OCEANSIDE — The best in bodysurfing took off on one-foot to three-foot waves at Oceanside Pier for the World Bodysurfing Championships Aug. 20 and Aug. 21. Small and infrequent waves during the finals caused bodysurfers to gang up on the same wave and did not leave much room for maneuvers.
“It was fun, but it wasn’t great,” said Rich Loughridge, of Ocean Beach. “It makes it a little tougher with everyone grouped up. Six guys are fighting for one wave every time.”
Competitors came from California, Arizona, Tennessee, Hawaii, Mexico and Italy for the two-day event.
“It’s worldwide so people do like to come to the competition,” said Tim Casinelli, contest director.
About 250 bodysurfers competed, ranging in age from 12 to 87. Age group preliminary heats and semi final and final races narrowed the competition down to men and women’s age group winners.
In past years, the grand champion title was won by a 15-year-old. In other years it was awarded to a 55-year-old.
A trophy is also awarded for the best overall team performance.
While there is competition to claim individual and team trophies, the sport basically comes down to man against sea.
“When you get in the water it is individual,” Casinelli said.
Bodysurfers need to be strong swimmers and show off different maneuvers as they ride in a wave. The more difficult a maneuver the more points it scores. Bodysurfers are also judged on style and length of the ride. The top three scores of each competitor are added up to determined the heat winner.
“It’s an overall body workout,” Casinelli said. “It’s so much fun to do.”
The annual event has been held at the pier for 35 years.
The two-day event is all about friendly competition and family fun. “It’s not a professional sport, so it’s a loosely run family event,” Casinelli said.
Some families have competed in the event for four generations. “It’s definitely something that’s passed down,” Casinelli said. “My father taught me to do it. Now my nieces are in the event.”
Final results for the World Bodysurfing Championships can be seen at worldbodysurfing.org.