Jared Houston: that is gnarly

Jared Houston has won the Tand Invitational 2011 in absolutely stunning wave conditions. Crowds gathered, lining the rocks, waiting in anticipation for the start of this momentous contest. Every heat throughout the event was ridden like a final: nobody holding back in anyway, riders pushing their own abilities to the very end and then some. Watch the highlights, here.

As the semi-finals reached its climax, a call was made to get the boat onto land as it was getting very wild and woolly out in the bay. So while the finalists rested for a few minutes, the judges touched land and made for the point as Jared Houston, Johan De Goede, Iain Campbell and Mark McCarthy prepared to go to battle for the last time that day.

The waves were minimal in the beginning with a few big clean moves being launched. But within the last ten minutes of the heat everything changed. All the riders had a few average waves under their belts, but then, Johan De Goede took off on an absolute monster peach, lined it up and sat pretty all the way to the end, coming out to the uproar of the crowds on the shoreline. This scored tens across the board, and rightly so.

Then two sets later, McCarthy took off on a drainer, good long barrel and came out with a smile. Positions were jumping around like there’s no tomorrow and in true Houston style; in the last ten seconds of the heat, he caught “the one”.

Taking off behind the lip, falling into white froth, getting a barrel all the other competitors couldn’t believe he made it out of, and coming out flying, giving the crowd on the beach a little "thanks-for-coming" claim.

The final results ended up being: Iain Campbell in fourth, Johan De Goede in third, Mark McCarthy in second and the winner of the first ever Tand Invitational, Jared Houston, bagging himself a modest R10 000 in prize money, while the other finalists all walked away with a few coins in their pockets too.

Results:

1. Jared Houston
2. Mark McCarthy
3. Johan De Goede
4. Iain Campbell