There is no better expression of Jax culture than when our subcultures cross over. The Justin Quintal Loggerhead Classic does just this by bringing local artists and musicians together with the East Coast’s top surf talent for a one-day traditional longboard competition and celebration of surf photography and music in Jacksonville Beach.
Back for its third year on Dec. 11, the surfing event, which takes place at the Jacksonville Beach Pier, is a platform for up and coming surfers to show off their longboard prowess and a way to pad their pockets with a couple extra bucks.
Sixteen women and 32 men will compete for their shot at part of the $7,000 prize purse, split evenly between male and female competitors, and a coveted invite to the Vans Duct Tape Invitational longboarding event. Followed by an after-party at the historic Hotel Palms with live music, artists and vendors, this grass roots event is more an exhibition of traditional longboarding and celebration of cultural heritage than solely spotlighting competition.
Quintal has a laundry list of achievements himself including World Surf League longboard champion in 2019 and nine-time Vans Duct Tape Invitational winner. He’s hung 10 under the Northern Lights and has probably spent more time in the North Florida green rooms than your whole surf crew combined. The Jacksonville native started the Loggerhead Classic back in 2018 as a way of using his success to give back to North Florida and provide a platform to the young longboard talent easily found up and down the East Coast.
“I remember when I was kind of their age before I had sponsors and stuff, that’s kind of how I was able to get by, it was just contest to contest. Also working part time like bussing tables or doing construction or whatever,” Quintal explained. “But, you know, $2,000 or $1,000 here and there just helped keep the dream going long enough. And finally got me to that next step. So hopefully this helps some kids on their way.”
Traditional longboarding is an art form. Rather than surfing waves aggressively with progressive maneuvers like aerials, traditional longboarding focuses on the beauty of wave riding. Cross stepping, nose riding and the glide take precedence over tossing buckets of spray. What used to be considered an antiquated art form has now taken space in the front row of surf media and stepped to the front of the line-up in (or out the back) at nearly every noteworthy break in North Florida. The Loggerhead also pays homage to legends like Joe Roland, Bruce Clelland and Dickie Roseborough while paving a way for modern talent to step in.
The Jacksonville community has a very colorful surf culture and has deep roots in surfing history, and modern talent is filling the shoes of those left behind. An art show following the day of competition shows that Jacksonville’s subcultures can, and should, cross over.
Slide out to the Jax Beach Pier Dec. 11 to check out the finest exhibition of traditional longboarding the East Coast has to offer and hit Hotel Palms after to see how these cultures come together.