This year, Joel Tudor’s Vans Duct Tape Invitational Camp Festival was held in the north of Spain, in Zarautz (Basque Country). The last time it had been held in Spain was during the Salinas Longboard Festival, in Asturias, back in 2011. It’s been a long wait since then, but it was well worth it. This event, that is becoming more and more globally recognized, is directed by Joel Tudor with strict guidelines which are enforced in the use of traditional, single-fin logs without leash plugs. Additional prize money is awarded for best-shared wave, encouraging surfers to ride the same wave with style and creativity, while honouring the rule of no interference. Joel Tudor has reinforced a global platform for traditional longboarding providing a unique festival atmosphere. Since 2010, the Joel Tudor's VanDuct Tape invitational has set a standard for the longboarding community, enriching competition with an affinity for style and originality.
The Festival also welcomed four International World-renowned surfers, Dane Reynolds, Alex Knost, Tanner Gudauskas and Lee Ann Curren, to present their own hand-shaped custom surfboards to share with the public and live permanently at a local surf shop, PUKAS SURF. The Festival also featured skateboarding sessions, board shaping discussions, interactive art and music exhibits by local bands and performances from well-known artists such as Ray Barbee (USA) and Lee Ann Curren (FRA). It’s the first ever Duct Tape Festival with a mission to bring together an International collection of people inspired by surfing and to celebrate progression and creativity in surf culture by engaging special communities around the world that thrive by the sea. What we like the most about this event, apart from seeing our favourite surfers like Tyler Warren, Andy Nieblas, Ryan Burch, etc, is the opportunity that Joel Tudor gives groms, like Niki Dora (SPA) and Jules Lepecheux (FRA) and local surfers such as Adrian Lopez by inviting them to this huge event. We were proud to see our talented friend from Asturias called Nico (also known as Niki Dora) to be amongst the best in the World at only 14 years of age.
Niki Dora (SPA)
The contest was scheduled to start on the Saturday but conditions weren't great so it was cancelled and moved to the following day as the forecast looked promising and indeed, it was the correct decision by the organization. The weather couldn’t have been better and the waves were epic. It’s always a pleasure to watch the Englishman, James Parry. He’s just such a humble rider that always has a smile on his face. He’s a very stylish longboarder that makes noseriding look so pure, easy and beautiful. Indeed it’s something he masters. He’s a big lad but he still manages to surf in a delicate and stylish way. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy watching him surf.
James Parry (ENG)
The young Australian rider called Jordan Spee really surprised us with his elegance and precision. He is very subtle when cross-stepping and noseriding, just like a ninja. He was hanging five and ten on head high waves as if they were tiny peelers. His turns were also smooth and beautiful, perfect. I enjoyed watching surfers I had never seen before such as Kai Takayama, who is a relative of the famous surfer, shaper and mentor from the 50s and 60’s, Donald Takayama. Kai’s a very young surfer who indeed proved that surfing runs through his veins. This 20-year-old surfer has a style of his own and was hanging ten and turning with such precision that you really couldn’t tell he was that young. Kai got through to the semi-finals!
Justin Quintal, from Florida, has won this event several times and was clearly one of the favourites. He caught tons of waves, left and right. He got to the semi-finals and had an amazing performance, hanging ten, stylish drop knee turns, etc, but he just couldn’t make it to the final.Judges must have had a rough time deciding who to leave out.The Californian surfer from Dana Point, Tyler Warren, is one of my
favourite surfers, mainly because of his style. He flows and predicts what’s going to happen next in such a natural way. He blows my mind with his surf. He can surf anything, any type of board and on any type of wave. And not only that, he also makes his own surfboards. I felt so privileged to be able to watch him surf so close. Tyler Warren also got to the final alongside Alex Knost, Ryan Burch and Andy Nieblas.
Ryan Burch is another talented artist and surfer that I was excited to see.He’s a very smooth and delicate surfer. He surfed amazingly and made it very difficult for the judges to decide who was going to get away with it. It was really tight at the end. Ryan Burch put on great show indeed.
Alex Knost never fails with his moves and quick turns. He’s very flexible and noserides with ease in critical situations. He’s also very charismatic and you can never predict what he’s going to do next. He is one of the most exciting surfers around, hands down!
I was really looking forward to seeing the young surfer from San Clemente, California, Andy Nieblas. I had heard so much about him. He was just amazing throughout the whole event. He would go fin first and hang five, have the board upside down, hang ten several times on the same wave, go through sections easily and do all sorts of tricks in such an original and stylish way that it just blew everyone’s mind. He well deserved the win and I think everyone was happy with the judges; decision as he had got to the crowd really quick with his manner, charisma and performance.