Hall of Shame
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.
Peter Butsch, Competitor
When I got into the lineup for the Nelscott reef Unvitational I saw about 14 paddle surfers trying to line up for some 30′ plus size waves. In the middle of this two tow surfers kept towing surfers into waves about 10′ feet away from us. This action was putting up wakes and interfering with the contest. It was two pro surfers Chuck Patterson and Eric A. Basically it was disrespectful and very distracting.
Sonny Owens, Head Judge
I was head judge at the recent Nelscott Reef Event, and was wanting to bring to your attention the interference that the Judges and contestants observed with Surfers that were not listed in the event within the contest area. The outsiders seemed to be organized and was taking waves in front of and around the contestants with no regard to the safety of the contestants or themselves for that matter. In addition, a couple of them were wearing contest jerseys that made it impossible from our viewpoint to tell them from the contestants.
For a good part of the event day the group also had tow-in surfers which pulled right through the event area, at one point encircling one of the SUP surfers, causing him to have a very bad wipeout in a position that was difficult for the safety craft to get to him right away.
I’m not sure how or if there is a way of keeping these events all to the contestants and personnel. But maybe if there was positive proof of the identity to these folks causing the safety issues that they could be ticketed for operating equipment in an unsafe manner with disregard to public safety or something…
Trooper Seversen OSP, Regarding ongoing interference
…Law enforcement will be watching closer in the next events for dangerous jet ski behavior. I also made it clear I wasn’t taking sides. I told him law enforcement watching from the coastline with binoculars won’t be able to discern which team is which but that jet skiers will be cited if appropriate and ultimately shut down if operations are unsafe.
“The Find Claiming Nelscott Reef” 2009
It was pretty apparent that somebody tampered with the gas in the jet ski and she (Shawn Alladio) had a failure that could have been catastrophic
-2008 event ‘Jim Kusz statement regarding tampered rescue jet ski’
Jason Garding, Nestucca Water Rescue
To whom it may concern,
Eric Akiskalian has no business running a contest in Lincoln City. Lets forget the fact that no Oregonian wants to see some guy from Santa Barbara, CA come up here and put on a contest. Although that is a good reason by it’s self. I think we would have a full on riot if he tried it. I’d like to focus on the fact that Mr. Akiskalian shows a blatant disregard for the safety of other ocean users.
Tow surfing is a big wave sport. It shouldn’t be done in surf small enough for paddle surfers to be out in the water. If Eric is in town, he is going to tow surf no matter what. So many times I have pulled up the the bluff at Canyons to see Eric towing five foot waves. I don’t think he even owns a paddle surfboard.
During the contest Weekend last year Akiskalian and Chuck Patterson gave us even more reasons to question their awareness of other users safety.
The morning started off great. Everyone was taking turns surfing the 15-20 foot surf. Then about mid-day Akiskalian and Patterson showed up and proceeded to race straight to the peak, over and over again, cutting everyone off. Chuck was threatening to start a fight with my tow partner. It was an ugly scene.
On the morning of the contest, they were out again and refused to stop surfing after the first heat started. They surfed halfway into the first heat before Ken Collins convinced them to stop.
Any way you look at it, Eric Akiskalian has no right to put on a contest up here. He has proven over and over again that he doesn’t respect us, our waves, or our safety.
Nestucca Water Rescue