The 17th annual Exile Oktoberfest skimboarding competition took place at the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach, California.
Yahir Valencia of Barra de Navidad won the professional men’s division, and Casey Kiernan of Stuart, Florida, won the professional women’s division.
Both the professional men’s division and the professional women’s division counted as part of the United Skim Tour (UST), the world’s only international professional skimboarding tour.
The professional women’s division featured 13 competitors, and the professional men’s division featured 35 competitors from across the globe, including riders from Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil, Florida, Delaware, and California.
Professional men’s riders included Lucas Fink, who clinched the 2022 Men’s UST Title at the previous UST contest in Spain, and Sam Stinnett, who holds four UST Titles.
Professional women riders included Amber Torrealba, who was ranked first on the UST coming into the event, as well as Chabe White, who just won the Vic in Laguna Beach.
In addition to the professional divisions, the contest included amateur divisions for all age groups. In total, the contest included 74 amateur entries.
Day one of the event saw challenging conditions with waves one-to-three feet in height.
Throughout day one, light onshore winds added texture to the waves making for unfavorable conditions.
On day two, the swell increased to about two-to-four feet, but an onshore wind again persisted throughout the competition day, though occasional heats saw clean conditions with solid head-high sets.
Yahir Valencia Realizes Dream
For the professional men, the final heat came down to Yahir Valencia and Lucas Fink for the third time this season.
The waves were inconsistent and smaller during the final, with most wave opportunities coming in at two feet or smaller.
Competitors took to their technical skills as a result, and Valencia, in particular, landed a 360 shuvit out to a wave and landed another clean 360 shuvit back in.
Fink answered back with a 360 shuvit out to a 360 turn on a small wave.
Valencia later caught the biggest wave of the heat and tucked into a barrel.
Ultimately, Valencia hung onto his lead as he combined both technical riding and managed to snag the biggest waves of the heat.
“It’s a dream to win this contest,” said Yahir Valencia after his win.
“I’ve always watched the videos from this contest, and it’s been a big goal to compete here. I’m so very happy now.”
“I’m so stoked to beat Lucas in the final because Lucas is a great competitor. I watch him in every heat and learn, learn, learn from how he skims.”
“Next year, I want to go to all the UST events, and I want to try for the title next year.”
Casey Kiernan Prevails
For the professional women, six different competitors were within reach of the UST title going into the event.
In the semifinals, Amber Torrealba defeated Chabe White, eliminating White from the title race.
In the next semifinal heat, Casey Kiernan matched up against Kaori Uno, who won the event in 2016. Since Kiernan already had one UST win before this event, she needed just 900 points to secure her lead over Torrealba.
Kiernan won the heat against Uno, and with that win, Kiernan clinched her 2022 Women’s UST title.
In the very next heat, Torrealba and Kiernan matched up. Kiernan found a number of pier wraps and mixed in a few technical tricks as well.
Ultimately, Kiernan won this heat as well, securing her second win of the UST season.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words. I wanted it really bad this year,” said Casey Kiernan after taking first place and securing her UST title.
“I’ve been battling with Sophia [Nguyen] for so long. Knowing that she wasn’t here, I felt like I had a better chance.”
“But then actually being here and seeing the level of women and how we’ve progressed, it wasn’t any easier. I definitely got teary-eyed there.”
In the men’s division, points from the best four placings of six count toward each skimboarder’s 2022 UST points total.
In the women’s division, points from the best two placings of three count toward each skimboarder’s 2022 UST points total.
2022 Exile Oktoberfest | Results
1. Yahir Valencia – Barra de Navidad, México
2. Lucas Fink – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3. Sam Stinnett – Laguna Beach, CA
3. Tim Fulton – Laguna Beach, CA
1. Casey Kiernan – Stuart, FL
2. Amber Torrealba – Palm Bay, FL
3. Chabe White – Mazunte, Mexico
4. Kaori Uno – Otia, Japan