Kustom Air Strike 2010

Footwear brand Kustom is again throwing down US$50,000 cash to the surfer who lands the best and most innovative air through the 243-day competition window.

The Airstrike opens on 1 January 2010 and runs through to 31 August 2010, providing entrants worldwide with the opportunity to bank surfing’s richest single-manoeuvre event.

“It’s on again and this time we expect everyone to go nuts,” said Harry Truscott, General Manager of Kustom footwear.

“Last year the event was won by the Hawaiian teenage prodigy Dusty Payne, who overcame entries from many of the world’s greatest aerial surfers, including Jay Davies, Mitch Colborne, Ry Craike, Clay Marzo and Chris “Chippa Wilson, to claim the winner-take-all US$50,000 prize.

“Kustom is again laying down US$5,000 to the filmer who catches the winning move, with last year’s winning filmer, Matt Shuster, ultimately having two entries in the final six.

“Matt’s clip of Dusty came pretty late in the event window. He had previously sent us Mitch’s rodeo flip, so we knew Dusty’s clip was likely to be real good. We popped it open, viewed the clip, and wrote Dusty a cheque for US$50,000.

“Kustom’s mission with the Airstrike remains to produce surfing that is so inspired and revolutionary that it breaks all the rules, ultimately changing the face of surfing as we know it.”

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Hank Gaskell

Congratulations to Hank Gaskell (HAW), Tahiti-bound champion of this year's 2009 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua!

In a tough final heat of 4 Sunset specialists, Gaskell, 23, showed poise, patience, and smart wave selection to edge out runner-up Pancho Sullivan, third place Myles Padaca, and fourth place finisher Shane Beschen.

"It's an amazing start for my winter - I've never had a result this good in my life," the soft-spoken Gaskell told Xcel after the winner's ceremony on the beach.

Sunday's NW swell declined only slightly for the morning's semi-finals and finals heats, with Sunset clean and delivering 6' to 10' faces on the west peak. Swell conditions and extended heat times challenged competitors to be patient and find workable faces with scoring potential.

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Shawn Barron

With Fall barely out the gate, the second major North West Pacific swell marched towards the Oregon coastline promising endless amounts of giant surf for a few solid days. With the predicted buoy reading of 17' @ 17 seconds, Mother Nature delivered once again a massive blow with some 35'-40'+ wave face heights at a select outer reef justsouth of the now famous Nelscott Reef. The locals call it 'South Reef'and rarely does it break as it did on October 22, 2009!

"I have lived here for a long time and I have never seen South Reef break the way it did on this day. For sure, it has the potential to get even bigger. The only concern at that point would be getting out thru the beach break. If South Reef is 50'-60', then the beach break would be a solid 30'+ with very heavy surges!" - Keith Galbraith

Further south from the outer reefs which were exploding giant size waves 1/2 mile off shore, is a newly discovered slab called 'Yeti', where mutant like waves appear out of know where and break deep below sea level, virtually disintegrating every thing in its path. Local tow-in pioneers of this mutant slab, Dan Hasselschwert and Ollie Richardson were the first towsurfers to ride this wave back in 2006 w/ the assistance of a PWC and tow-ins. That same year, Keith Galbraith and Eric Akiskalian joined the duo team for a second session and realized that they had a world class slab right in their own back yard. Last year, big wave charger and legend Mark Healey from Hawaii, went to claim the Monster Tube Award at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards with his heroic deep barrel ride at the Yeti.

Prior to the recent and anticipated large swell hitting the coast, local Oregon big wave charger Keith Galbraith invited his good friend and Volcom team rider, Shawn 'Barney' Barron, one of Santa Cruz's hellmen to come and tow the slab and partner up with Sage Huls from Hawaii. When the giant surf started pounding the Oregon coastline, it was the usual local big wave team riders of Tim Henton of Oregon Surf Shop, / Mark Bulider, Dan Hassleschwert / Ollie Richardson and Keith Galbraith along with Eric Akiskalian of Towsurfer.com and friends that scored a solid four days of surfing beach break A-Frames and towing mutant slabs and South Reef bombs!

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