Hall of Shame
Lincoln City, Oregon – John Forse, founder and organizer of the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic, issued a press release today announcing the closing of its 13th season. Forse, a native of Lincoln City, said the event didn’t run this year due to interference by an unpermitted outside group, who used a strikingly similar name, and website, thereby confusing sponsors into giving money to the rogue group.
On November 29, 2017, a contestable swell was forecasted and a group calling themselves the similar sounding Nelscott Reef Big Wave Pro-Am, had surfers in the water, according to Forse. In Dec. 2017, we reported that tourists were almost crushed by a huge rolling log in the surf because no safety monitors were established. Our publisher, Justin Werner, testified at the December 11, 2017 City Council meeting about the safety concerns surrounding the group’s unsanctioned activities:
Following the meeting, Forse appeared before the council four more times and pleaded with the city to cite the unlicensed operators. After the fourth meeting, City Manager Ron Chandler told Forse the City found the rogue event organizers in violation.
Organizers of the bootleg event were then cited by Lincoln City Police Chief Keith Kilian for failure to obtain the proper permits and licenses. Gabe Smith and Adam Wagner, both from Portland, are required to appear in Lincoln City Municipal Court on April 12th at 9:00am. Failure to appear is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail, and a $6,250 fine.
Numerous local businesses unwittingly gave money to Smith and Wagner, who told them they would be featured on banners and in a live webcast for a contest that never materialized. These businesses included 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Inn at Lincoln City, Roby’s Furniture and Appliance, Oregon Coast Bank, The Coho, Coldwell Banker, JKI Realty, D Sands Motel, Meredith Lodging, Dive N’ Surf, Salmon River Contractors, Olivia Beach, A Vista d’ Mar, Yaquina Cab, Naked Winery, Anchor Storage, Zuhg Surf Shop, Henkels Law, and many others. They are welcome to attend the court hearing to voice their concerns and demand their money be returned.
Fortunately, the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic will return next fall for the 14th annual event with a $10,000 purse and webcast. For more event info visit: https://nelscottreef.com.
The Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic is a one day event that is held between October and March. The event is called on three days notice of optimal conditions. Surfers come to Lincoln City from around the world to ride the biggest wave on the Oregon Coast: our own Nelscott Reef.
Letter to Eric Akiskalian from Adam Wagner
This letter is to inform you that you have been voted out of the 2006 Nelscott Reef Tow In Classic. The vote has been made by Behemoth, LLC on the following grounds:
1. An altercation between you and John Forse occurred on the weekend of October 28th in which you approached John’s car as he was leaving the Westshore Inn Motel in Lincoln City, OR. Words were exchanged and you provoked John to get out of his car and fight you.
2. There are ongoing concerns over the safety of having you in the competition. Numerous people have voiced their concerns over your safety record as a Wave runner operator. There is also a situation in which you wore a jersey and Went out posing as a competitor during the first heat of last years (2005) competition at Nelscott Reef, even though you were not invited to compete in the contest.
3. Continuous effort has been made by you to create a rift between the local tow in teams from Lincoln City, OR and the Nelscott Reef Contest. All of the teams invited from Lincoln City have voiced concerns over being pressured by you to make a choice between participating in our contest and a contest promised to be put on by you.
We have made our best effort to work out the differences between the two parties but we can no longer support having you as a competitor in this year’s event. A Vote has been taken and a majority decision has been made and is final. As of today, you and Chuck Patterson will be removed from the list of competitors for this year’s event.
Peter Mel, Pro Surfer and President of WCTSA
My name is Peter Mel. I am a professional surfer and president of the WCTSA (West Coast Tow Surfing Assoc.}. I am contacting you in regard to the permit issue at Nelscott Reef. As, I understand there are 2 permits that are being sought after for a tow-surfing event at Nelscott Reef. These permits are also slated for the same time period, which is my major concern.
As a person with a wealth of knowledge about tow-surfing and its concerns that surround it. I think that Bohemoth Productions (last years event producer) is the best group to run this event. They’re local knowledge of the surrounding ares and its environment will fit best for the people of Lincoln City. I have worked with them at length in preparing them for an event of this magnitude. Last years event went off without a hitch and this years event will be even better.
As for the other party involved, I have worked with TowSurfer.com and feel they do not have the experience to pull off such an event as this. They do not live in Lincoln City and could be a detriment to the City’s culture and environment. His blatant disregard for last years competition was a danger to the event and its competitors.
I am asking you to propose only one permit per year at the reef. This permit should be issued to Behemoth Productions only, therefore protecting the integrity of Lincoln City, the event staff, and it’s competitors.
Jeff Clark, Mavericks Icon
I am writing this letter in support of the contest that was run by Behemoth and John Forse.
I am the Contest Director for the Mavericks Surf Contest. We have a very good thing going for the town and the surfers. There have been companies like Billabong and Reef with lots of money trying to come in and do a contest of there own. Like Nelscott now that the contest is a success many want to jump on the bandwagon.
At Mavericks we have one contest a year. The County Supervisors, Half Moon Bay City and the Harbor District are all in agreement that it is best. Environmental concerns are always on our table even though there is no impact what so ever.
I was disappointed that the founders of the Nelscott Contest had to contend with Eric Akiskalian last year during the event. He caused disruption in the surf area when the finals were about to begin.
He was not invited to surf in the contest because of his dangerous and reckless nature he operates his equipment around others. He is a safety risk to your fine event. Maybe with another year he may get control of his watercraft to be invited.
Mr. Akiskalian running a contest in Lincoln City, in my opinion is a mistake and he will do his best to buy his way in.
Ed Guzman, Head of Water Safety
Thank you for the Invitation to participate in the Unvitational Big Wave surfing contest at Nelscott Reef this year. Being the head of Water Safety and working with my team, to provide a safety net for the athletes was very rewarding. I misunderstood the roll of Eric Akiskaian. I thought he was registered and participating in the contest. From my understanding, he was helping with safety on his Jet Ski. I was disappointed with his total disregard for safety and his lack of respect for the participants in the contest.
He rode his Jet Ski on waves during the contest like it was his own private Rodeo. This was unsafe, causing wakes in the line up and distracting the Water Patrol from their job. I thought he was supposed to help with safety. Instead he was very selfishly assisting only one contestant and ignoring everyone else. Towards the end of the paddling segment of the contest he started Tow Surfing in the middle of the contest! What was that about?
Later, I find out that he is not even in the contest. He blatantly rode waves like he was competing in the Tow In part of the contest. He interfered with the contest, as there was still paddlers, myself included trying to catch our last waves prior the Tow In segment of the contest. He added an element of confusion to the water that was not in the spirit of the contest.
I would like to see Eric Akiskalian banned from the area on contest day so the Water Patrol can safely assist participants without interference.
Kevin Harrington, Water Cameraman
I witnessed Eric Akiskalian tow into multiple waves during the heats of the 2014 Unvitational. He had no regard for safety of others. He put the competitors in harms way. He could have easily caused the death of others including competitors, safety crew, and photographers.