This past weekend was the 2nd annual Ocean Park Surf Contest in Santa Monica. The event is a labor of love for founder (and boyfriend) Kevin Osborne, who owns Ocean Park 26 clothing and has skated and surfed this area almost his entire life. Over a decade ago he invited me to paddle out with him in the water, and we've been surfing Ocean Park ever since. The contest is an incredible way for our community to come together...a community that is talented, diverse, and has close ties and love for the area.
For those who don't know, Santa Monica Beach is rich with history. From the classic cinema side, countless movies (and television shows and commercials) have been filmed here....Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce is but one. Essentially if you see the ocean in a black-and-white film, it is more than likely to be Santa Monica Beach. And Marilyn Monroe posed in swimwear for several iconic photo sessions here, too. The cinema connection is so strong that stars of the silver screen have even chosen to live along California's Gold Coast such as Cary Grant, Marion Davies, Marlene Dietrich, and MGM head Louis B. Mayer.
Of course on the surf and skate side of history, few places compare with the influence of Santa Monica Beach and the Ocean Park area in particular. This is, after all, Dogtown...the home of the Zephyr surf and skate team. In the 1970s, they caused a revolution that changed both sports forever. Their impact was immortalized in both Stacey Peralta's documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and Catherine Hardwicke's movie Lords of Dogtown. Back then, the Pacific Ocean Park pier was the draw...the ruins of a vast amusement park that once saw more people on its rides than Disneyland. The pier created a rideable wave and locals surfed around the wreckage and pilings that jutted out of the water. Dangerous beyond belief, but so good that it was fiercely and forcefully guarded by the locals against anyone else.
In 1974, the ruins of Pacific Ocean Park were demolished and surfers were back to a beach break wave where the pier once stood. In many ways, a beach break is much more difficult than a point break wave (like Malibu). You are faced with a wide range of often challenging conditions, must adapt quickly, and have to make the most of every wave you catch. It's no wonder two World Champions--icons Kelly Slater and Lisa Anderson--were both brought up surfing beach break waves.
Last weekend, our conditions at Ocean Park were a gift from the gods. Summer waves are never guaranteed, but Mexico's Hurricane Fabio brought solid 2-4' waves most of our two-day contest with only the occasional lull. The weather was in our favor as well with morning skies that were clear blue and sunny, growing overcast in the afternoon when the heat of the Valley clashed with the cool air of the beach. Our 75+ contestants--bodysurfers, girls, boys, juniors, women, men, and masters--all had their choice of some pretty great waves and really put on a show for the judges and appreciative spectators.
A huge thanks to our sponsors that included the luminaries of the surf and skate industry such as ZJ's Boarding House, Arbor, Body Glove, O'Neill, Jeff Ho, Santa Monica Airlines, Scott Anderson, and Rip City Skate. And food from sponsors Starbucks, Vita Coco, Shaka Shack burgers, Native Foods Cafe, Mrs. Winston's Green Grocery, Bob's Market, and Bagel Nosh all kept everyone very happy throughout the event.
I absolutely loved spending time with everyone and can't wait to do it all again next year!
Surfing action photos below by A-Game Photography and Valerie Laney
and all others by GlamAmor
At the beach at sunrise to set up for the two-day surf contest
Standing in front of our Tower 26
guarding the selection of Ape Shapes boards for the event's lucky raffle winner
A vintage shot of Pacific Ocean Park (at top, above) and Santa Monica Pier in the 1960s
The Santa Monica Pier today (above)
and the early days of the Pacific Ocean Park Pier
When the POP was closed in 1967 and left to ruin,
the Zephyr surf and skate team turned the dangerous wreckage into their favorite hardcore local break
Zephyr founder Jeff Ho (above right), who designed iconic surf and skateboards for team riders like Jay Adams (below),
showed his support for this year's contest and donated one of his custom skateboards to winners
Photos by A-Game Photography, Glen Friedman, and Kevin Osborne
A parking lot of surfboards at Tower 26
The Ocean Park Surf Contest headquarters
with our beach enforcer Johnny Spicher
Positioned behind the judges--Dan Canamar, Paul Tomson (brother of 1977 World Champion Shaun Tomson), and Jonas Matz--
to watch some incredible surfing throughout the two-day contest
The Wilson family greets dad after his heat
Girl power on the beach
Antonia (above) and Chloe
The boys were all too cute for words, including Bennett, Zephyr, and Beck (above)
The women's heats really grabbed the attention of the audience with their great surfing
Liz Montgomery checking out the waves before paddling out and shredding it up
April Newman taking on some great waves to win first place for the Women
Kevin and I discussing the details of each heat
Cameron (above, right) and the other Juniors getting ready for their heat
Competitors Frankie and Luke
Frankie taking over as commentator while DJ Chris Simental spinned the tunes
Moving to the grass after the contest to give out all the awards,
which included handcrafted trophies by local artisan friends Kit and Bob
Men's Champion Tyler Packham with his prize haul of Chano surfboard and Santa Monica Airlines skateboard (above)
and Frankie drawing the winner of a custom Ape Shapes surfboard
Our fun finished with food and a hula show featuring dancers of all ages
See you all next year!