, and congratulating each other for being so brilliant as to hold the event there. The morning was absolutely perfect, the fog cleared, no dub, nice hot sun, and of course, sick waves and rides being had left and right. The swells were fairly evenly split enabling good opportunities both ways, regardless of stance. Soon the beach was full of skimmers enjoying all the was being offered.
After a good 2 hours of sessioning, I literally had to force myself and a few of the other judges to quit their frolicking in the shorebreak and get down to business. It was time for the “nontest” and we take this very seriously. Pulling out the megaphone we announce the 10 minute warning and got ready for the mayhem and carnage to follow in the megaheat. We didn’t realize that there actually would be carnage…
For those of you unfamiliar with the megaheat, basically most contests are held in heats of 3 to 4 skimmers going at a time with a 3-5 man judging panel writing down scores for each ride by each rider. The megaheat is a little different – everyone who wants to be in the nontest skims at one time for a predetermined, indeterminate amount of time. No scores are recorded, rather the judges base their score on “overall impression” and render their verdict at the end of the heat. Some years there is just the megaheat, but when the conditions are ripe, and the vibe is good, subsequent heats are run.
The megaheat was going along just fine as Deebo and Thomas reigned, there was good rides from Josh, Square, ODH, NDH, JohnO, and PJ, as well as good rides being had from the rest of the nontestants. Then all hell broke loose. Johno and Josh got tangled up and Josh came out with a 2 inch gash is in forehead, blood streaming down his face and screaming “cramik!”, he was lead up to the beach where first aid was administered by the on-hand emergency staff. Josh, though bleeding profusely, just wanted to know if he could stay and keep skimming. After being informed by the deeply unqualified medical community on hand that he was ok to stay, he proceeded to wrap a wife beater around his head and continue on with the heat.
2 minutes later, Deebo comes lumbering up the beach, muttering and slurring his words. Most thought the champagne had finally kicked in until he opened his trap and displayed that his 2 front choppers were broken in half, and blood was pouring out of his mouth. His board had done what every skimmer has nightmares about and attacked him underwater, slamming into his face and snapping off the tooves. Of course, with precedent having already been set, and in true cramik style, Deebo grabbed the video camera and a bottle of bubbly and him and Josh stayed and partied at cramfest until the mountain lions came home.
Everyone knows the danger in skimboarding, and the rest of the participants continued to charge without too much more injury. Al Hill burgered up his knees so bad that many nontestants were drooling just looking at them after not having eaten all day. After determining that Al’s knees probably wouldn’t be all that healthy to chow down on, Chris saved the day and charged back up the trail and got us some coals for the bbq and some more desperately need suds.
So, after 2 unprecedented halts to the megaheat, the judges gathered and determined to have 2 more heats, a semi and then a final. The semi’s consisted of:
As the semi’s got under way, the conditions began to gradually decline. We started to get a little dub, and the tide began to recede a bit. The conditions were still very good as far as contests go, but it was getting more difficult. Raul (aka Chin Strap) got the wave of the heat, a late hit, backside rail grab barrel on one of the larger waves in the heat. On the basis of that one wave alone, he made the finals and they stacked up like this:
Square (aka David)
No Mas (aka Thomas)
ODH (Old Dark Horse) (aka Raul, aka Chin Strap, aka Paul)
Johno (aka JohnO)
With the guys a bit tired, we took a 20 minute break to hit some golf balls into the ocean – a cramik standard. Lonnie showed some talent, as well as Josh showing he’s been practicing all year for this year’s long drive contest. Mad Dog, 3 Wheel Fenster, and Harg hit some nice ones, and the win went to, I think either Lonnie or Josh – I can’t remember.
The Finals went off, with everyone throwing whatever they had left in the tank, while everyone else hooted and hollered. It felt like a rodeo. Not that I’ve been to one, but it seemed like that type of atmosphere. Square dominated the final and took first, with 2-time cramikfest champ No Mas garnering 2nd. 3rd went to the Old Dark Horse, with Johno making his first cramik final and taking 4th. The top 4’s were treated to stellar trophies made by 57, handcarved wood steins that were sick. Colin brought some sick shirts this year that were helpfully designed by Robbie, a skimonline regular who donated his time to make the shirts a reality.
A couple hours later, Square brought the winch down, somehow, and treated the remaining cramik attendees to some tow-ats. That was a blast! No Mas, 57, Colin, and myself gave it go. Then David showed us how it was done and got some sick ones on the low tide offerings.
Stoked on the incredible fortunes of the day, we all gathered up our stuff and began the trek back to the car, not even bummed at how painful it was going to be. It was an incredible day! (and we even found a shortcut on the walk back).
Thanks to everyone who attended, without you there obviously would be no cramikfest (where the hell was DAK, Bike Mike, Ozzy, & Rhino???). Big thanks to Dustin & Kelly for finding the cove. Huge thanks to Tommer for once again spending many days to create unfathomable trophies. Thanks to Colin for the shirts. Thanks to Rudy Wrap for the megaphone. Thanks to Big Spray for driving. Thanks to David for bringing down the winch (and whoever helped him!). Thanks to all for the good vibes. See you next year!
Oh and another thanks to Square for the making the vid. I’ll get around to editing 57’s footage at some point…
Pics from CMP, Jef, & Vacadoug