Making its highly anticipated debut before a massive crowd of fans, the Vans Duct Tape series premiered in Japan for the first time in the competition’s history this past weekend. Arguably one of the most passionate surf scenes in the world, Japanese fans turned out in droves to watch 32 of the best longboarders exhibit their timeless logger style. Hosted at Kugenuma Beach in Fujisawa, the series witnessed its largest turnout ever, humbly recognized by contest director and surf legend Joel Tudor as “a dream come true.”
Featuring a men’s and women’s longboarding competition, live music, skate jams, surf sessions, family-friendly art workshops, and some of the most influential Japanese surf vendors on-site, the Vans Duct Tape Festival provided an unforgettable experience for the community. Heralding Joel Tudor as the ultimate sensei, the competition was held in the highest regard with him at the helm, as he led the next generation of longboarding talent onto Japan’s coveted shores.
In the Women’s competition, decorated logger and former WSL world champion Honolua Blomfield brought elegance to the water, winning her second Vans Duct Tape title since 2018. Blomfield’s unmistakable grace across the surfboard was a sight to see, maneuvering the picturesque glassy conditions with pure fluidity. Runner up Hallie Rohr shared Blomfield’s enthusiasm, gliding through the waves with an energetic, creative style, ultimately earning her special honors in the group expression session.
In the men’s competition, the ever-talented Andy Nieblas emerged in first place. Nieblas’ eccentric style always brings a modern approach to the contest, setting a new bar for innovation and reminding everyone to always have fun. Meanwhile, Kai Takayama, kin to surf royalty, demonstrated his natural talent of classic logger style, while adding on his own twist. Closing out the weekend in an entertaining fashion, Joel brought party waves and paddle races to the beach, inviting all competitors to join in on the merriest expression session we’ve ever seen. Rohr and Nieblas stole the show, with honorable mentions going out to Jared Mell and Tosh Tudor for their amusing efforts overall.
Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational – Japan Results
- Andy Nieblas
- Kaimana Takayama
- Kaniela Stewart
- Justin Quintal
- Honolua Blomfield
- Hallie Rohr
- Kirra Seale
- Sierra Lerback
Men’s Winner: Andy Nieblas
Women’s Winner: Hallie Rohr
Men’s Winner: Kevin Skvarna
Women’s Winner: Rosie Jaffurs
Adding to the festivities, as customary Duct Tape tradition goes, surfers Joel Tudor, Alex Knost and Lee-Ann Curren as well as Pro Skateboarder Andrew Allen inspired the community with an open library of custom, hand-shaped surfboard designs, available to demo over the four days. Following the event, the boards will permanently live at local surf shop Trimoff, for the locals to surf whenever they please. Showcasing her many talents, Lee-Ann Curren also graced the stage with her sultry electronica sounds.
With no signs of slowing down, the 22nd edition of the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational continues to make its mark around the world, honoring surf craftmanship and progression and paying respects to the incredible conditions Japan produced for the world’s best loggers. Arigato, Japan!