Nelscott Reef contest bans tow-ins

The 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic will host a paddle-in only event. Richard Hallman/FreelanceImaging

The 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic surf contest has opted for arms over jet skis for the first time in five years. The Lincoln City, Ore., contest organizers decided that the event will feature paddle-in surfing only. Event founder John Forse stated in a press release, "The guys would rather paddle than tow, and they proved it can be done."

This is not the first time the invitational has had a paddle component, just the first time it has excluded tow-ins. "For the past two years, we held some sort of paddle-in portion," Nelscott spokesman Adam Wagner told ESPN. "Last year we had a 'Kingfish' award which combined the best tow-in scores with the best paddle-in score. Everyone involved said they would rather paddle than tow."

The waiting window spans 90 days to optimize the chances of scoring ideal surf. "We operate in a three month holding period which started on October 1 and extends through December 31. We give 48-hour notice of the event being called, which is 24 hours more than most big wave events," Wagner explained.

Organizers recently launched an updated website that operates "a traffic-light system" to notify competitors of changing ocean conditions and whether the contest is on: red means no, yellow means maybe, and green is a go.

The Nelscott contest is one of five stops on Gary Linden's Big Wave World Tour, which also includes events in Chile, Peru, Mexico and California and, in its second season, seeks to crown a big wave world champion each year.

Among the many familiar big-wave chargers scheduled to compete are 2010 Billabong XXL Ride of the Year winner Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, 2010 Eddie Aikau Invitational and 2009 XXL Ride of the Year winner Greg Long and 2010 Todos Santos winner Mark Healey.

For more info and a complete list of invited surfers, go to www.nelscottreef.com.