In true Huntington Beach-contest fashion, the waves for the 2004 X-Games surfing event on Saturday, August 7 were anything but extreme. It was East Coast versus West Coast-two star-studded teams going at it head-to-head in two- to three-foot blown-out chop. They battled it out in the “Game” format-Brad Gerlach’s contest brainchild modeled after the NBA’s structure that consists of two teams of ten (including two substitutes) competing against each other for four twelve-minute quarters, complete with three two-minute timeouts in each half.
It made for an incredible display of surfing in not-so-incredible conditions, and despite the small surf, the crowd of nearly 30,000 fans gave their strong support with homemade signs, loud cheers, and even a few victory dances to show their true love for their teams.
From the start of the first heat, it was obvious the East had an advantage due to familiarity with tiny surf. Cory Lopez was an early standout, landing a frontside 360 air in the first quarter, while Kelly Slater and East Wildcard Taj Burrow did their part to take their team into a third-quarter lead of 24 points.
But the West fired back and in the fourth quarter only needed 27 points to win the game. Victory seemed eminent when Dane Reynolds scored an 8.25 and Pat O’Connell and Timmy Curran scored high sixes and sevens, but world-champ Andy Irons (the West’s Wildcard) didn’t score high enough to bring the West to victory.
So for the second year in a row, the East coast won the X-Games surf event with a team score of 97.03 against the West coast’s 90.02. East Coast Team Captain Kelly Slater graciously accepted his trophy from Kaua’ian shark-attack survivor and shredder Bethany Hamilton during a heartwarming awards ceremony.
Although the surf may have been lacking, the Game format made possible the first live broadcast of surfing on television. With cameras rolling and the demands of the X-Games format to consider, there wasn’t necessarily enough time allotted for the Game to run in perfect conditions, but hey, there’s always 2005.-Molly Katzman
TeamQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4Total Score
Quarter 1- 22.79Quarter 2-24.73Quarter 3-21.9 Quarter 4-197.03
Quarter 1 -22.47Quarter 2 -26.22Quarter 3-21.99Quarter 4- 19.34
Coach: Mike Parsons ——— Coach: Matt Kechele
Assistant Coach: Dino Andino ——— Assistant Coach: Todd Kline
Assistant Coach: Chris Drummy ——— Assistant Coach: Wes Lane
Shane Beschen ——— Taj Burrow
Jason Collins ——— Aaron Cormican
Tim Curran ——— CJ Hobgood
Andy Irons ——— Damien Hobgood
Taylor Knox ——— Cory Lopez
Mike Losness ——— Shea Lopez
Rob Machado ——— Peter Mendia
Pat O’Connell ——— Asher Nolan
Dane Reynolds ——— Dean Randazzo
Chris Ward ——— Kelly Slater