OCEANSIDE — More than 200 people showed up to compete in the 34th annual World Bodysurfing Contest held Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 at Oceanside Pier. Competitors came from California, Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Tennessee, Hawaii, Brazil and Australia.
“It’s by far the biggest competition,” Tim Casinelli, contest director, said. “There are five to six held in California throughout the year.”
The Oceanside Pier is an ideal location for the contest because initial heats can compete simultaneously on both sides of the pier. The waves are also a key reason the Oceanside location is selected. “This time of year Oceanside has better swells than anywhere else,” Casinelli said. “And there’s 34 years of tradition having it here.”
Men and women, from ages 12 to 65 and older, competed in age group categories throughout the two days. Elimination heats ran on Aug. 21. “It was very good conditions,” Jeff Lashberook, of Dana Point, said. “Smooth, clean waves, the same kind of waves you want surfing on any kind of board.”
Conditions stayed near perfect for the semi finals and finals on Aug. 22. “They were fun waves that had some size,” Howard O’Kelly of San Diego said. “They came in 3 feet to 5 feet.”
Bodysurfers were scored on wave selection, length of ride, originality and tricks. Competitors pulled off spinners, underwater dolphins, and barrels in the waves.
The contest rates bodysurfers on their top three scores, pushing athletes to catch a minimum of three waves. “It’s a sport that tests fitness and swimming,” Casinelli said. “Sometimes you want to throw up after you ride in a wave, it takes so much out of you, but you need to go back out because they score you on your top three not the top two like surfing.”
In addition to the top six competitors in each age group category winning prizes, trophies and bragging rights, final men’s and women’s grand champion contests were held that pitted first place winners in all age groups against each other.
Final World Bodysurfing Contest results are posted at www.worldbodysurfing.org.