[UPDATE: Airs Aplenty; Hawaiian Wins--PHOTOS] Surfers Take to the Air Tomorrow at 54th Street in Newport For the Ghetto Juice Airshow

Categories: Wax On, Wax Off
Airshow_LowRes_2.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
The bigger and more creative the air, the better.
UPDATE, MAY 12, 2:33 P.M.: "Who can whistle real loud," Skip Snead asked the small crowd on the beach. The first heat of the Airshow was about to end and he didn't have an air-horn.

The Ghetto Juice Airshow presented by Sanuk was about as "ghetto" a surf contest as has been run--and we mean that in the best way possible. Besides, that's exactly how the organizers wanted it. 

"This is how we put together the first one: word-of-mouth and everyone showing up at the beach," Snead said, of the first Airshow he and Shawn "Barney" Barron organized in Santa Cruz in 1996.

Just how ghetto were things?

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Australian Chippa Wilson pulled all the tricks out, but had difficulty in the landings.
The judges sat under a patch of umbrellas; the one set of contestant jerseys had "Ghetto Juice" markered or spray-painted on; the contest draw was written up on a piece of construction paper; contestants handed-off jerseys at the waterline; rules for the final were discussed just minutes before the heat began; the first place trophy was discovered in the trash; the winner's check was missing during the award's ceremony and $1,000 cash was handed over to winner, Mason Ho. Quite ghetto. Quite a memorable event.

It didn't matter that conditions were inconsistent and windblown and mostly small. The group of talent the contest had culled together could manage enough speed to launch airs in a swimming pool. 

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
This was an event that thrilled the competitors as much as it did the spectators on the beach. Keoli Hakahakulo puts on a show.
​"Everyone came down: Brother (Kolohe Andino), Gavin Beschen, new school and old school; it was cool," one observer was overhead saying into his cell phone.

Airshow_LowRes_1.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Ghetto Juice co-publisher, Skip Snead directs the Airshow madness.
​By the time the final was ready to commence, around 2 p.m., nearly every type of aerial maneuver had been attempted, most of them completed successfully. When the six-man final paddled out, one of the better sets of the day greeted them at the waterline, but no such set rolled through for the 45-minute final. 

But what most surfers seek as wave perfection--long, clean, carvable walls of water--aren't what this crew of progressive surfers need to do what they do best. The steeper the better and if there's a sidewind, that's ideal. They need ramps, which closeouts will provide. In a way, it's everything surfers used to want to avoid. 

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Event winner Mason Ho with some of his spoils.
​In the end, it was a young Hawaiian, Mason Ho, who pulled off the trick of the day, a backside alley-oop grabrail, or as it's known around 54th Street, a Gorkin Roll, named after a fellow finalist, Gorkin Cormican.

"Yeah, old Lady Luck let me land an air," said Ho, with the cash, check and trophy in hand. 

Behind Ho, some of the competitors were using the young kids in attendance as target practice, with grilled hot dogs as the ammunition. So ghetto.

More photos and the Original Post in the following pages.
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