Nelscott Reef Pro/Am: the 2017/2018 holding period kicks off October 15 | Photo: Hallman/Nelscott Reef Pro Am

The Nelscott Reef Pro/Am will bring some of the best big wave surfers from around the world, along with local big names in the field to compete in a single day's competition. 

Organizers are excited about this year, as the event has once again opened the invite list to include amateurs as well as professionals. After an overwhelming response to an initial call for interest, organizers Adam Wagner and Gabe Smith decided to open the field to both.

"I was a little surprised how many people wanted to be included this year. I knew it was going to be a good event this year, but we doubled the amount of interest from last year in just the first 24 hours of making the announcement. We are super excited with the diversity of the invite list," said Gabe Smith.

Nelscott Reef was also the first big wave event to include women, which helped pave the way for other big wave events to open their doors as well, including the World Surf League's Big Wave Tour. The women will be invited back for the third time to compete at Nelscott Reef.

"There was a higher than anticipated demand for competing in this year's Nelscott Pro/Am. We were, and still are, getting calls daily from people that want in. So, we decided to bring the community in to help make the decision for us," said Gabe Smith, contest organizer.

Alternates will be chosen by a public voting system, and the 15 alternate slots will go to the most liked athletes on the website. Voting will start at 00:01am on October 15, and will end seven days later, at midnight on October 21.

To run the event, organizers are looking for 30-foot or higher surf, with little to no wind and good visibility. Conditions like this are rare in the Pacific Northwest and only happen on a few days of the year, sometimes for just a few hours. The event operates on a traffic light system, waiting for the right combination of weather and swell.  

"Red light means there is no potential swell in the near future. We will move to yellow if we see a developing system in the Pacific that looks like it will produce the right conditions. We will go to green with 72 hours notice to athletes and sponsors," added Adam Wagner, from the organization.

"We have a great team of forecasters, including our sponsor, Surfline, that have been running the event at Nelscott for the past 12 years and know the fickle characteristics of Oregon's fall weather," said Wagner.

The organizers take safety of the athletes very seriously, and have brought in Eric Akiskalian from Towsurfer.com to help lead the team.  Eric brings 15 years of experience at Nelscott Reef and knows all of the unique and logistical challenges to this spot better than anyone.

"One of the biggest challenges we have is simply getting everyone out to the reef in a timely and safe manner. On big days, you just can't paddle out thru the pounding beach break. You need a PWC assist, and even then, it takes a lot of jockeying around on a ski to punch through 20' beach break," said Akiskalian.

"Once out there, we operate on a man on man basis, one ski for each surfer in the water. We have some of the best watermen in the world operating the skis, while constantly focusing on risk management and keeping everyone safe throughout the event."

Nelscott Reef is the best big wave break in the Pacific Northwest, and its unique location 1/2 mile off the coast, makes it one of the most accessible. Athletes launch right from the beach and spectators can watch from the beach or on top of the cliffs in Lincoln City.

For those that can't make it to Lincoln City on the day of the event, the team will be providing a live webcast. The contest window opens October 15, 2017.

2017/18 Nelscott Reef Pro/Am | Invitees

Men

Jeremy Rasmussen - OR
Tony Perez - OR
Tyler Cunningham - OR
Greg Long - CA
Kohl Christenson - HI
Alex Gray - CA
Jamie Sterling - HI
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker - SA
Andres Flores - CA
Jamie Mitchell - AUS
Will Skudin - NY
Cliff Skudin - NY
Kealii Mamala - HI
Nick Lamb - CA
Travis Payne - CA
Collin Dwyer - CA
Trevor Sven-Carlson - HI
Rafael Tapia - CHI
Kai Lenny - HI
Christopher Mumford - CA
Andrew Cotton - UK
Hugo Vau - POR
Lucas Chumbo - BRA
Landon McNamara - HI

Women

Savannah Shaughnessy - CA
Emily Erickson - HI
Jamilah Star - CA
Bianca Valenti - CA
Paige Alms - HI
Sarah Gerdhart - CA
Andrea Moller - BRA
Silvia Nabuco - BRA
Justine Dupont - FRA
Nicole Pacelli - BRA
Keala Kennelly - HI
Easkey Britton - IRE