The inaugural Logger Heads Traditional Longboard Contest took place on Saturday March 8 in great style. Clean 1.0m swell fanned by a light offshore breeze created the perfect canvas for the bevy of traditional longboarders who had gathered to take part at Mangawhai Heads.
With 16 entries from across the North Island, the event was the second of its kind in 2014 to focus purely on traditional longboarding or ‘logging’ as it is more commonly referred too. The first was the Dillon Walsh Memorial Longboarding Contest hosted by the New Plymouth Surf Riders Club.
“I have wanted to run a Traditional Longboard event for a number of years now," said contest director, Tony Baker. “There are a handful of loyal loggers here in NZ who have kept the art form alive, and I wanted to provide a canvas for these surfers to show their skills. The hardest thing is in the judging, as the best logger makes it look the easiest.”
Traditional logging represents a more pure form of longboarding where surfers ride 1960's inspired boards, where resin tints, single fins, graceful footwork and trimmed lines are the norm.
The rules for the event were simple: boards have to be 9ft-plus in length and surfed as a single fin, and definitely no leashes allowed.
Early stand-outs in the Open Division included Matt King (Auckland), Skip James (Mount Maunganui), Glen Johnson (Mangawhai Heads), Rhys Fitt (Orewa) and Paul Browne (Orewa).
The event included a Classic or "Old Mal" division where competitors rode boards made pre-1970 with no modifications. Board brands of the era included Rodney Davidson, Atlas Woods and Dunlop. The Old Mal division was run as an open, expression session type format with eight surfers in the water for 30 minutes. Matt Cockayne (Mangawhai Heads) and Glen Johnson (Mangawhai Heads) were both stand-outs, but it was veteran Mark Hoyle (Orewa) who took out the division.
In the Open final it was a closely fought battle of the stylists with Paul Browne and Mark Hoyle taking on Mangawhai locals Tony Baker and Matty Cockayne, with Cockayne being the eventual winner.