The Coast News Group

Oceanside longboard contest returns

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club (OLSC) celebrated 35 years of contests and beach festivities at the pier Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.

Nearly 270 contestants of all ages from up and down California’s coast gathered to compete in the 35-year longboard surfing contest hosted by the OLSC.

This year’s theme honored women in surfing, which included a display of prominent women surfers by the California Surf Museum as well as an invitational pro-surfer event for women. Eight women were selected to compete in the invitational: Brooke Carlson, Avalon Gall, Lola Mignot, Kasie Perkins, Hallie Rohr, Summer Richley, Jen Smith and Makala Smith.

According to OLSC President Bing Cosby, the club was first formed in the 1950s. Short boards mostly replaced long boards in the water by the late 1960s, but interest started to pick back up longboarding a few decades later.

Though the club has been around for much longer than 35 years, Cosby said professional surfer and surfboard shaper Donald Takayama helped revive the group when he decided to put together a longboard surfing contest in Oceanside.

Cosby, who has been president of OLSC for four years, first competed in the contest in its fourth year as a teenager. This year, Cosby competed in the Masters Men 40-49 category.

The club is now part of a larger coalition of longboard groups that compete against each other.

Though Cosby doesn’t necessarily favor longboards over short boards, he considers the style an “extension” of his surfing.

Riding longboards is a different more soulful genre of surfing from riding short boards, Cosby said.

“It’s not a seek-and-destroy mission like it is with the short boards,” he said. “It’s more about just kind of communicating with the ocean and being out there and enjoying the seagulls going by, the porpoises in the water next to you as you’re talking stories with your buddies … it’s a little more laid back and a way to kind of flush off everything on the land.”

Nick Crawford, an OLSC board member, described longboarding as a gliding style rather than the fast approach short boards take.

“If you put it in motorcycle terms, you have crotch-rocket riders — those are short boarders — and Harley riders are longboarders,” Crawford said.

Cosby highlighted how well the club has been able to work with the city of Oceanside to put the contest on each year. He then pointed to Mayor Peter Weiss, who at the time was singing covers while playing his acoustic guitar on the bandshell stage nearby.

Cosby also noted that many of the club members work for the city in various capacities, including himself. When he’s not surfing, Cosby works as a building inspector for the city.

“We’re just a real big neighborhood community event,” he said.

Photo Caption: Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club President Bing Cosby competes in the Masters Men 40-49 semi-final heat during the club’s 35th annual longboard surfing contest on Aug. 10. Photo by Samantha Taylor.