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Oct-19-2009 02:04printcommentsVideo

Big Wave Surfing Contest in Lincoln City Thursday

The forecast calls for huge waves at the Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic.

Nelscott Classic surf contest
Photos and video by Tim King KATU/

(LINCOLN CITY, Ore.) - Organizers say the 2009 Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic and Big Wave Paddle In surf contest has a green light, and will be held Thursday, 22 October.

The event, based in Lincoln City will once again draw some of the biggest names in surfing to Oregon's central coast, to ride one of the largest reef waves in the world; the only one that breaks within view of a residential neighborhood.

“After watching the swell forecast for the past couple of days, I am confident that we will have contest stable conditions this Thursday”, said John Forse, event organizer.

He says conditions Thursday should be perfect for the event, with a seventeen foot swell expected at 15 seconds, which Forse says could equate to some of the largest waves seen during a Nelscott event.

"Combine the swell with offshore winds and you have an epic day lined up," Forse added.

Five years have passed since Forse held the first Nelscott Classic. I remember it well, I was the guy in the helicopter swooping over the swells, some in excess of thirty feet, and some of the greatest surfing I have ever witnessed.

I worked for Portland ABC station KATU then, the video report I filed is below.

Forse says they watch the weather very closely as we enter this time of year, looking for the perfect combination of factors, and the perfect wave.

The 2009 event will be the earliest in the holding period that they have called. In the past, the event has been held in December three times, and once in January, which required an extension of the holding period.

"The early date will give organizers an extra 2 hours of daylight to work with as compared to previous years. The extra time will be much appreciated, as it needs to accommodate more than just the Tow in contest."

Forse says for a second year in a row, there will be a paddle in exhibition, presented by Liquid Militia.

"The Liquid Militia Paddle Exhibition is a single heat, winner takes all, opportunity for the locals to earn a spot in the 2010 Tow In Classic."

In addition to the Liquid Militia Paddle In Exhibition, contest organizers are introducing a Kingfish Title, to be given to the best all around big wave rider, Forse said.

"The individuals with the top scores from the tow in heats will be given an opportunity to paddle in a single heat prior to the finals. The top scores from this paddle in heat will be combined with those from the tow in heat to determine the winner."

Nelscott Reef 2009 Status Change

The contest Thursday at the Nelscott Reef will allow spectators to see some of the best big wave riders in the world ride giant waves.

Forse says parking at the beach is restricted, but there will be free parking at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Lincoln City. The beach is just a short walk down the hill.

"Spectators are welcomed and a decent pair of binoculars will help put them right in the action. For updated information on the contest and pre and post event happenings, check the web site They can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook."

John Forse was the first person to pioneer the Nelscott Reef, riding it for the first time in 1995. The big waves are ridden because the surfers are towed in by partners on personal water craft. The running start makes riding these monsters far more possible.

Forse credits a number of people who have helped him over the past few years with the contest, one is Jim Kusz, safety coordinator for North Lincoln Fire and Rescue and veteran water rescue team leader, another is Adam Wagner of Action Sports Northwest, out of Lincoln City, Oregon.

Behemoth LLC organized and promoted the first annual Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic, bringing the sport of surfing to the professional level in Oregon for the first time.

This is Tim King's report on KATU Channel 2 in Portland about the first contest, from the bird's eye view of a helicopter camera:



Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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Bman October 21, 2009 8:16 am (Pacific time)

Visited this beautiful are many times.Will this be televised? I am in Florida and would love to watch this! Checked fuel tv listings..not listed

Osotan; October 20, 2009 2:25 am (Pacific time)

John.,may the "Forse" be with you!

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