Surf Clubs In California Are A Real Thing
“Archy is psyched!”
That’s really all you need to know about the resurgence of the surf club movement in California.
Arch walked away from competitive surfing because he was over it. Now he’s one of the biggest advocates for his San Clemente brethren. And that’s rad.
Last year, the West Coast Board Riders brought the old-school surf club back to California with groups forming in San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna, Newport, Seal and Huntington.
A bunch of new clubs have sprouted up throughout California. Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and L.A.’s South Bay have all rekindled the fire. Down in San Diego, Rob Machado didn’t want to be left out of the soul shakedown, so he rallied in Encinitas. Carlsbad’s also formed their own club.
The first comp for the 2018 season kicks off this weekend in Huntington.
“We were stoked with how things went last year. The response was really positive. This year things are getting more serious. There are more clubs and we’re growing up a little bit,” Ziggy Williams, co-founder of the West Coast Boardriders Club, recently told Stab.
Things have gotten considerably more “real” this year. To accommodate the new clubs, two divisions have been made (North and South). The schedule has been expanded, and at the end of the year, there will be a West Coast champion named. Master contest organizer Darren “Brilo” Brilhart has signed on to serve as commission and make sure the contests run properly.
The North will consist of clubs from Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, the South Bay, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach. The South will be made up of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Carlsbad and Encinitas.
The first contest of the season is on March 3 and will take place in the North Division at the Huntington Pier. The first South Division contest lands in Newport Beach on March 10 (too bad the California surf outlook is a dismal affair.) There will be a total of three events in each region, and then come October or November a championship will be held (details are still being finalized).
There are also two specialty events on the schedule. The first one will run in conjunction with the WSL’s Jack’s Pro in Huntington Beach on March 22. They’ve lined up a live webcast, free entry to clubs and $1,000 to the winner. The top two clubs from each division will qualify. There’s another specialty event on the schedule for this October.
“Our program is membership based, non-political organization, that encourages fun, youth development, with our goal of 2018 being charitable and community service in our town,” says Eric Diamond, President of the Dana Point Surf Club. “I felt anyone could put together a red-hot surf team with pros and local legends, but why not take it a step further? Dana Point has such a rich surfing heritage, so we formed a board of directors and are planning on doing some good in our community.”
Celebrating community and camaraderie up and down the coast is why the West Coast Boardriders was formed in the first place. The goal was to bring young, up-and-coming surfers together with previous generations and provide them with an opportunity to come together for some friendly conversation and good times. The contests are all concluded with parties thrown by the host team at the end of the day.
“People are so psyched to get together for these events. It’s not like a normal surf contest where everyone is in it for themselves. The whole team component has brought all these different generations together,” said Frankie D’Andrea, Vice President of the San Clemente Boardriders. “There’s some pretty incredible young talent down here in San Clemente, then we have guys like the Gudauskas brothers and Nate Yeomans, and legends like Matt Archbold. Archy’s as stoked, if not more, than anyone on the team. That speaks volumes about where the club movement is headed.”
The goal is to someday have the kind of expansive reach that the clubs in Australia enjoy. There are over 200 recognized boardriders clubs with over 19,000 members in Oz. The U.S. has a ways to go but you gotta start somewhere.
“Last year was incredible, this year’s looking even better, and the sky is kind of the limit. Our next step is to form an East Coast Boardriders Club,” tells Chris Moreno, another of the organization’s co-founders. “We’re so excited to see this continue to evolve and we’re going to have more news coming.”
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