OCEANSIDE — The three-day Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest brought professional nose riding, World Tandem Organization surfing competition, the SuperGirl Pro Junior contest, and grommets to grand masters longboarding competition to Oceanside Pier Aug. 12 through Aug. 14.
“It’s the best surf festival on the West Coast,” said Guy Takayama, renowned professional surfer and contest organizer.
Nose riding competition challenged surfers to ride the front 12 inches of their boards. “They’re judged on their ability to keep above the 24-inch mark,” Takayama said. “Style is making it look so easy.”
Tandem surf teams are judged for grace, ride, and a variety of moves.
“More moves on the same wave warrant more points,” said Jennifer Jessee, Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club press liaison.
Many of the tandem moves are cheer stances. “It’s a great crowd pleaser,” Takayama said.
The SuperGirl Pro Junior series event, which awards a $10,000 purse, is included in the three-day event to encourage young women to pick up their surfboards and ride.
“We really believe in what they’re doing,” Jessee said. “They have a positive impact. You never see young women being awarded that kind of cash prizes.”
There is also a three-day beach festival with live music, vendors and a beer and wine garden. “It’s like going to a street fair on the beach,” Jessee said.
Longboarding gained mass popularity in the 1960s with the release of the beach party film series that starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello and included the film “Beach Blanket Bingo.”
The popularity of longboarding resurged in the 1980s. Longboards were made more maneuverable with lighter materials and multiple fins.
Currently the popularity of longboarding has plateaued. Due to the tough economy there are fewer longboard contests to promote the sport.
The annual Longboard Surfing Club Contest has been held for 27 years. It continues to be run as a grassroots operation with no major corporate sponsors involved.
“We do it for the love of the sport,” Takayama said.
The Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club is a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Oceanside High School surf team, El Camino High School surf team, the California Surf Museum, and the Scholastic Surfing Association.