Category Archives: Events

It’s usually in December, but a lack of good swell in this “first” month of the winter big wave season has shifted the Mavericks Invitation Surf Contest window to January. Instead of beginning in December 2011, the window will now be open from January 1 to March 31, 2012, organizer and big wave surfer Jeff Clark said in a statement.

The Mavericks Invitational is a one-day, invitation-only surfing competition held at the legendary Mavericks surf break located just offshore Pillar Point Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay, and 20 minutes south of San Francisco.

After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 25 feet and there’s even a claim that November 21, 2001 was a “100-foot Wednesday.” The Mavericks big-wave break, called a “voodoo wave” by Surfer magazine in 1992 is caused by an unusually-shaped underwater rock formation.

The break is amazingly awe-inspiring with massive waves, dangerous rocks, shallow reef, strong currents and frigid water, and brings surfers and onlookers from all over the world. That is why it is a winter destination for some of the world’s best big wave surfers. Very few riders become big wave surfers; and of those, only a select few are willing to risk the hazardous conditions at Maverick’s.

Here is the list of 24 invitees and 17 alternates, which includes big-wave surfers from nearby Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz to as far away as South Africa and Australia. At any moment during the three-month period, the world’s 24 best big wave surfers could be given just 24-hours notice to show up for the contest.

The invitees:

  • Chris Bertish (South Africa)
  • Shane Desmond (Santa Cruz)
  • Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz)
  • Ken Collins (Santa Cruz)
  • Dave Wassel (Hawaii)
  • Carlos Burle (Brazil)
  • Grant Baker (South Africa)
  • Alex Martins (San Francisco)
  • Peter Mel (Santa Cruz)
  • Grant Washburn (San Francisco)
  • Ryan Seelbach (San Francisco)
  • Greg Long (San Clemente)
  • Zack Wormhoudt (Santa Cruz)
  • Mark Healey (Hawaii)
  • Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz)
  • Ryan Augenstein (Santa Cruz)
  • Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
  • Rusty Long (San Clemente)
  • Tyler Smith (Santa Cruz)
  • Nathan Fletcher (Hawaii)
  • Matt Ambrose (Pacifica)
  • Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)
  • Ben Wilkinson (Australia)
    Kelly Slater (Florida)

The alternates:

  • Josh Loya (Santa Cruz)
  • Tyler Fox (Santa Cruz)
  • Colin Dwyer (Pacifica)
  • Nic Lamb (Santa Cruz)
  • Danilo Couto (Brazil)
  • Derek Dunfee (San Diego)
  • Ben Andrews (San Francisco)
  • Andrew Marr (South Africa)
  • Travis Payne (Pacifica)
  • Ion Banner (Half Moon Bay)
  • Kohl Christensen (Hawaii)
  • Shawn Rhodes (Pacifica)
  • Mike Gerhardt (Santa Cruz)
  • Garret McNamara (Hawaii)
  • Russel Smith (Santa Cruz)
  • Jamie Mitchel (Australia)
  • John Bowling (San Francisco)

For more info on the invitees, check out: Continue reading

Are you ready for the holidays? Well, if you aren’t, get ready as the festivities are beginning. First up… the second annual Surfing Santa Contest at Salt Creek beach is planned for next Saturday and Sunday, November 19th and 20th benefiting Surfers Healing and children with Autism. So, get your Holiday costumes ready!

Our very own brands, Billabong and Sector 9, are two of the sponsors.

Entry fee is $40 per person and includes the contest and a Surf Swag Bag. The Surfing Santa Contest is part of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints program, and combined with the annual Holiday Surfboard Auction has raised more than $57,000 over the last three years.

Surfers Healing benefits people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. The group was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz, whose son Isaiah was diagnosed with autism at age three. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children so they began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.

There are several categories for the Surfing Santa Contest, and lots of chances to win holiday funds, including $1,000 going to the winner of the Flying Rudolph Big Air category. There are prizes for each additional category, including Santa’s Helpers (15 and under), Santa’s Elves (16-20 year olds), Toymakers (ages 20+), and Yule Loggers (open long board).

Go to to sign up. Ho, ho, ho! Continue reading

The Global Wave Conference, an international symposium on the protection of waves, took place last week in two of the most beautiful destinations on the planet: Biarritz, France and San Sebastian-Donostia, Spain, on October 24th and 25th respectively. This was the first major international conference on the recognition of the value of the waves.

Surfers Against Sewage from the United Kingdom, Save the Waves Coalition based in Northern California, WiLDCOAST from Mexico, Surfbreak Protection Society from New Zealand, National Surfing Reserves from Australia, Portugal’s Salvem O Surf, and branches of the international Surfrider network (Australia, Argentina, Europe, Japan, Morocco, United States), along with scientific support of Dr. Tony Butt, who has a PhD in Physical Oceanography and has published 16 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and over 200 other articles on waves and the coastal environment, were there on behalf to discuss the situation and next steps.

The conference highlighted that while the coasts are attracting more and more people and territories are seeking to protect against the effects of climatic disorder, conservation of surfing waves is becoming a major issue on many coastlines.

Waves come from the alignment of multiple environmental factors, themselves relatively uncertain. Since waves are vulnerable to any change in the environment that characterizes them, unfortunately, this is why many surf spots have now been altered…and some have even disappeared!

There are several types of threats that can cause the disappearance of a wave. The objective of the conference was to characterize what are the economic, social and environmental values of a surf zone to a coastal area, and focus on these three questions:

1. How Do You Define The Value of a Wave, and by Extension, of Nature?

2. What Are the Threats Facing the Waves?

3. Which Strategies Can Be Put into Place to Protect them?

Representatives of the political and scientific worlds, joined by engineers specializing in coastal development, discussed the issues surrounding waves within their respective areas of expertise.

For more details on the conference, check out: Continue reading

Of course, we surfers have to celebrate Halloween surfer style. Newport Beach, California saw a fine lineup of ghouls, monsters, and other costumes this past Saturday, at the sixth annual Blackies Classics Longboard Association Annual Halloween Costume Expo.

It’s a fun way for surfers in a Halloween mood to get together and surf in costumes, and there’s no entry fee. According to judge Bill Spurgeon, “It’s just something to bring a little life to Newport Beach on Halloween weekend.”

More and more costumes hit the water each year. This year saw more than 50 decked-out surfers catching the few waves that came through. Although the surf was small, conditions were clean, and perfect for not shredding up the costumes and mellow enough for kids to take on waves.

Since its inception six years ago, the costumes have become more elaborate and creative as well, and because of the silliness of the event, a growing number of spectators are seen laughing and cracking up on the sand year after year.

The costume surf-off was followed by the Blackies crew serving pancakes, sausage, doughnuts, and coffee to the surfers as they came out of the water after they got out of the chilly water.

This event really helps create a sense of community around a classic spot, and more importantly brings a lot of “fun” out into the lineup, which sometimes even the best of us forget that is what surfing is really about, Spurgeon noted.

Check out a few of the costumes here: Continue reading

This past weekend, Hollywood and surf culture came together for charity for the 4th Annual Project Save Our Surf (PSOS) Surf-A-Thon in Santa Monica, California.

Founded by actress Tanna Frederick (“Just 45 Minutes from Broadway,” “Hollywood Dreams,” “Irene in Time” and the soon to be released “Queen of the Lot”), who is an avid surfer, as well as actress, writer, producer and environmentalist, Project Save Our Surf brings the entertainment and surfing industries together in support of clean oceans.

The event, which was co-hosted by former world champion surfer, environmentalist, actor, and businessman Shaun Tomson, and had Hollywood celebrity surfers like Gregory Harrison (Chandler in “North Shore”), John Slattery (Roger Sterling on “Mad Men), Jesse Spencer (House), Tate Donavan (Tom Shayes on “Damages”), John Philbin (Turtle in “North Shore”) and others participating in two days of surfing and fun beach activities at Tower 28 south of the Santa Monica Pier.

These stars were joined by surfing stars, such as Jon Rose from Waves for Water, longboarder Mary Osborne, James Pribram from the ECO Warrior Project and the crew from the Mauli Ola Foundation.

There were 12 teams of 24 participants per team and each teammate surfed for 45 minutes. Team members were encouraged to raise $500 per person with 100% of total donations going to charity.

The event also featured daytime activities for the whole family including live music, mural painting with Joanne “Art Miles” Tawfilis, guest speakers, yoga and eco-friendly exhibits.

This year’s Project Save Our Surf (PSOS) beneficiaries are Santa Monica Baykeeper, Waves for Water, Inside the Outdoors and Tumelo Home.

For more info on future events, visit: Continue reading