After taking two division titles at her hometown break last year, Half Moon Bay’s Zoe Chait was ready for a new challenge. At the sixth annual Jetty Classic on Saturday, Chait, 14, finished third in the Groms (under 18) division and placed fifth in the Pro-Am. She was the only woman in the final.
Saturday’s surf contest attracted more than 60 entrants across seven divisions and 38 heats. A blustery northwest wind continued for most of the day, but surfers were pleased with the consistency of the surf throughout the event.
For Chait and other student-athletes on the Half Moon Bay High School Surf Team, the contest, though informal, was one of the few times they’ve donned jerseys in the past year. Chait competed at a National Scholastic Surfing Association’s regional championship in Santa Cruz in February, but aside from that, youth surf contests have been dormant since the pandemic began. With school now online, Chait had more time to consistently “free surf” all over Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. After winning the Menehune (under 15) and Women’s divisions at last year’s Jetty Classic,
Chait was eager to compete again.
“It’s way different than free surfing,” said Chait, who competed in her third Jetty Classic. “I felt like all the free surfing I’ve done has prepared me, and I’ve worked really hard. I felt ready; I just have to work on heat strategy.”
Between the Menehune, Groms, Masters, Women’s, Longboard, Wavestorm and Pro-Am divisions, it’s an all-day affair for contestants. Pacifica’s Colin Dwyer took home the Pro-Am title while his sister Kelly won the Women’s final. Evan Ansgarius was the best Grom in the final and Elias Smith earned the Menehune title. Gareth Bowman won the Masters final. And 19-year-old Dayton Lindsey, of El Granada, used a blend of modern moves and traditional style to cruise to victory in both the Longboard and Wavestorm finals.
The donation-based contest is organized by local surfer and Realtor Chris Loeswick. He said the pandemic initially left the contest in doubt. This year there was no live music. But some things don’t change. The event was friendly as most surfers competed against neighbors, friends, even family members. Loeswick noted that some longtime surfers in the Masters division did not participate this year due to health concerns.
“I think people were just happy to get out of the house and start socializing again,” he said.
Loeswick sees the contest as a catalyst to continue developing the Coastside’s young surfers. As someone who values traveling and surfing abroad, Loeswick hopes to expand horizons and give them new opportunities. This year’s Groms winner earned a trip to Mexico.