Making its third stop in the series, the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge fueled by Muscle Milk is heading to Town. Set to hit Oahu’s South Shore on Friday, July 10, the event will showcase the islands’ premier surf shops-teams from right in Honolulu to those flying in from the outer islands-who all share hopes of taking home the Hawaii Regional Title.

With a roster packed full of decorated surfers, the Kewalo Basin will undoubtedly be the scene of intense competition, as eager teams battle it out in the water to win that elusive trip to California and the chance to compete for the National Title.

Two teams to watch are two-time and reigning Regional Champs, Town and Country (consisting of Gareth Sugihara, Travis Hashimoto, Dustin Cuizon, and Geoff Wong) and former National Title holders, Pacific Vibrations (made up of Mikey Bruneau, Makai McMichael, Mike McMichael, and C.J. Kanuha).
For the past two years, Town and Country has put on a Herculean performance, steamrolling their way to a win in the Hawaiian regional event, only to return from the National Championships in California empty handed. After their disappointing loss last year, they are amped to earn a second shot at the National Championship.

Dustin Cuizon, Town and Country’s designated whammy rider, has been a force to be reckoned with in the past-and Team Captain Gareth Sugihara is hoping that he can keep that momentum going. “We’ve been really lucky the last few years. He’s made near perfect scores with all of his whammy rides,” says Gareth. Dustin’s been known to provide the team with a solid foundation on which to build their collective score, and Gareth hopes he can continue the trend this year.

Pacific Vibrations has made the Hawaiian regional finals every year since their title win in 2005, but since then, they have been seemingly unable to break the curse of the third-place finish.

These two teams, among many others, know what it feels like to walk away with a ticket to California in their pocket, but that won’t be the only prize weighing on their minds. Competitors will also have the FCS award for Functional Creative Surfing to think about, as FCS offers up $1000 worth of travel gear to the team with the surfer who performs above and beyond the rest of the field.

About Surf Shop Challenge:

Originally conceived to provide a fun and competitive format for the hardcore surf shop riders, the SURFER Shop Team Challenge was one of the most popular and exciting Southern California contests of the early 1980s. Through the years the contest has evolved, with five qualifying regional events around the country, culminating in a national championship at the famed Huntington Beach Pier in sunny Southern California. The underlying principles, however, have remained the same. The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge fueled by Muscle Milk is still about giving back to the shops, the true backbone of the industry. Each year the competition level rises, the stakes become greater and the prizes become bigger.

Regional winners this year will not only earn an expense-paid trip to the national championship for the opportunity to win the $10,000 grand prize, but each will also receive a full page shop profile in SURFER Magazine, a Muscle Milk fridge and supply of Muscle Milk, a set of 59 custom New Era hats designed by the winning shops, VIP treatment at the 2009 SURFER Poll and Video Awards, and product from all sponsors. Additionally, FCS has created the award for Functional Creative Surfing, awarding a travel prize package worth nearly $1,000 to the contestant who pulls off the best maneuver of the event.
Special thanks to Oakley, Muscle Milk, and other event partners New Era, FCS, Gorilla Grip, SURFER Magazine, and WaveWatch for all their support. Without their involvement the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be what it is today.

For photos, video footage, results and more check out http://www.surfshopchallenge.com/.


Tess Weaver


July 08, 2009