The Clubs Are Comin’ To Town
Dana Point Surf Club to host West Coast Board Riders contest at Salt Creek this weekend.
“It’s not really just a surf contest, it’s a lot more than that,” said Eric Diamond, President of the Dana Point Surf Club. “It’s a gathering.”
This Saturday the Dana Point Surf Club plays host to the West Coast Board Riders at Salt Creek. It’s the second straight year the club will host the event. Last year it attracted teams from throughout Orange County, this year’s movement looks to eclipse that.
“I’m super excited because we at our home spot hosting this event,” Diamond told Stab. His family roots run deep in town. His old man was photo legend Ron Stoner’s roommate for a period and worked at the old Clark Foam factory. Eric himself is the godfather of the Cosmic Creek Challenge.
“Salt Creek and the Headlands are a very special, beautiful venue,” continued Diamond.
Dana Point’s grom squad. Photo courtesy of Dana Point Surf Club.
“We are fired up because we have some really great young surfers. I’m very proud of them. Some are home from college for spring break. Our girls like Bethany Zelako and groms like Callan Emery and Pat Conner just keep improving…and it’s just plain awesome being at our spot!”
This weekend crosstown rivals, San Clemente (who are coming off a win at the Jack’s Pro in Huntington) will be there, as will Laguna Beach and Newport. And repping San Diego County, Rob Machado’s Encinitas team is primed, as is the Carlsbad crew.
“That Encinitas team as a lot of talent. This is their first year, but they’ve got a lot of firepower,” says Diamond. “San Clemente’s club is on fire, that’s for sure. With so much talent it can be quite daunting, but it can also raise the bar for our club as well. Drawing a heat against a Gudauskas brother or a guy like Nate Yeoman’s is tough, but it’s actually good, it helps raise the talent level and push everyone.”
“You’ll see legends like Pat O’Connell versus. Matt Archbold, local stylists like Tyler Warren versus Dane Gudauskas…or local ripper Kolton Sullivan, who’s just natural raw talent, against a competitive machine such as Kei Kobayashi or Kevin Shultz. There are a lot of differences in the comp backgrounds, but it’s a great environment to showcase the unique approaches of these amazing talents.”
A large part of what Diamond is trying to achieve with the club is to not just win heats, but unite his hometown community, as well as bring the California surf community at large together.
“We emphasize the importance of values and being an ambassador for your town,” says Diamond. “Things like introducing yourself when you go somewhere and being respectful of areas. For the old guys it’s a chance to reconnect and teach the youth. For the kids, they may end up making theses amazing friendships that us statesmen have been so fortunate to experience throughout our lives.”
And maybe it’s Diamond’s positive vibes and good karma that’s finally going to break this dreadful, “worst winter ever” flat spell we’ve been plagued by the last few months. It’s been a long time since we could say there was any actual, real groundswell in the water—January 18, to be specific. But that’s about to change with a dose of west and southwest combo swell lining up for Friday and Saturday. It’s not going to be huge, chest to shoulder-high, but any pulse is a plus at this point.
“We’ll have to see if the weather holds up, but it looks like there will be some pretty fun surf,” notes Diamond. “At the last contest up in Huntington we had rain and small surf, it was tough for everybody. So, we’re excited that everybody’s going to be coming down to Salt Creek and there’s actually going to be some waves.”
The West Coast Board Riders contest will be running all morning at The Point at Salt Creek on April 7. Competing clubs will include host Dana Point, current club champs San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad.
It’s going to be a great spring day at the beach. Head on down to support your hometown heroes, watch generations of great surfers do battle…and enjoy the first swell in months.
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