Dane Wins Point Mugu Surf Contest
Dane Reynolds acknowledges the significance of being inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.
He just doesn’t know if he deserves it. His fans know otherwise.
The cheers showered down on the Ventura native as he won the open division in the fifth annual Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu Surf Contest.
Reynolds returned the favor with a thrilling performance.
“It’s one of my favorite waves that I’ve ever surfed,” he said. “It’s a pleasure just to get to surf here for the weekend, especially with only four people out in your heats and stuff. That’s the main attraction I feel like for this event.”
Reynolds was inducted earlier this month in the Huntington Beach based hall of fame and joins surfing superstars including Laird Hamilton, Andy Irons, Jack O’Neill, Kelly Slater and Rob Machado among others.
The 26-year old still feels like he has a lot left to accomplish.
“I don’t really know what it means (to get inducted) but I’m honored for sure, especially so young,” Reynolds said. “I don’t feel that deserving of it but I’m stoked. It’s definitely an honor.”
Reynolds’ winning performance concluded a successful two-day event that served to honor the military and all that they do.
Surfing started early with 15-minute preliminary rounds leading up to the afternoon’s finals featuring juniors, military, open and women’s divisions.
The finals extended out to 30 minutes, which proved helpful with the number of waves lessening as the afternoon wore on.
“It was really good earlier and then the wind picked up and it kind of got weird,” Jake Kelley said. “But there was definitely still some really good waves coming in.”
Kelley, 17, of Newbury Park, won the juniors division. The win marked the straight year Kelley has taken home the crown and the third time in four years.
Next year, Kelley will have to move up to the open division.
“I can’t wait,” Kelley said. “Hopefully I’ll be here for it.”
It was Reynolds though who grabbed the spotlight this weekend with his performance.
With 1:23 left in his final, Reynolds took off and disappeared into the barrel of a wave before emerging to the roars of the crowd. It was just one of several impressive rides by Reynolds in a final featuring him, Mike McCabe, Cory Arrambide and Jeremy Ryan.
Matt Merel, 28, continued his dominance of the military division with his fourth straight win. Merel is a member of the Coast Guard and is stationed in Bodega Bay, an hour north of San Francisco.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Merel said. “I don’t really come here with the attitude that I’m going to win. I just want to come and have fun.”
Merel said the event provides a prime surfing location as well as an opportunity to meet new people.
“I’ve met a lot of really good people from this event over the years,” Merel said.
Local surfer Sage Erickson provided a thrilling competition with the Ojai native going back and forth with Demi Boelsterli. The two took turns providing memorable rides.
“Demi is such an amazing competitor and I’ve grown up surfing against her throughout my younger career,” Erickson said. “The scores were going back and forth and it really just fired me up to want to win. I think that’s the competitiveness in me.”
Erickson, 21, outlasted Boelsterli to win the women’s division.
Erickson acknowledged the significance of winning an event designed to honor the military.
“Trying to come up with a victory out there meant a lot to me,” she said.
Erickson and Boelsterli had to remain patient while waiting for waves.
“It was funny,” Erickson said. “All day it’s been a bit inconsistent and then certain heats the sets started to pulse. I always try and keep busy in a heat. That’s kind of the strategy I stick by.”
She took a massive wave with eight minutes left in her final, but was swallowed up by the water.
“I look up to my brother (Noah Erickson) a lot surfing,” Erickson said. “He surfs some pretty gnarly waves at times and I kind of heard the whole beach whistling with my dad and my mom and all the guys on the beach and so I just figured I have to go and whether I fall or find success in it.
“I definitely fell and that was the most worked I’ve got in a long time.”
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