CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Hundreds of spectators and contestants descended upon Seaside on April 22 and April 23 for the inaugural Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior presented by Reef and Hurley.
The contest is now the only Association of Surfing Professionals, or ASP, Pro Junior 4-star competition in the San Diego area. The event also included a Super Heroes-themed charity golf tournament at The Crossing at Carlsbad on April 18.
The event also served as the first of three stops on the Women’s ASP North America Pro Junior Series, where the overall North American winner qualifies for the ASP Women’s World Junior Tour.
“The first pro contest I ever surfed in was at Seaside and I thought it would be good for the kids to bring one back,” Machado said.
The two-day contest included a 72-competitor Junior Men’s division and 24-competitor Junior Women’s division, as well as a grom expression session. A $20,000 prize purse is up for grabs in the men’s field and $10,000 in the women’s field.
In the junior men’s final, Evan Geiselman from Florida took top honors and a purse of $4,000. Only a half-point separated Geiselman and second place finisher, Kolohe Andino of San Clemente.
In the junior women’s final, Lakey Peterson won the contest and $1,800. She is the defending Women’s ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion. “I’m not trying to qualify for the Women’s World Tour this year,” Peterson said. “I just want to build my points and get experience at most of the spots so when I do try and qualify I’m really confident. Of course I want to win every contest I enter, but I would say my main focus is the Pro Juniors. I really want to do well in the Pro Juniors and I’m feeling good and confident right now.”
Machado was on hand to sign autographs and mingle with attendees between watching heats. The surf and weather held up as locals stopped by for a day at the beach. “It’s always a nice surprise to come down and see such talented surfers,” said Mike Peska, who brought his two daughters, Haley, 10, and Monica, 12. “I like seeing the kids surf in contests because it makes me think maybe I could do it, too,” Haley said. “I need to practice a little more though.”
Proceeds from both the golf tournament and surf contest will go toward the Rob Machado Foundation and its benefactor Cardiff SEA, a volunteer, nonprofit organization representing parents, staff and community members concerned with improving the education of children within the school district.
For Machado, the golf tournament and surf contest are just one of the many opportunities he has to give back to his community. The foundation has been going strong since 2004 and has shifted its primary focus in the last few years to educating elementary school students on helping the environment.