Blair Conklin Wins The South Side Shootout
Day two, like day one, started off with a bang. The waves and weather seemed to somehow best the first day of competition. Cleaner conditions and waist high barrels right on shore created smiles on everyones faces. Semi-final one cosisted of Teddy Vlasis, Sam Stinnett, Shawn Kenny, and Morgan Just. Shawn Kenny skimmed well, but unfortunately he could not recreate his performance from yesterday to advance. Teddy took the lead of heat one quickly, doing his usual rootsy thing, throwing unusual tech tricks with ease that amazed the spectators. But then Sam surpassed teddy half way through the heat by throwing several sick tricks in critical areas on the waves. It appeared that Sam could walk away with a few minutes left and still take the heat, until Morgan came from behind in classic Mo form, milking liners further than anyone else could and still managing to pull a three shuv at the end of the wave.
After that, we had heat 2, which featured Tim Fulton, Perry Pruitt, Blair Conklin, and Brad Domke. Tim had a few really sick waves, but he couldn’t find enough waves to match Brad and Blairs five great rides. Much like Shawn Kenny, Perry couldn’t muster up enough energy to match his excellent performance from yesterday, as Kelly Slater would say, he peaked too early in the contest. Domked seemed to take notice that he was going to have to up his tech game in order to compete in the much more challenging heats of day two, and step up his tech he did. He managed to bust quite a few full rotation 360 aerials and afterwards ride the waves up the beach flawlessly. But that still wasn’t enough to stop Blairs onslaught, who clearly had the best performance of the semis. He pulled one of the gnarliest laybacks I’ve ever seen after connecting to a wave via a rip tide sider, and if that wasn’t enough, just moments before that layback he caught a frontside liner and popped a lofty 540 shuv-it on the face of the wave to seal an obvious victory.
And then there were four. This final was one of the most competitive heats I have ever been witness to. It was make or break. Everyone was going huge and there were consequential wipeouts, or one of the sickest rides of the entire contest after almost every wave. I would not say anyone won this final effortlessly, it took a lot of work and beatings to come out on top. Morgan Just, of course, caught one of the longest liners of the event on his forehand, and he also threw a super rad corked 360 frontside air out the side; but that was all he could manage to pull during the hectic final, which earned him a fourth place finish in the event. Sam also had one or two great waves; but couldn’t find enough waves to top Brad or Blair. One of Sam’s great waves was a 360 shuv-it out to a waist high frontside liner barrel. Brad and Blair seemed to be battling it out, one vs one, in a four man heat; one upping each other wave after wave, mostly by hucking massive air re-entries, hovering above the sand, and either having a harmful wipeout, or claiming a video part worthy ride. In the end, the judges decided to give Blair his first ever, but certainly not last, east coast win.
Overall it was an amazing contest, as South Side always is, and I highly recommend heading over to Delaware next year for the contest. You will be almost guaranteed great waves, great weather, and an overall great weekend.
For more words and photo, check out the Alley Oop write up here.