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Justin Snodgrass is not a longboarder, but he plays one on TV

Words by Kim Rueter. Photos by Paul Snodgrass.

Team GP was well represented this last weekend at the Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic in Pacific City. Gorge employees Brock, Justin and Mitch ignored the ominous forecast and headed to PC for a weekend of contest fun. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there to cheer the guys on, but Justin’s dad, Paul, was there and captured some nice photos (he also surfed in the contest). This post is not intended to be a complete event recap, but more of a victory salute to one of our own Gorge employees and perpetually stoked surfer, Justin Snodgrass.

When at work, Justin in more often referred to as the “kite guy” than anything else, but he could just as well be known as the surf guy, snowboard guy, skate guy…. Simply put, Justin loves his toys — and his play time. In fact, Justin oozes carpe diem more than anyone I know. But it isn’t enough for Justin to just do the sports he loves, he makes a point to have FUN. And he’s not shy about his genuine love for his home state (the playground that it is), his friends and his family (and according to a recent Facebook post, he even loves September!).

When asked to pick his favorite sport, there was no hesitation. “Surfing.” Not a surprise, really. I don’t think a week goes by that he doesn’t make a trip to the coast. While he is clearly entrenched in the short board camp, he has been known to hop on a longboard once in a while. Ok, more like once a year. What better day to summon his longboarding chakras than on contest day?

But nothing wrong with a little short board action on Friday evening before the contest, you know, to loosen up…

This year’s PC event was different from the 12 prior in that the promoters moved the contest date to the end of September instead of the first weekend in August. The motivation was to hold out for solid surf typically found in the fall rather than settling for the summertime ankle biters that have plagued the contest more years than not.

Well, they wanted solid surf, and that’s what they got. Justin recounts the day, “It was big, easily 6-8ft faces. We had nice off-shore winds in the morning, but the cleanup sets were just brutal. Fortunately I never found myself on the inside when one of those sets came through. I got lucky.”

Lucky? Maybe. But experience (and fitness) goes a long way in a surf contest, arguably more important than skill itself. And considering Justin has been surfing since he could walk, experience (i.e. wave selection and timing) is something he comes by naturally. There is no denying the guy catches a shit load of waves, no matter the day, no matter the size. While others may look at the lineup and see crap conditions, Justin just sees waves. Here are some photos of him making the best of some very challenging conditions.

Justin won his qualifying heat, and prepared for the finals with by staying well hydrated with current and past Gorge employees Aaron, Brock and Mitch.

Brock also picked some diamonds from the rough, and advanced to the finals. Here he lays out a nice backside bottom turn.

Fortunately, Justin’s wave count outnumbered his beer count (barely), and he delivered the scores to land him on the top step in the 18-29 category for a second consecutive year. “I still can’t believe I won a longboard contest without a single noseride or cross-step. It was tough out there. I just did the best I could.” Isn’t it nice when your best IS good enough?

Wisely, the promoters decided to wrap up the contest on Saturday instead of the typical 2-day format. Good thing. Here’s a webcam image from Sunday afternoon. Yuck.

Even Justin relented to the conditions on this day. Besides, there were more beers to finish off before returning to work on Monday.

Nice job, Justin! Now put that longboard away until next year. And get back to work!

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