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Joe Surf: A surf contest for the family

November 02, 2011|By Joe Haakenson
  • Mark Ancheta competes at the HB Senior Surf Invitational on Saturday on the south side of Huntington Beach Pier.
Mark Ancheta competes at the HB Senior Surf Invitational… (Courtesy Dave Peeters…)

Any day now, Kelly Slater most likely will clinch an unprecedented and almost unfathomable 11th Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Title. But as we all know, Slater is one in a million.

For the other 999,999 and then some, there are events like Saturday's Family Surf Fest at Ninth Street in Huntington Beach. It's more than a contest; it's a day at the beach.

That's right. In November.

"There are a handful of kids and surfers who want to be the next Kelly Slater," said Chris Williams, the contest coordinator for the Christian Surfing Federation, which is putting on the event. "But there are about a zillion folks — kids, teens, parents — who enjoy having a fun surf day on a softboard while having a good time with family and friends."

The Family Surf Fest is loaded with divisions for all levels and ages, starting at the top with a pro-am division, all the way down to an open softboard division for those of any age, including kids who can be pushed into a wave by their mom or dad or one of the several volunteers that will be on hand, most notably the Christian Surfers Huntington Beach.

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"Probably the thing that is most different is that we have an actual softboard division," said Williams, who also owns and operates Soul Surfing School in Laguna Beach with his wife, Karen. "You see what we do with our surf camps; we train and surf with legions of kids. So many kids get on a softboard and have some fun.

"What we figured was we could make this family-friendly, with music and food and dodgeball. We'll have fun prizes for things like longest ride and best wipeout."

It's not a surfing contest where all the focus is on the water. On the sand, there will be activities like a wetsuit slip-and-slide contest, a pie-eating contest and a family-style barbecue.

Registration cost varies depending on which division one enters, but all the entry fees are less than $30.

Though it is billed as a casual day at the beach, there will be competitive divisions, like the pro-am division and men's and women's open shortboard and longboard divisions. There are also divisions based on age.

About the only thing that might seem to make the event a bit curious is the date — Nov. 5. Summer is long gone.

"The water temps are not that much different than summer," Williams said. "Basically, it's in the low 60s, and in the summer it's typically in the low- to mid-60s, very manageable with a full suit.

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