Justin Quintal and Kelis Kaleopa'a both earned trips to the winner’s circle Saturday at the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational in Huntington Beach, California. Quintal and Kaleopa'a impressed the judges with their footwork and style while standing on their traditional, single-fin longboards measuring over nine feet. Kaleopa'a even surfed through the pier twice, while Quintal had an amazing shared wave with board transfer.
Surfers score points for different moves with their feet on the board, such as hang ten, in which the surfer hangs all their toes off the nose of the board while riding a wave. The winners also earn style points for taking risks like shooting the pier, unique to this event when a surfer weaves through the pillars beneath the pier.
“Find the biggest wave possible that lines up and has the most amount of open face, use the most maneuvers with highest level of difficulty, and make it look easy,” explains Tudor, champion longboarder and funder of the Duct Tape Invitational. “That’s what we’re looking for—the person who has the best style, rides the smoothest, catches the biggest waves, and surfs to the entire criteria. That would be the ultimate ride.”
Joel Tudor and Kid Reporter Carlo Vellandi
But the event is not just abut watching the surfing. From pop-up retail shops, to live music, to a Vans store with an onsite customization center, the Vans US Open of Surfing and Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational create a unique and vibrant atmosphere. It is an exciting event for anyone, as fun for a diehard surfer as for a toddler who has yet to touch the ocean. Kids learn to paint, play guitar, watch boards being made, and get decked out in custom Vans gear. All of the buzzing activity continues even while fans watch professional surfers do what they do best on the beautiful Southern California waves.
Joel Tudor’s Duct Tape Invitational, though, is unique. It highlights a return to longboarding over the newer, popular short boards. The sport can be traced back to ancient Hawaiian culture, when boards were up to 16 feet long. Not until the late 60’s and early 70’s did the short board enter the surfing scene. The Duct Tape Invitational pays homage to the history of surfing by requiring competitors to use boards of at least nine feet.
“Kids need to try to it all,” Tudor added. “They need to ride everything and have a bigger perspective of what surfing is about. Try it all.”
Tudor is inspiring a future generation of surfers to love longboarding just as much, if not more, than short boarding. He’s especially making an impact on his son. “My dad has taught me a lot in surfing,” said 15-year-old Tosh Tudor. “He’s my major influence in everything I do there.”
“Stoked to create something for the next generation beyond just my career,” said the elder Tudor. “This antitour for longboarding is in our ninth year with twenty events total. It’s nice to know there’s another platform for these guys to perform, and we’ve been able to create it.”
The Duct Tape Invitational and Village is a few days of surfing history, fun, and great competition. The old-school skills of the surfers combined with the lively festival atmosphere is something to experience. Ready to try surfing and gain a new appreciation for how it all began? Put the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational series on your calendar.