The Coast News Group

Ladies’ longboard contest thrills fans

This year’s Roxy Jam Cardiff featuring the Linda Benson Women’s World Longboard Pro focused on stellar surfing, family-friendly fun and environmental education.
Blue skies and fair conditions helped pros and amateurs overcome the intermittent chop on the water. Competition was fierce Sept. 21, the third and final day of the Association of Surfing Professionals-sanctioned six-star event at Cardiff Reef.
A packed beach of spectators witnessed local surfers Cori Schumacher and Jen Smith battle it out for the top prize and title of Women’s U.S. Regional Longboarding Champion.
Schumacher and Smith were joined by Pacific Beach longboarder Summer Romero and Australian Chelsea Williams in the 30-minute final. Cardiff-by-the-Sea local Schumacher proved she was in it to win it, stealing the show from day one with a 9.75 in her first heat, the highest-scoring wave of the contest.
While Schumacher was a finalist in the Roxy Jam Cardiff in 2006, she did not compete in the event last year, leaving her with a low seed for this year’s event. She surfed seven heats to win the contest, taking second only once in the Round of 32, where she narrowly knocked out favorites Lindsay Steinriede and Leah Dawson to advance to the quarterfinals.
“I am so happy!” Schumacher said. “Thank you to Roxy, the ASP and Linda Benson for giving us this event. The waves were amazing and the girls are all so talented. With the caliber of surfing in the quarterfinals, it could have been the finals. I knew I just had to get the right wave.”
In addition to the $15,000 purse prize, presenting sponsor Schick Quattro for Women awarded a $3,000 style award to Pacific Beach goofy-footer Romero for her extraordinary long nose ride on a right-hander. Hansen’s Surf Shop gave a second $3,000 purse prize for the Wave of the Day to regular-footer Bianca Valenti of Hawaii.
More than 3,000 spectators attended the beach festival, featuring Roxy and other sponsor tents, free hairstyling by Paul Mitchell and make-your-own custom Roxy flip flops. By far the most entertaining part of the late afternoon was the Surftech’s Women’s Stand-Up Paddle Challenge, an open-entry three-person paddleboard relay.
Closing out the weekend of fun was the board shapers raffle with seven boards being auctioned off. Over the three-day event, all proceeds were donated to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to help raise community awareness about urban run-off and to supplement the conservancy’s water quality testing program.