Muskegon Chronicle 1990



Area surfer hits it big



Chronicle special writer


   GRAND HAVEN — Bob Pushaw says there’s no place like home.  And he proved it Saturday by winning the senior men’s division of the Grand Haven City Beach Blast surfing competition.


   Pushaw, a 36-year-old Grand Haven native, has competed in surfing contests around the world, from Puerto Rico to California and El Salvador.


   Until last Saturday, however, Pushaw had never won.  Bridesmaid, he jokes, has become his middle name.


   “BACK IN 1966, I finished third in my first contest.  But for the past 24 years, I never finished first until I did at the (Grand Haven City) Beach Blast,” said Pushaw, a Federal Express supervisor in Grand Rapids.  “There have been a lot of close calls, a lot of times I was runner-up, but never first.


   “The guys were joking that I finally ended my long dry spell.  It felt great to win, especially considering the competition at the contest.  It was pretty tough.”


   More than 40 competitors from Ontario, Canada, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan took part in the eighth annual competition, which is the fourth of six events of the Eastern Association’s Great Lakes district circuit.


   COLD WEATHER and high winds produced big waves, up to eight feet in height, according to Pushaw.


   “Let’s put it this way:  We couldn’t have asked for better conditions to surf in,” said Pushaw.  Grand Haven residents dominated the competition.  Doc Beaton was the top finisher in the grand masters division of the surf board class, and Jeff Smits captured the junior men’s division.  Bill Pushaw, Bob’s brother, and Ken Pratt tied for third place in the masters division, while Crispin Kemp was runner-up in the boy’s division.


   Grand Haven’s Jerry McGoven took the skim board class title, and Pratt finished second.


   OTHER WINNERS including Scott Holmes (masters surf board), Bryan McDonald of Chicago (men’s surf board), Matt Roth of King, Ontario (boys surf board), Gordon Roth of King, Ontario (meneheune surf board), John Jared of Davidson (men’s body board) and Fred Mathis of Holland (junior men’s skim board).


   Pushaw’s first place finish moved him into third place in the overall Great Lakes district standings.  He will try to move up higher in two weeks, when the ESA tour moves south to St. Joseph.