GRAYLAND – For the third year, personal watercraft riders from as far away as Alaska and California gathered in Grayland for the 2013 Grayland Open Amateur Freeride Nationals.
An estimated 700 people watched the events through the three-day weekend competition. The action started Friday with a freeride clinic. Preliminary surf racing and aerial competition was held Saturday with the finals on Sunday.
“We had at least 50 riders for the clinic on Friday. We broke down into three groups to discuss and try skills and eventually held some one-on-one sessions. We must have had at least 35 skis in the water at one time,” said Grayland Open organizer Dan Lindgren.
The competition, now into its third year and already looking to schedule the event next year, had to move slightly south down the beach because of a 39-foot Humpback whale carcass that had beached late in July.
“This is my favorite year so far. The level of talent is progressing. And with a few of the riders looking to go pro, it will open up amateur ranks and hopefully bring in more and new riders,” said Lindgren.
Top amateur riders Randy and Brandon Lawlor out of Redwood City, Calif., along with Ketchikan, Alaska’s Tanner Thomas, ran one-two-three for surf, air and overall placements in the Open event. All three look to go professional in the next year.
“There might have been a few riders intimidated by those guys, they are really good. But we encourage everyone to give it a try, and I know there are some good riders out there,” said Lindgren.
Brandon took the Big Air competition as well as first overall. Thomas grabbed first in Surf Racing and Randy took third in surf, air and overall. He was also awarded the “Gnarliest Wipeout” when he was ejected during a back flip at an estimated 20 feet above the waves.
“After we had finished the Saturday sessions, the top eight guys held a 20-minute jam session. There was flip after flip, 360s, barrel rolls, at least 100 back flips with tons of variations,” said Lindgren.”
The jam session set the stage for the next day’s finals.
Special awards were given out for the Sickest Trick, Gnarliest Wipeout and a very special “Cherry Popper Award”.
“We had a great year, and it can only get better,” said Lindgren.
1, Tanner Thomas, Ketchikan, Alaska; 2, Brandon Lawlor, Redwood, California; 3, Randy Lawlor, Redwood, California; 4, Pete Mcaffee, Oregon.
1, B. Lawlor; 2, T. Thomas; 3, R. Lowlor; 4, P. Mcafee.
1, B. Lawlor; 2, T. Thomas; 3, R. Lawlor; 4, P. Mcafee.
1, Carson Hughes, Olympia; 2, Maxson Carter, Olympia; 3, Dan Lindgren, Aberdeen.
1, Kletey Kinser, Bothel; 2, Curtis Pitman, Lake Stevens; 3, Dave Wight, Kirkland.
Masters Surf (40+):
1, Greg Smith, Lake Stevens; 2, Rick Pierce, Canada; 3, Jeff Smith, Marysville.
Cherry Popper, Kyle St. Onge (1st back flip ever); Sickest Trick / Pro Jam, Christian Young, Oceanside, California. Gnarliest Wipeout, Randy Lawlor (ejected from a 20 ft back flip).