Laguna High grad wins skimboard competition – Orange County Register

Blair Conklin drew a line in the sand when he won his first VIC skimboard competition on Sunday: a new generation of skimboarders are taking the skimboard world by storm.

On his way to victory, the 18-year-old Laguna Beach High School graduate used his hard-to-match fast, powerful and graceful style to beat both a 14-time world skimboard champion and a veteran skimboarder. . His fellow skimmer Sam Stinnett, 20, also from Laguna, took third place.

Conklin, who happens to be the world’s second-largest skimboarder, is known to glide across the water’s surface to deep waves few others can reach. On Sunday, not even a one-month ankle injury could stop him as he climbed to first place on the 37th annual VIC skimboard competition at Laguna Beach.

In a clean performance in the final with little unnecessary risk, he bided his time waiting for the ideal waves as his competitor, veteran skimboarder Brandon Sears, attempted and failed to perform complex tricks.

Sears has had a “can’t land them” case.

“I wanted it too much. I was trying. Any wave I could have, I would. I think I just pushed too hard, ”Sears said after the final round.

The conditions weren’t exactly ideal for skimboarding. The strong offshore winds created choppy waves, making aerial figures difficult.

That didn’t stop Conklin from performing a 360-degree spin on his final wave with less than a minute left in the final round, causing an eruption of cheers from the crowd. The antenna was part of a plan Conklin had concocted to work with rather than against the wind; the southerly gusts kept the board glued to its feet on the antenna.

Sears couldn’t land its last wave, lifted off its board.

“It was a bit difficult for me to watch Sears wrestle after doing the whole contest well,” Conklin said of his final contestant, who Conklin says he is emulating. “He was quite frustrated, but was still doing very well in my eyes.”

The finals round lacked a bit of the drama of the semi-final rounds. Sears, in his semi-final, managed to upset Stinnett, the world’s highest-ranked skimboarder, who also won the VIC last year.

With less than a minute in that heat, the two riders went in opposite directions after big waves approaching with Sears leaning into a barrel as the wave crashed into him and Stinnett riding the whitewash to shore, cheating the 360 ​​- the dramatic finish driving the crowd into a frenzy.

“That heat felt like the finale and I feel like that when I hover over Sam. There’s something about him that brings out that extra fire,” Sears said.

In his semi-final, Conklin beat another veteran skimboarder and one of the fathers of the sport: Bill Bryan, who is a 14-time world champion from another era.

Both skimboarders weathered gusts and chilly conditions, recording some of the best finals streaks, repeatedly leading in revolutionary barrels.

Charging across the water to deep waves, Conklin felt no problem with his ankle.

“I had no expectations for myself when entering the contest. I never thought I would be able to perform at my maximum, ”said Conklin. “I don’t know if it was the adrenaline rushing up my sleeves, but I felt really good on skimboard.

The sunny conditions on Sunday morning prompted contest organizer Tex Haines to nickname the 37th VIC the best he has had, with the best waves, despite the clouds appearing on Sunday afternoon and a cool breeze forcing the crowd to put on jackets.

The VIC was the fourth stop on the United Skim Tour. The eighth and final stop on the tour will be the Balboa Oktoberfest in Newport Beach on October 5-6, after competitions in North Carolina, Florida, and Santa Cruz, California.

37th CIV annual results

Professional men, placement and price:

1. Blair Conklin; $ 1,700

2. Brandon Sears; $ 900

3. Sam Stinnett; $ 550

4. Bill Bryan; $ 400

5. Teddy bear Vlasis; $ 250

6. Fair Morgan; $ 170

7. Brad Domke; $ 150

8. Jake Stinnett; $ 100

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