Casey Wheat, co-founder of the Sport of Kings and West Coast Boardriders Club, said the Surf Off is great for the community, bringing awareness about the importance of cleaning up the beaches. At last year’s event, even longtime surfers learned how sunscreen can affect the ocean.
“I never thought about it, that it was killing coral and sea life,” Wheat said. “It’s going to take the effort of the community to really give a difference.”
There will be a beach clean-up from 8 a.m. to noon with a goal of plucking about 500 pounds of trash off the beach, with anyone welcome to lend a hand.
Spots are still open for the surf contest, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Divisions include: groms, youth, men’s, women’s, longboarding and masters. The entry fee also gets participants an event T-shirt, a Sambazon Bowl, refreshments from Suja and a one-year membership to Drains to Ocean.
Event organizers are making sure their event is as environmentally friendly as possible, using eco-friendly propane generators for power, re-using last year’s jerseys and offering organic Matunas surf wax to contestants.
“This year, we are encouraging the contestants to ditch the plastic water bottles and bring only reusable bottles, carpool with a buddy or ride your bike to the event for a smaller CO2 footprint,” said Deffenbaugh, vice president of Drains to Oceans.
“Most of us surfers grew up at the beach and it’s our responsibility to help keep it clean, even if it’s not our trash,” he said. “Pick up a few pieces every time you go for a surf and throw it in the trash. It’s pretty simple.”
Getting the kids stoked on being good stewards is especially important, he said. “They are the generation that is going to make the change.”
Wheat, who won last year’s men’s division, has his unique trophy made of plastic straws and other trash proudly displayed at the Sport of Kings warehouse.
“It’s different than any trophy I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This one stands out like a sore thumb, and it’s a good sore thumb. It’s not like any other trophy and that’s what’s cool about it.”
He said putting on an event such as this is a thankless job, and Matson’s efforts are appreciated.