March 22, 2011 | by Jack |
I just caught up with 17 year old Zane Schweitzer to get a report from the Surftech Steamer’s Lane SUP Shootout. Here he talks about his first place finish there. Quite a story!
“This competition was gnarly and I almost didn’t get to surf in it. It seemed like the everything kept going wrong… I drove up with photographer Tom English and Sean Poynter from San Diego. On the way up Highway 1 by Big Sur the road just collapsed right in front of us by a mudslide and dropped 100 feet into the ocean!. We had to turn around and go another way, but were thankful we weren’t in ocean.
When we finally pulled into to Steamer’s Lane the waves were firing and they were even bigger at Maveriks. The first thing we did was get in a practice session and ride the waves we came for. After a great afternoon in the water a big bomb set came through as we were paddling out. I got thrown and my leash broke. I had to swim to get my board which had crashed into the rocks on cliff.
I’m from Maui and not used to the cold water. I was freezing and had to swim in a wetsuit I borrowed from pro surfer Granger Larsen. By the time I reached my board and it was beat up with dings and cracks on the rail and the contest started the next day! But it got even worse, because as we were paddling in we heard the horrible news that another Hawaiian surfer, Sion Milosky, had just drowned down the road at Maveriks. I was really bummed, but I decided I had to still compete and I was going to dedicate this event in Sion’s memory.
But things still weren’t going our way…. That night when we checked in at the competition registration Sean & I found out that we were not in the event after I flew all the way from Maui to compete. We had signed up too late and I guess had registered for the race event but not the wave portion somehow on the website. So we were both on the alternate list. What else??? After a few calls luckily the guys at Surtech were able to get us in the event since a few surfers couldn’t make it. But my board was still beat up, so Tom English fixed it as best he could with a “pro” Duck Tape fix job that any surfer would be proud of.
Then the weather turned in the morning, it went from sunny to mean. It was COLD and just kept getting worse! In a few of my heats it was raining, sleeting, blowing about 25 knots, and I had never seen hail before but I was getting pelted by the it while competing… We were so stoked to be able to chill in the RV in between races and heats – thanks again Tom – we were styling’! Somehow the contest organizers pulled of a very memorable event even with the gnarly “Victory at Sea” conditions. It’s a better story I guess, but I was stoked to be able to get in the water, ride the waves, and race and compete against some really good guys in the most challenging conditions.
Last year I got 2nd place in the waves and this year I won, so I am stoked no matter what! My Starboard was awesome even with the duck tape and I won the wave event in memory of my friend Sion. With all the BS that I had to face it made it even better I guess. Oh yeah, and I lost my credit card at the awards banquet, so my Mom had to wire me money… (laughing) Thanks Mom! Now let’s just hope I make it home without any more drama…”
ZANE SCHWEITZER AT STEAMER’S LANE Photograph by TOM ENGLISH