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Rough Stuff Messes Up Contest

October 13, 1994|Rockin' Fig and Dave | Rockin' Fig is Rick Fignetti, a Huntington Beach surfer/shop owner. Times staff writer David Reyes has reported on U.S. surf teams competing in Bali and Brazil.

I just came back from vacation in San Jose del Cabo but, according to Rockin' Fig, the real action was at the Oxbow World Longboard Championships at Malibu, where some fisticuffs overshadowed the contest. Whoooa!

The Sept. 25 incident involved La Jolla pro Joel Tudor, Tudor's dad, Hawaiian pro surfer Lance Hookano and an unidentified knee board rider, who refused to get out of Tudor's way during a contest heat.

Fig: I heard that Tudor's dad, Joe, paddled up to the knee rider and started to beef the guy, but instead they got into it. Lance went out and when he tried to separate them, the knee rider bit his arm, and before you know it, Lance goes boom, boom, boom and unloads on the guy.

The incident is serious for the Huntington Beach-based Assn. of Surfing Professionals, said ASP spokeswoman Meg Bernardo, who spent last week fielding numerous telephone inquiries about the fight.

The knee rider was taken by ambulance for medical treatment, which included 15 stitches, Bernardo said, and he also suffered a separated shoulder.

Hookano has to appear in court, and he will be fined by the ASP.

"Each event usually has beach security," Bernardo explained. "But we haven't had anything like that happen before. From the ASP's point of view, it's a serious matter, and there will be fines levied against Lance and against Joel."

She said both surfers violated the ASP's code of conduct, which states that contestants are responsible for the actions of relatives, managers or any "representative."

Besides any fines, both surfers also face disciplinary action after the ASP's next annual meeting.

I asked Fig, who was in San Francisco announcing the Body Glove contest at Ocean Beach, how much authority a sanctioning body has to ask non-contestants to leave the water.

Here's the thing. Out in the water it's kinda like neutral territory. You can't get carried away and physically abuse anyone. But hopefully you can get a lifeguard there to write someone a ticket. Lots of times contests have beach security who patrol the water, and they like to intimidate people. But realistically, no one owns the ocean.

Well, you can encourage intruders to use common sense, especially if they're getting in the way of a contest.

That's it. You gotta expect these people to get out of the way. I hear that Tudor may have missed a wave because of this guy, and that's what got his father angry.

Speaking of relatives, Fig, ask me who we saw surfing down in Cabo.

OK, who did you see?

Pat Curren, the legendary '50s and '60s surfboard shaper and Tom Curren's dad.

Where did you see him? And how did you know it was him?

Spotted him while surfing at Shipwreck's. He rode there in a dune buggy. He pulled up while we were in the water on a big day. Gets out and he has this nicely shaped mini-gun.

My buddies and I recognized him from pictures in the Surfer's Journal. Older guy. Mustache. Likes to position himself way outside and wait for the biggest sets.

You sure it was him?

Yup. I said, "Hey, you look like Pat Curren, and he just nodded his head and smiled. I then told him, "Well, you're either Curren or you're Greg Noll after a Gloria Marshall diet!"

What did he say to that?

He started laughing hard. He said he lives down there in Cabo in a trailer. He didn't talk much. Our conversation was brief, and then he just paddled away. He did get the set wave, though, and rode it all the way to the beach.

It was fun surfing near a legend. In those early days, it was special for riders of Hawaiian big waves to have a Curren gun. He was and is considered a master craftsman, though he has tapered off.


Contests: The Oxbow Longboard Championships were held at Malibu, where waves were dinky until Hurricane Olivia brought good four-foot waves. Rusty Keaulana of Makaha, Hawaii, was first, winning the world title for the second year in a row.


Tribes: World Jungle, the Costa Mesa-based apparel company, puts on its third annual Gathering of the Oceanic Tribes on Oct. 21 and 22 at Lower Trestles. Start-up times are 6:30 a.m. both days. It's a fun, four-man team event, with 32 surfing wear companies and surf shops competing, said organizer Dean Reynolds. It's an industry event, and each team must have a grommet 16 or younger, two open spots for a pro or amateur and one company exec. The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, is at 7 p.m. Saturday at San Clemente's China Beach restaurant.


Fund-raiser: Jamaican Style in Fountain Valley is joining with Surfrider Foundation for an all-day crafts and music festival Oct. 22 at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. It will benefit ocean preservation through the Laguna Beach and Newport Beach Surfrider chapters. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.

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