The sun broke out early Sunday morning, welcoming dozens of surfers who flocked to the seventh annual Half Moon Bay Jetty Classic at Surfer’s Beach. Despite warnings of dangerous surf conditions over the weekend, over 100 participants signed up to compete and were rewarded with 5-7ft waves for much of the day.
Surfers competed in seven categories as spectators lined the cliffs overlooking the waves. The cheering crowd enjoyed an unusually hot day, live music, food and drink as they watched groups of six surfers battle it out in 15-minute preliminary heats.
The first were the groms, young surfers under the age of 15, followed by the menehunes, 15-17 year olds, pro-am, women, masters, longboarders and wavestorm riders.
As the day progressed, Kerri Gardner, coach of the Half Moon Bay High School girls’ surf team, diligently made sure everyone got in the water for her heats. As the judges tallied the scores, Gardner listed who advanced to the semifinals and final.
“We’re still figuring out a few issues along the way, but we’re having fun,” event organizer Chris Loeswick said around noon.
The majority of attendees were Coastsiders, nurturing a sense of community as classmates, neighbors and old friends mingle throughout the day. Jason Stark, coach of the high school men’s team, worried that his own students would drag him into the competition, but he ended up taking first place in the longboard category.
Jake Davi, son of legendary big wave surfer Pete Davi, came from Monterey to join the Jetty Classic for the first time. Like a number of others, Davi entered multiple categories throughout the day, rushing to change board types between runs. He ended up taking third place in the longboard and wavestorm categories.
The tournament ended at 6 p.m., a long 10 hours after the first surfers hit the waves. After packing up, most of the crowd headed to Old Princeton Landing to hear the result. Loeswick thanked the public for taking part in a great day and encouraged them to “share the enthusiasm”.
Rising star Zoe Chait received the most enthusiastic applause as she won first place in two categories.
After accepting one of the Stark-made agave wood trophies for beating her younger peers in the groms category, Chait returned to the stage for the announcement of the pro-am winners. Surrounded by more experienced surfers towering over her, Chait shone when it was announced that she would also take home the top prize of the day. She said she felt “great, surprised and excited” to win.