OCEANSIDE — The annual Surf for the Sea contest brought surfers together for fun competition, environmental stewardship and remembrance of local surfing legends on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13.
The event began in 1997 with the remembrance of Harry Bennett, who the contest pro-am trophy is named after.
This year’s event honored Harry Bennett, Steve Leighton, Tore Bonura, Chuck Hundley, Banning Capps, Court Overin, John Craven and Midget Smith.
Competition divisions ranged from girls and boys under 12, to longboard and heavyweight competition.
The heavyweight competition requires competitors to weigh in at a minimum of 225 pounds.
“Big guys are at a deficit when little skinny guys can paddle underneath you,” Koa Kimo of Carlsbad said. With surfers of the same weight competing the playing field is leveled. “The heavyweight competition doesn’t become a wave positioning contest,” Kimo said.
Packing on the pounds to make the weigh-in can be a challenge. “The usual preparation is to eat a lean diet,” Kimo said. “In this event, I load up on quesadillas.”
On Sept. 13, final heats for all divisions were held and surfers also took part in a memorial paddle out. Court Overin, who worked for Ocean Pacific and Surfer Magazine, was one of the surfers remembered. “He was a great surfer and a great guy,” his son Colton Overin said.
“The event keeps the memory alive,” Michelle Overin, widow of Court Overin, said. She said the annual Surf for the Sea event helps her three children remember their dad and connect to surfing and environmental stewardship that were important to him. “There’s love attached to it,” Michelle Overin said.
Monies raised from entry fees and raffle tickets are donated to the Surfrider Foundation.
Last year, the Surf for the Sea event raised $3,000.