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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 22, 2006

Hawai'i duo come up big at Oregon Tow In

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Advertiser Staff

The big-wave surfing season got underway last week, but not in a place you would expect.

Hawai'i surfers Garrett McNamara and Keali'i Mamala won the Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic last week off Lincoln City, Ore.

The Hawai'i duo beat more than 20 other teams to win the $7,000 first-place check.

The contest was run in 15- to 20-foot waves by traditional measuring standards, which means wave-faces were around 30 to 40 feet.

"The surf wasn't giant, but it was good size 40 feet and really good, and the conditions were good," McNamara said in a Transworld Surf magazine article. "Basically, it was a showdown where who ever performed the best won. We won, so I guess we did the best."

The contest followed tow-in surfing rules, so each two-person team had to alternate between surfing and operating the personal watercraft. The surfer is pulled into the wave by the power of the watercraft.

The California team of Brad Gerlach and Mike Parsons placed second. Most of the surfers in the contest were from California.

The big waves off Lincoln City were discovered in the late 1990s, and this was the second year that the contest was held.

McNamara and Mamala chase big waves around the world, and they traveled to Northern California after the Oregon contest. They rode giant waves during a practice session this week at "Mavericks" off Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Several big-wave contests in Hawai'i are currently in a holding period. The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational could run at Waimea Bay if waves are at least 20 feet (traditional measuring standards).

The contest can run any day between now and Feb. 28. The "Eddie" does not allow tow-in methods, so the surfers have to paddle into the waves themselves.

Also, the Bank of Hawaii North Shore Tow-In Championships is waiting for giant waves to hit O'ahu. That contest can run any day between now and March 31. McNamara and Mamala are the defending champions of the North Shore Tow-In Championships.