And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Surfline’s 3rd Annual Spirit of Surfing Cuervo Challenge winners have been chosen.
XXL thank yous to everyone who entered this year’s event; you all produced the best entries we’ve seen to date, and your efforts were not unnoticed. As in: It was ridiculously tough to decide between many of you.
It helped that the total number of winners was increased to to 10 this year (with your designated +1’s, of course), making that a total of 20 lucky surfers to score Lemoore with, you know: Gerry Lopez! Regardless, the judges still wished they could add a few more.
Above: “The Flow” by Anthony Olayon
The turnout this year, quality of the videos, cocktails, and plain creativity — was somehow better than the two years prior. With multiple winners coming from places like Hawaii Island and Santa Barbara, to Venice Beach, South Carolina, Miami, Long Beach and Oahu…there’s cold hard proof that if you didn’t quite make the cut the last year, with a little improvement—there’s a chance for you the next.
Just ask Miami’s José Lanzar whose “Life’s a Wave,” entry redeemed his loss from two years prior.
Like last year’s event, it’s pretty evident which winning entries really have that special sauce. A solid — and we mean solid — cocktail draws in big points, too, regardless of how fancy your video is. *Remember that for next year wink-wink.
In the meantime, (for any would-be winners during next year’s event) we got some great backstories on what it took to make these winning vids — and what this win means to them all. Read on!
Anthony Olayon, The Flow: “I’m really stoked on how the video turned out considering we decided we were going to make the video a day and a half before the submission deadline! But more importantly, I’m happy with the positive response it’s gotten from others. I had friends who also experienced losing these waves to the lava say they had tears in their eyes watching it, made some want to go surf again, or that it sparked memories of the waves and good times we had together in that special surf community/ʻohana. It’s been 4 years but it’s still so fresh and tough to deal with at times. Happy that this video reached some of my surf family that I hardly get to see now since so many of us don’t surf or hardly surf since we lost our waves.
I still can’t really believe that I won. Maybe when I’m there riding the waves it’ll hit me [laughs]. I’m pretty calm and not super outwardly expressive as far as emotions go, so I’m sure the guys on the other end of the phone call were thinking, ‘Man this guy doesn’t even sound that excited?! But I had a few friends who have won in previous years say ‘You’re going to Lemoore!’ I thought there was a chance but didn’t want to have high expectations.”
Above: “Life’s a Wave” by José Lanzar (L)
José Lanzar, Life’s a Wave: “For my first entry a couple years ago, I was super confident that I had taken the win, but when the news came in that my entry was not one of the winners, I was really sad and confused about the results because everyone that had seen the video told me that they had never seen anything like it, and that I for sure should have been one of the winners. Their support was just enough to lift my spirit up and forget about the defeat. The following year I was busy with work, so I missed the window to summit the entry but for 2022 I was on a winning mode.
What I noticed was that my last video lacked a couple of key factors, so I decided to make some improvements, create a storyline that was totally different from all the other videos I had seen in the past, and I partnered up with my good friend Stephan (SurfRap) to create a song that would inspire people like me to ride the wave of Life. Music has always been a part of my life, from playing guitar, drums, DJing and creating music with friends, music was a passion I couldn’t escape. So, for this video I wanted to bring in the “Miami Surf Vibes” and I contacted my boy Stephan (SurfRap) to create a masterpiece. The idea behind the song was to send a message to everyone that in life, we have our ups and downs, but that we should always be grateful for everything we got. In life we are truly blessed to enjoy the simple things that give us joy, and for me one of them is surfing.”
Above: “Sandia Picante” by Perng Hutson
Perng Hutson, Sandia Picante: “Our waves on Folly Beach can be pretty small. But I’m proud that our video showed snippets of how beautiful the Low Country can be and the love for our beach and surf however tiny the waves are. We try and make the best of what we got. I think we did a great job of showcasing the true love and connection with our surf and the community here.
I’m still in shock to be completely honest that I got the call from Surfline. My adrenaline was definitely sky high receiving that phone call.
We truly just wanted to showcase how beautiful and wonderful the East Coast is, especially a small booming town like Charleston and Folly Beach, SC. It is no West Coast consistency but man, you know we East Coasters love some trash waves and when it’s beautiful like the day shown in the video: just a beautiful morning in the summer with thigh-waist high, clean waves; everyone is out there with smiles and just enjoying sharing in the moment. Those sessions are just pure magic.”