Big Wave Surf Tour hits Mexico
Competition at Killers
The Todos Santos Challenge, held off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, on Sunday, saw surf an upward of 30-40 feet at the spot known as "Killers." After a full day of competition, it was Australian journeyman Josh Kerr who came away with an impressive victory. It was the third event of the 2015-16 Big Wave Tour season.
Trying his hand
After spending 11 years on the World Surf League Championship Tour without a win to his name, Kerr figured he'd try his hand at the big-wave game to see what might happen. "I have so much respect for the guys on this tour and those that regularly commit themselves to surfing big waves," Kerr said. "I have had the biggest smile on my face all day just getting to surf big waves with them. I've felt great all day and had complete confidence in my board. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to surf here today."
"The goal was to have fun. I'm going through the green card immigration process right now and had a one-day leave pass to come down here and do this event," said Kerr, who is originally from Australia but now lives in Southern California full-time with his family. "I didn't have any expectations and just wanted to surf the wave with all these guys. To walk away with a win -- I feel like one of those dogs with his head out the car window, I was smiling the whole time I was paddling around in the final."
Conditions were clean in the morning as the northwest swell filled in throughout the day. By afternoon, the wind had picked up, but the surf was still good enough to finish the contest.
"It's been a great day and I'm really happy that Todos turned on for the world to see," said Greg Long, who finished second and has taken over the ratings in the race for the Big Wave World title. "I've been coming here since I was 15 and it's a very special wave for me. Unfortunate that the wind kicked up in the afternoon and I wasn't able to find a second wave in the final, but huge congrats to Josh [Kerr], who was charging all day."
The only Mexican national in the contest, Coco Nogales, had the local advantage out at Todos. Charging hard, he didn't hold back and did his country proud with a respectable showing in Round 1.
The veteran of the final grouping, Brazil's Carlos Burle, was the inaugural big wave world champion and is a legend in the big-wave community. Proving he still has it, he finished third in the contest.
World Tour experience
Kerr wasn't the only surfer with world tour experience to enter the Todos contest -- Damien Hobgood was charging. He made the final and ended up finishing fourth.
Out like a lamb
Santa Cruz's Nic Lamb was charging all day. Carrying a ton of momentum into the final, he could have easily come away with the victory. Satisfied with a respectable fifth-place finish, the result has put him in the conversation for the Big Wave World title.
After surfing Jaws on Maui on Friday, Mark Healey chased the swell to Mexico on Sunday. The Hawaiian was a little underwhelmed by the conditions at Todos and referred to them as "small."
Going for it
Kerr, Burle and Lamb go for it in the final.