Last weekend, Los Angeles braced itself for what many were convinced would be "carmageddon"--severe gridlock caused by the Sepulveda Pass shutdown of the I-405 connecting the Valley with the Westside. Instead, what we all experienced was more "carma-heaven" where people stayed out of their cars and close to home in order to support local businesses and engage in their own oft neglected communities. Let me tell you, this could not have created a more perfect environment for our first annual Ocean Park Surf Contest & Lu'au at Santa Monica Beach and I was thrilled to be a part of it.
The event was spearheaded and organized by my best friend, Kevin Osborne, who worked tirelessly for months to put things together. It was a labor of love...he has surfed and skated in the area for most of his life and longed to bring back the kind of community contest that he remembered from his youth and is so special to Southern California. Our Ocean Park surf crew is really brimming with talent, too, so his clothing company--Ocean Park 26--acted as event sponsor and was joined by others such as O'Neill, Quiksilver, ZJ Boarding House, Heal the Bay, and Starbucks. Countless volunteers also offered their support and I jumped on board to act as one of the day's photographers. Everyone really did an amazing job coming together for the community.
Things kicked off Friday with a beach cleanup and surfing took place all day Saturday starting at 7:30 AM. Contest divisions included all ages and both genders and showcased some great surfing throughout the day. This included Dogtown legend Allen Sarlo, one of the original members of the Zephyr team, who returned to surf Ocean Park again. Contestants generally enjoyed great wave conditions--peeling 2-4' waves with the marine layer holding back the wind until midday. And even when the clouds did burn off and the wind picked up, no one cared since the day suddenly became stunningly sunny and hot. It was great fun...there were even groups of girls who performed different hulas for the appreciative crowd at lunchtime as part of the lu'au.
This was a fantastic Santa Monica community event and kudos to Kevin for bringing it all back. Even those who didn't win one of the wonderful trophies still had a great time. Congratulations to all for making the Ocean Park Surf Contest such a success! Everyone is already looking forward to the fun again next year.
As usual, a heavy marine layer hangs over the beach for the early morning surf
Board custom-shaped by April Newman, one of our Ocean Park surfers, for the contest's raffle
Kevin meeting with the judges and greeting Allen Sarlo,
one of the original Dogtown Z-Boys and contestant in the Ocean Park contest
Allen surfing the Pacific Ocean Pier--which originally stood where our crew now surfs today--back in 1975
The surf contest was divided into heats of every age and gender,
and even started with the Body Surf division
Here come the groms...the Boys' heat gets a pep talk from beach master Raymond
Antonia (above) and Jordan size up the waves for the Girls' heat
Maddie (left), 4th in some rankings for the State of California, enjoying a long right on her longboard
Girls' heat finishing strong and congratulations all around
Members of the Juniors' heat really show off the SoCal lifestyle...
skate to the beach and then go surf
Juniors ready to paddle out and start their heat
Watching some inspired surfing throughout the day
There were so many women competing in the contest that there were two heats...
here's Rebecca, also one of our county lifeguards, getting some great surf in the first heat
Suzy (left) having fun and checking out the surf for the Women's second heat
The lifeguards patrolling the contest zone during the Men's heat
Finally at midday, the skies cleared and the sun shone and our Ocean Park break became really glorious
The effects of LA's "carmageddon" on Santa Monica beaches meant small locals-only crowds (above),
but our contest zone was in contrast flush with people and excitement
Even established companies like Body Glove joined the contest zone between Tower 26 and Tower 27
Everyone, especially the judges (below), was thrilled watching each heat
Jorge padding out and surfing a great wave in the Men's heat
The Masters' heat, which included Allen Sarlo (in black) and
artist Casper Brindle (in white)
Though the waves had diminished by the Masters' heat,
everyone was still very much living the dream
Afternoon entertainment from different groups of girls who perform hula
Congratulations to everyone associated with the event!
It was a great time and can't wait for the contest again next year.