Cabo Clasico 2011
The 2011 Cabo Clasico contest took place during a giant south swell for the second year in a row. Unlike last year, the decision was made to throw caution to the wind and hold the event at Solmar, one of the most exposed beaches in the region. It turned out to be a good decision.
Wind was a problem this year, to varying degrees. On the morning of day one, the wind was a no show and the competitors and attendees made the best of it. As the contest was being organized upwards of 40 riders made the best of the sheet glass straight wave conditions. Many of the best waves of the event were during the freeskimming session on day one.
As the initial heats got under way a slight breeze could be felt. As the round progressed the slight breeze developed into a stiff westerly wind (sideshore). This mixed things up for the competitors, but with many of the best riders in the world pushing their own personal limits, there were still plenty of waves to be had. After the first round was over however, the call was made to break for the professionals until 5pm to see if the wind woul lie down in the evening. Come 5pm however, the motivation level was low and the wind still strong. The pros took a vote and decided to run the next heats in the morning. That may or may not have been the best decision, since the wind did die down considerably shortly thereafter, resulting in good to epic conditions. But what was done was done. The freeskimming made up for it, for those who stuck around.
On Saturday morning the conditions were a good deal smaller, the sky was partly cloudy and the breeze was there, though not as strong as the day before. With the second round of competition things really started to heat up as the three man heats were all stacked. A few big names dropped out and a few relative unknowns made their way through by skimming solidly and consistently. The change-up was refreshing.
The next round of competition had us down to four heats of three and every heat was a tight one. In the end however, four of these guys would not make the cut, and then there were eight. At this point the contest shifted to a man on man format, which is something pretty unique to Cabo, afforded by the lack of huge amateur divisions found in many other UST events. There were some particularly interesting match ups.
Mainland Mexico standout professional rookie Chopa was paired with Bill Bryan,the biggest name the sport has ever seen. Down here in Cabo the crowd was clearly rooting for Chopa and for the initial minutes of the event, he clearly had the lead. Chopa was linking up with very difficult to reach waves and riding them with skill beyond his years as Bill Bryan faltered on his first rides. The crowd was going nuts. Bill finally found what he was looking for in the form of a solid backside wrap followed by a textbook Beaker wrap on a head high frontside. The crowd wasnt swayed as Chopa continued to rack up many solid scores. In the end however, only three waves could count, and Bill found the the three he needed to make it to the next round. Still, a solid performance by Chopa, what will surely be the first of many.
Sam Stinnett was paired with his older brother Jake Stinnett in a man on man battle for perhaps more than “just a trip to the finals”. Jake continued his impressive performance while younger brother Sam waited patiently and in the end prevailed in a heat that was too close to call for this observer. When I asked Sam about it after his heat he simply said with a smile “any way you cut it there will be a Stinnett in the finals”. And so it was.
Isaa Zoller and Morgan Just squared off in a close heat with Morgan racking up many scores while Isaac searched for the big score. When the opportunity came, Isaac came up short on the wave he would have needed to possibly grab a spot in the final four.
Finally Cabo San Lucas local Juan Carlos Nazario (bullo) took on three time UST champ Paulo Prietto. Bullo took the lead early and never looked back demonstrating impressive skill and wave knowledge while veteran Paulo Prietto struggled to find a good score for the first time in the contest.
Then there were four.
Conditions for this round were not the best of the event but the skimboarding skill made up for it as each heat was too close to call for this observer.
First Bill took on Morgan, with Morgan getting the edge. Next Sam Stinnett squared off agains Bullo with Sam somehow getting the waves the judges preferred. Bill edged out Bullo for third in a man on man heat followed by the showdown between Sam and Morgan for first, with Morgan taking the heat and the contest. Congtratulations to Morgan on his first Cabo win and Sam on his second consectutive runner up placing.
- Morgan Just
- Sam Stinnett
- Bill Bryan
- Juan Carlos Nazario (Bullo)
- Isaac Zoller
- Paulo Prietto
- Jake Stinnett
Thanks to the sponsors of the 2011 Cabo Clasico for their support again this year.
Main Street Surf Shop
Lands End Skimboards
Sea Eye Cabo San Lucas
Baja California Sur Secretary Of Tourism
Article and Photos by Aaron Peluso