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Toes to the nose: Surf comp success at Kalim Beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The monsoon arrived just in time for the first Pearl of the Andaman Longboard Classic hosted on the rocky coast of Kalim last Saturday.

A bit of afternoon rain and a military coup couldn’t keep 30 contestants and more than 40 spectators from turning out. A few days of consistent ground swell marched its way through the Andaman to meet the grateful surfers. Required to use boards nine feet or longer, surfers were able to line up far out and catch the peeling three to five-foot waves early for long nose-rides.

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Judges vigilantly watched the contestants during the 15-minute heats on the lookout for those who chose the best – not necessarily the biggest – waves, and performed the most difficult and stylish maneuvers while maintaining the highest level of control. The most graceful bottom turns, powerful cutbacks, radical maneuvers and longest nose-rides earned the surfers top scores.

International Surfing Association (ISA) certified judge Erwin Van Putten said that they originally expected more than 40 entries, but the degrading political situation deterred people from Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia from making the journey.

Somsak Kreechai (Malek) made the most out of the great conditions and high-scored his way through six heats as well as the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals to take home the first place trophy and prize – a Firewire Timbertek Sub Moon 9.5. Second place went to Neung, third place to Decha Sithidej and fourth to Lee Patong, all of which took home striking oyster shell trophies and goodies donated by the sponsors.

Although this contest was the first with the “Pearl of the Andaman” label, the organizers: President of Surfing Thailand Chanin Aiyarak (Joob); Vice President of Surfing Thailand and owner of Baan Andaman Sea Surf Decha Sithidej; and ISA judge Erwin Van Putten have been putting together surfing competitions all over Phuket for more than 10 years.

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“It started out a little bit in Kata and in that area. Then we had a surf series that was in Kata, Kalim and Kamala. A year later we had it in Patong and in Kalim – so it just hops around a little bit,” said Erwin.
“Surfing Thailand is the main force behind it with some local sponsors like Baan Andaman Sea Surf and Phuket Surf.”

For the next surfing competition, the Phuket surf-scene advocates have their sights set on a multi-day event with a women’s, grommets, shortboard’s, longboard’s and master’s divisions hosted in Patong in September. Stay tuned.

For more photos and information, click here

— Jeremie Schatz

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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