posted Jul 20, 2016, 6:32 AM by PEF Pacifica
updated Jul 20, 2016, 6:33 AM
Aloha spirit prevails in surf contest
Event benefits Pacifica environmental GROUP
By John Murphy, Half Moon Bay Review
Mike Wallace stands with his board on Saturday during the surf contest in Pacifica. Participants say they appreciate the wide age range and terrific spirit of the event. Cat Cutillo / Review
Rock ‘n’ roll reverberated as dogs roamed the beach and little girls cartwheeled on the sand under cloudy skies during the 15th annual Kahuna Kupuna Classic surf contest Saturday at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.
The event is a fundraiser for Pacifica’s Environmental Family.
“It was my first contest and I liked it,” said Pacifica’s Zach Howatt, a student at Terra Nova High School. “I was nervous, but when I got out there I was relaxed.”
Howatt was part of a six-person intergenerational team that also included brother Jackson Howatt, Colin Dwyer, Steve Dwyer, Taylor Payne and Norm Payne.
The Howatt-Dwyer-Payne team was edged out for first place in the intergenerational category by the Half Moon Bay team of Clay Johnson, Kaira Wallace, Nick Holoulos, Tom Feix, Peter Andreini and Mike Wallace.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” Mike Wallace said. “It spreads the concept of ‘ohana,’ which means family in Hawaiian, and also the aloha spirit.”
In a fascinating moment, Andreini and Feix wound up riding the same wave and attempted to change boards, which would have been a neat trick.
Jeff Bjork, a former Half Moon Bay resident who now lives in Marin, was also among the hardy souls who braved the cold saltwater.
“I love to compete,” said Bjork, 45. “These are good people and it’s a good time for a good cause. It’s a blast. I come back every year.”
Spectators oohed and ahhed at impressive rides and wipeouts alike as surfboards were raffled off and mugs and T-shirts were sold. One of the contestants was Christian Wadman, of Marin County, who competed in the 40-49 age group.
“The proceeds go to help our ecosystem,” Wadman said. “We need that to keep on surviving and to keep healthy. It’s a good community day to be together and enjoy being together. It’s fun to be here and to compete against guys my own age.”
Roy Earnest, who presided over the competition, was pleased.
“We had about 90 people in the contest, and that’s very good,” he said. “Normally we have about 80 to 83. Things have gone smoothly. It’s been a good time and we’ve had good waves, although it’s a little windy.”
Many of the competitors were middle-aged men like Hugh Gurin, of San Francisco, and probably relieved not to have to compete against 20-somethings with more agile bodies.
“This is the only place I can be called a kid,” Gurin quipped. “I’ve come to this almost every year. It’s good people and not much pressure and everyone kicks in. I spent two hours judging. This is the only place I see some of my friends all year.”
One of the female competitors was Krista Howell, of San Francisco, who co-produced the 2006 documentary “Great Highway” about the history of surfing in the Bay Area, including the famous Coastside surf spot, Mavericks.
“This is great,” said Howell as she prepared to load some longboards onto her car. “It has the aloha spirit, and it’s good for older competitors. It’s a lot of fun.”