One year after last local surf fest, dozens show up to catch the waves
On Saturday, dozens of fans and former participants heeded her call, flocking to Crescent City for the “first reunion” of the popular event.
“This is what we look forward to doing at the end of September,” said Steve Bullas, who brought his barbecue and several friends from Humboldt County to South Beach on Saturday specifically to maintain the tradition. Bullas, who had been participating in the Noll Classic for the last eight years, appreciated that the Noll Classic was for all ages and had a communal vibe.
“It was a competition but it didn’t feel super competitive and you don’t get that in the surf world very often,” he said.
During a stop in Noll Surf and Skate this summer, Bullas heard that Bev Noll planned to drag a chair to South Beach, therefore so did he.
Bob “Outer Buoy” Sherman had never missed a contest, attending every one for 16 years. He earned his nickname “because when I surf I usually sit farther outside then most people,” he said. At Saturday’s gathering he said, “this is the first reunion.”
Sherman also heard from Bev Noll that she’d be on the beach on the 29th and “if anyone wanted to show up, she’d be glad to watch them surf,” he said.
“They didn’t want to give it up,” said Noll, who tried her best Saturday to make the rounds to chat with the die-hard Noll fans who were more scattered across the beach without a centralized location of judges and vendors.
“It’s a great first year reunion and next year it will be on Oct. 5,” Noll said.
Jessica Barbee, who had volunteered at the event every year since she was 9, walked into South Beach Outfitters to find some confusion about the day. Someone was looking for a schedule of events.
Noll and Barbee pondered what to call the gathering; maybe the “Noll Free Surf,” then reconsidered: “Don’t give it a name, then we’ll have to make T-shirts,” Barbee said.
Some Noll fans came from as far as Otter Rock, Ore., just north of Newport.
“It’s a tradition. We don’t need judges,” said Jamie Garrison, of Arcata. “It’s just a fun thing to do.”
The future of the informal fall surf day is uncertain, but Garrison conjectured, “maybe we’ll just continue to migrate back to Crescent City at this time of year.”