The First-Ever Log Rap Awards
Judging surfing is inherently subjective, which makes it an objectively hard thing to do. As cliche as it is, the saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ could not ring more true when describing the human attempt to place a performance metric on those that choose to ride waves. Whether you like boards short, long or in-between this statement holds, and that’s all before mentioning the many different facets of wave riding that live between the lines… There’s a reason the impassioned post-heat interview holds such a prominent place in surfing’s history, and furthermore why some of the world’s best surfers stray from standard ‘competition’ altogether.
Log Rap has always focused on longboard surfing, which is in many ways an even harder medium to judge than its truncated counterpart. While the general performance shortboard was more or less standardized in the mid-aughties, the debate around the efficacy amongst varying longboard equipment has long affected its ability to be uniformly judged… and that’s before even mentioning the innumerable ways to ride said boards.
This is all to say: judging longboard surfing can be really fucking hard. That’s why we left it to the experts.
We wanted to make the first iteration of the Log Rap Awards as unbiased and all-encompassing as possible. Acknowledging the many colors and creeds of longboard culture is only possible by welcoming with open arms the diverse field of prominent figures that have carved their own path within this niche (it definitely doesn’t hurt that they’re pretty much the raddest people ever too). With that, we tapped a shaper, a judge, a director, a pro, and a commissioner to help us pick the winners of this year’s Log Rap Awards. We asked them all to name their top three male and female longboarders of the year as well as three surfers they would characterize as “rising stars”.
General rule of thumb: ask experts for their opinion and you’ll generally get some expert responses.
Before diving into what you’re all here for, we’d like for you to meet this year’s panel (cue drumroll).
Noosa local and shaper to many of the soon to be mentioned stars on this list, Thomas Bexon is widely regarded as one of the hottest longboard shapers on the planet right now. Need proof? Look no further than Harrison Roach’s career-best #2 ranking. If you know your way around a good surfboard, chances are you recognize good surfing. It doesn’t hurt that Thomas himself can perch with the best of them.
Long regarded as one of Southern California’s premiere style gurus and co-star of movies like ‘Sprout’ and ‘The Seedling’ Devon Howard has no problem acknowledging how long he’s been in this game. Devons matured like a fine wine both in his personal and professional surfing endeavors. Having helmed the newly minted and widely successful World Longboard Tour for the WSL, Devon’s likely watched more longboarding this year than anyone on the planet.
A woman the New York times dubbed the ‘Queen Of Noseriding’ and former #2 in the world, Kassia Meador is everyone’s favorite surfer to share a wave with. Possibly the most positive human being in the surf world, she was a no-brainer when compiling this panel.
Stab Magazine’s editor at large, Ashton Goggans has likely directed one of your favorite surf films of the past 5 years. Former competitive longboarder and globally renowned cheater-five connoisseur, Ashton is one of the most thoughtful minds in the surf world… that is until you share a session with him and he unleashes his inner surf-starved Floridian and takes every wave that rolls through.
European longboard expert and judge of many beloved Duct Tape Invitationals, Clovis has been in this game a long time. From Malibu in the 90’s to his beloved Basque Country, this student of the game has seen the evolution from start to finish.
Without further adieu, let's get to some results shall we?
Winner: Women’s 2021 Log Rap Awards
Honolua Blomfield is only 22 years of age but has a resume that could easily put her name amongst surfing’s greats. With 3x World Titles you’d think she’s been doing this a long time, and that’s because she has. Having clocked her first-ever pro result in 2012, Honolua has the competitive pedigree of a seasoned vet while being rooted in the traditional Hawaiian surf culture that simply can’t be taught.
This year marked not only another World Title banner for Hono, but a noticeable improvement in her already impressive surfing. Known for her precise, hyper stylish approach, her surfing is undeniable both in and out of a jersey. While her 2nd at Malibu was incredibly impressive, Hono holds what we can safely say as the most memorable single wave in competition of the entire year with a long switch noseride to barrel at Kelly’s Ranch. Say what you will about the venue, but good surfing is good surfing and lord knows she did a ton of it this year.
Kelis Kaleopa’a was present throughout the judge’s mentions. Having won her first event in 2020 at Noosa, she seems poised for a world title run sooner than later, as in don’t be surprised if it’s her and Hono battling for the top spot upon the tour’s reignition.
Two names that were discussed at length were Lola Mignot and Karina Rozunko. This pair of Vans Surf teammates did not compete in 2021 but impressed greatly via their output of technically adept noserides. As marketable as they are talented, this duo is sure to go far in whatever medium their heart desires.
Other honorable mentions include:
Winner: Men’s 2021 Log Rap Awards
Harrison was #2 on the leaderboard but #1 in the judging panel’s hearts, earning a 5/5 consensus on his way to victory. After being the victim of a long-term (and still ongoing) Australian lockdown, Harrison made his quarantine-laden hajj to the states to make a run at a World Title. Had he not run into Joel and his mastery of the Malibu line-up, it is more than likely that he would have hoisted his first-ever World Title. Nevertheless, the judges gave him the award for what can only be described as some of the smoothest surfing ever done on 9+ boards.
While Harrison’s surfing provided highlights at every event he attended, his free surfing was just as zesty. From championing his Thomas Surfboard models throughout the greater Australian continent (his Harrison model is a favorite of many on this list) to the flexing of his tube aplomb on a new wave mid-length, Harrison can quite literally do it all, which is probably why he’s still picking up new sponsors while in his mid-thirties. When it comes to right-hand point break surfing, Harrison displays superlative technique in a way that many imitate but none replicate. A deserving win to say the least.
Joel Tudor… and do I really need to explain why? The guy won his 3rd fucking world title at 45 years old, a feat Tom Brady, Kelly Slater, nor Michael Jordan has ever achieved, all while taking massive bong rips, parenting two kids and laying down the law at his BJJ gym. The WSL would not have made the shift to this new tour without Joel’s undying commitment to the Duct Tape format, and for that the surf world will be eternally grateful. Sometimes things just work out, eh?
Other honorable mentions include:
Winner: Log Rap Rising Star
With stacked fields in the Men’s and Women’s categories no division provided more of a twinkle in the judges eyes than the Rising Stars. With so much global talent in the water, there really is no wrong answer here as all of the potential candidates are poised for long, illustrious surf careers. With that being said, Finn Reyes took the cake in 2021.
The 19 year old Malibu/Leo local is, as Kassia put it, “like a full-bodied wine at a young age.” While his talent is limitless, it’s the maturity present in his surfing that stuck with the panel as everyone acknowledged Finn is putting his board in places on the wave that many adult pros still fail to do. This is all to say if you want to impress in 2021, big turns and in-the-pocket nose rides are how to do it. Finn checked all the boxes and walks away with top honors.
Everyone in the below list received a mention from the judges and is impressing both in their local lineups as well as whatever competitions they enter. Shoutout to the future, we can’t wait to see what lies ahead!
Winner: Clip Of The Year
Our clip of the year category was the only award not decided by our panel of judges, but rather voted on by the public. As Ashton Goggans said, “2021 was fucking great year for longboarding.” With over the top surfing being done everywhere from competitive pools to swell abundant, highly jovial lineups, it would take a whole lot for the winner of this category to be on anything BUT a longboard.
Enter your winner: Andrew Buck.
The surf mat clip is the most viral single wave in Log Rap’s history, making it no surprise that he takes the cake. They say speed kills, and Andrew and his inflatable craft went pretty much as fast as one can go on a wave, leaving his competition in the dust.
All of the waves from this category can be seen here. Everyone entered in the running went bananas as well, although we recommend bringing a sewing needle and giving Andrew’s surf mat some tough love if anyone hopes to take his spot in 2022.
Other nominees include:
Tosh and Joel Tudor
Thank you to everyone who voted, the winner of the prize pack is Cassio Kokubo!!! Check your DM to claim your goods :)
And with that, we conclude our inaugural Log Rap Awards. We want to say a MASSIVE thank you to our panel for engaging in what was a high octane conversation on past, present and future of longboarding. We hope to grow this property in 2022 with more categories as well as cash prizes with the goal of continually elevating this pretty little thing called longboarding.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year. See you on the flip!