Hurricane Lowell Brings Big Waves, Near-record Numbers to 51st Brooks

By Robert Campbell | LB Indy

Brandy Faber

Brandy Faber


The long arms of Hurricane Lowell, spinning just off the coast of Baja California, pushed overhead southern swells into Laguna Beach last weekend, setting up near-perfect conditions for the 51st edition of the Brooks Street Surfing Classic, a two-day event billed as the world’s longest running surfing contest.

Started nearly 60 years ago by the city’s recreation department, the Brooks is for locals-only, and only goes off when conditions are deemed worthy by event organizers.

Keeping a close eye on Lowell’s movements, Brandy Faber, a long-time Brooks volunteer who took over as lead organizer in 2010, put the word out late Friday, Aug. 22, that waves approaching seven feet were headed for Laguna, and the Brooks was “ready to run.”

The following morning, nearly 200 surfers, SUPers and body boarders – from 8-year-old Hayden Rodgers to 70-year-old Ron Sizemore – descended on the Brooks Street Beach overlook to sign up in one or more of 13 divisions.  The men’s pro/am division accounted for a fifth of that total, as 40 competitors vied for $2,500 in prize money.

With the sun going down, the tide coming in and the swells beginning to fade during Sunday’s pro/am finals, Erik Nelsen out rode five other finalists to capture the top prize of $1,000.

Jeff Booth, the most decorated Brooks competitor in history, took home $750 and the runner up trophy for a second straight year. His son Travis, 13, finished second to Colton Gregory in the boys division.

Nate Zoller, who won the men’s division earlier in the day, took home third and $500 for his efforts. Bobby Lockhart won $250 for his fourth place finish.

Retired pro Alisa Cairns, who had her name enshrined on the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2012, showed she still has the skills, winning her second straight women’s title.

Faber took a break from his organizing duties and broke a 10-year dry spell, winning the Sr. Masters division, his third title overall and first since winning the Masters division in 2004. “It’s great to surf with only a few of your friends in the water,” said Faber, who’s been surfing the Brooks for 20 years.

Cameron DePfyffer, who finished third in the SUP division, was given the Cy Chambers award for academics, sportsmanship and surfing ability. And Trey Lockhart’s artistic flair earned him the Thom Chambers award.

51st Annual Brooks St. Surfing Classic Results

Jeff Booth

Jeff Booth


1.   Erik Nelsen          $1000

2.   Jeff Booth             $750

3.   Nate Zoller           $500

4.   Bobby Lockhart   $250

5.   Matt Flotho

6.   William Maniaci

Grand Masters

1.   Matt Flotho

2.   Gavin Heath

3.   Matt Bush

4.   Paul Cernich

5.   Dave Skarman

6.   Kirk Juenthner

Sr. Masters

James Pribram

James Pribram

1.   Brandy Faber

2.   James Pribram

3.   Tristram Miller

4.   Steven Chew

5.   Jeff Booth

6.   Sean Brown


1.   Mike Todd

2.   Ryan Hitzel

3.   Noel Lashley

4.   William Maniaci

5.   Mike Morrissey

6.   Steve Hurst

Sr. Men

Bobby Chapman Photos by Bob Booth.

Bobby Chapman
Photos by Bob Booth.

1.   Nate Zoller

2.   Bobby Chapman

3.   Max Brick

4.   Tommy Cantrell

5.   Brad Burdick

6.   Pat Ryan


1.   Richard Mattingley

2.   Adam Mejia

3.   Hunter Smith

4.   Austin Silvers

5.   Sam Wellsfry

6.   Adam Redding Kaufman

Ryan Hitzel

Ryan Hitzel

Jr. Men

1.   Lucas Taub

2.   Jake Levine

3.   Jeremy Shutts

4.   Chance Gual

5.   Nathan Madigan

6.   Noah North


1.   Colton Gregory

2.   Travis Booth

3.   Hayden Rodgers

4.   Kiko Nelsen

5.   George Williams

6.   Nolan Rodgers

Steven Chew

Steven Chew


1.   Alisa Cairns

2.   Elise Debes

3.   Colleen Conroy

4.   Paige Vitolo

5.   Christy Madigan

6.   Camille Borges


1.   Claire Kelly

2.   Cayla Henderson

3.   Grace Wellsfry

4.   Pearl Shoemaker

5.   Destiny Thurston

6.   Anika Pitz

Travis Booth

Travis Booth 


1.   Paul Cernich

2.   Rob Culp

3.   Hunter Schwirtz

4.   Geoff Stepien

5.   Scott Brashier

6.   Matt Ininns


1.   German Ruiz

2.   Blake Burzell

3.   Ron Sizemore

4.   James Henry

5.   Riley B

6.   Nick Besso

The Winner, Erik Nelson.

The Winner, Erik Nelson.


1.   Steve Clark

2.   Dave Vanderveen

3.   Cameron DePfyffer

4.   Ted Taylor

5.   Craig DePfyffer

6.   Pete Basich

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  1. lindsey watson

    This is a clear reminder that there always is the BIG ONE just around the corner and we don’t know when or where it will happen …whether a hurricane like Sandy or quake like NAPA…
    Everyone needs to be prepared and make sure to keep an emergency kit in ones homes, cars, and offices. water, food, good Shoes, and several hundreds dollar cash are just a few essentials. I put together my own kit years ago that I update once a year, throwing out expired items.
    If you don’t want to build a kit yourself, I recommend checking out Preppi.
    They make awesome survival kits with everything you need for 72-hours after a disaster… either way, please make a plan and get a kit !

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