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Games went full bore

August 04, 2005

RICK FIGNETTI

It was a wild last couple of weeks here in Surf City with the Bank Of

the West Beach Games going full bore.

There was a lot to choose from with the U.S. Open of Surfing and

the world's best surfers, freestyle motocross on the sand, BMX and

skating in the Soul Bowl, plus some hot concerts to watch, too.

The weather was great -- pretty much hazy-sunny skies, with air

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temps in the upper 70s through most of it. A sun worshipper's

delight, with moderate winds out of the west in the afternoons. The

surf was a bit on the small side -- an inconsistent 2- to 3-foot-plus

-- but had its moments with the pros and amateurs tearing it up

anyway.

The big 40-foot Nev Hyman surfboard made the Guinness World Book

of Records, getting 60 surfers riding a wave together in a

touch-and-go situation on the south side of the pier. The old record

was 47 set in Australia earlier this year.

Making it to the men's surfing final was Hawaiian world champ Andy

Irons, who was steamrolling competitors all the way there. On the

other side of the draw was Cardiff's Rob Machado, who was surfing

super fast and loose, too.

The two met up in a much-anticipated show down. A.I. surfed the

peak straight out from the contest and, with an assortment of radical

slashes out the back and a couple connectors to the inside, was

setting the pace and leading most of the final.

Rob was surfing down the beach to the south and had some good

exchanges, but needed a 7.77 score by the end. With 20 seconds left,

all of a sudden a left rolled right to him. Machado busted some moves

out the back -- some fierce cracks -- and reformed to the shore

break, getting a few more turns in there and covering some distance

with a lot of speed.

The whole beach was standing up screaming, wondering if he had won

it. The score was a 7.33, just shy of the mark. But what a try at the

end and what excitement for all those who witnessed it!

So give the world champ the win and $15,000 in cash. That makes it

twice now for him in H.B, so I'd say he likes it here.

The juniors final saw two Hawaiian bros battling it out, with

"Bustin" Dustin Cuizon and the "G-man" Hank Gaskell working their

respective waves. This time, it was Cuizon who was leading the final,

but at the end of the man on man heat, the G man blew a fins-out lip

bash and made it to win the juniors final on that last wave.

In the women's final, Carlbad's Julia Christian was on a roll and

took it by a landslide over Australian Rebecca Woods. Woods didn't

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