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Dec-17-2007 12:24printcomments

Oregon Big Wave Surfing Contest Period Extended

The call up window for the 2007 Nelscott Reef Tow in Classic in Lincoln City has been extended through March.

Nelscott Reef Surf Contest 2005
Waves from the 2005 event
Photo by: Tim King

(LINCOLN CITY, Ore.) - It is hard to predict exactly when 30 foot plus waves will descend on the Oregon coast under ideal conditions each winter, but it does happen, and the one person who will be watching it like a hawk is Lincoln City surf contest promoter John Forse.

In its third year, Forse's 2007 Nelscott Classic will draw the world's top big wave surfers who will compete in surf that tops not just the thirty foot mark, but even the fifty foot mark on some days. This is a measurement of the face of the wave. The Nelscott Reef is located half a mile offshore and it is the only wave of that magnitude in the world that breaks in front of a residential neighborhood.

Professional surfers the world over are standing by for the announcement that will send them scrambling for this beach town called Lincoln City on the Oregon coastline, and some of the largest and most ferocious waves that exist on the planet.

Forse has been promoting the Nelscott Reef for many years as one of the best big wave spots in the world. The professionals were reluctant at first, and now they are all vying to compete in these epic waves that require a launch from a "Waverunner" personal watercraft to even ride them.

It all means a great deal to a beach city that lives for tourism. In 1986 Lincoln City had just one shop that catered to surfing, but even then the "Oregon Surf Shop" was called "Windsurfing Oregon". Though it had its roots in, the sport just hadn't caught on here in the late 80's.

Then a small explosion began to happen, and soon Safari Town Surf Shop opened and another shop, even a Northwest surfing museum, and people began to realize the appeal of a sport that Oregon's cold weather could no longer keep at bay.

John Forse's Nelscott Classic is a pioneering breakthrough for the sport in the Northwest and now each year the biggest names in the world visit Lincoln City, Oregon to compete and promote a place that surely may offer the biggest and coldest ridable waves in existence.

With the fame always comes the fallout and John Forse is no stranger to that. Criticized locally for not including Oregon surfers in the event, Forse says it is impossible to invite the world's best and expect that they all live in Oregon.

"Besides" Forse said. "why would anyone think they can demand that of me? I have worked hard, really hard for this along with a few other people, and we don't care if a few locals feel excluded. That's too bad and people are missing the point."

The truth is, Forse's problems with some of the locals comes from surfers who live in places like Newport, Oregon which is a number of miles from Lincoln City. In California there is no question that each city and place has its local break, but in Oregon surfers from as far away as California have complained about their lack of inclusion.

The window for the 2007 Nelscott Tow in Classic which had previously extended through December, has been extended through March. In the meanwhile, the contest is being discussed in major magazines and is on the minds of many in surf locations where the competitors hail from, places like South Africa, California, France, Australia and Hawaii.

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