Ocean Beach to Host Professional Surf Contest

"Pedal Hard," an #OBPic from jweiand on March 6

On Sunday morning, the Association of Surfing Professionals announced that it will host a professional surf contest at Ocean Beach in the fall of 2011.

The news broke via the popular surf website surfline.com, which indicated that the contest will be contained to a portion of Kelly’s Cove, from Stairwell 20 in the south up until the end of Kelly’s Cove.

Because of the unpredictable nature of waves, the contest does not yet have a confirmed date, but is instead set for a window of time, from November 1-11. This is generally a time of the year when conditions favor good surf.

The surfline.com article quoted Dylan Slater, the marketing director for Rip Curl, the corporation sponsoring the event, as saying:

“We wanted to show a different side of the Search. If you look at the six different locations over the last six years, there’s such a variety of different types of waves. San Francisco brings a whole new dimension to the Search: The World’s Best Surfers vs. the Elements — cold water, sizable surf, beachbreak. And that time of year gives you a good chance for offshore winds. Plus the unique energy that the city brings will make this event a very distinct part of the Rip Curl Pro Search legacy.”

The news has already prompted some mixed reviews from the local surf community, and social networks are abuzz with the various reactions. Bob Guerin posted on the Ocean Beach Surf’s Facebook page “I can’t wait to play hooky from work and see how the pros get er done!” On the same page, Mark Massara sarcastically wrote, “This will be hilarious & memorable. Welcome to SF boys.”

The reasons for excitement are obvious. It is a rare opportunity to watch some of the best surfers in the world compete on your hometown waves. But such an opportunity comes with many concerns, like possible over-crowding of the waves, as well as the impact on local businesses. Andy Olive, a San Francisco surfer, summed up the mixed reaction, as quoted in the surfline.com article. “People are kinda into it ’cause it’s happening, but no one is stoked that it’s happening.”

One major question is how the contest will impact local surfers. There are no opportunities for local surfers to compete in the contest, something that Ocean Beach surfer Jaimal Yogis laments. “I wish we had some locals in the contest to cheer for,” explained Yogis. “I don’t know a single person here who really follows pro surfing closely, so it would get the local community pumped up if we had some hometown heroes to support.”

One of those hometown heroes would have likely been Alex Martins, a Brazilian surfer who lives on Ocean Beach, runs a surf repair shop, and competes in the annual Maverick’s contest. When asked, Martins had no real concerns with the contest, instead referencing his curiosity to see how the pros would perform. “Ocean Beach is always challenging when it’s big, and then there are not many guys out [in the water],” explained Martins. “I hope they get a really good, sizable swell for the contest, because it will be interesting to see the world’s best dealing with those conditions.

“Those conditions” refer to some of the notorious natural conditions that make Ocean Beach such an enigmatic surf spot, especially the very challenging water currents. Across Twitter, Facebook, and surf forum sites like StokeReport, the most consistently referenced concern about the contest is the currents.

“If the currents are ripping like they often are around that time [of year],” Yogis indicated, “we’ll have guys down at Quintara by the end of their heat, so I don’t know how it will be for spectators.”

Yogis couldn’t help but to include some of the pride in their community that many surfers are voicing. “I really hope that if it’s giant, [local surf legend] Dog Renneker will paddle out to yell at the pros, then snag the wave of the day.”

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8 Comments

  1. id feel much better about my self if kelly couldnt make it past the white waters at ob. when its +10ft getting past the constant pull back of 7ft white waters is nearly impossible. also when its that big the water is mushed all over the place so not only is it hard to get past the walls but your knocked over by waves coming from your left and right

    id understand if kelly slater didnt show up at all and went to surf somewhere else like hes done in previous competitions

  2. Well, hey I’m looking forward to the Ocean Beach contest. I’m looking forward to clogging up YOUR freeways, snaking on YOUR waves, and snatching up YOUR hot girlies for some out-of-town fresh strange tailhook.

    I’ll be the guy grabbing sacks full of swag from the jaded sponsor tents, drinking dozens of Monster beverages at the free booth, and smuggling ganja onto the beach for a mello toke, before watching Kelly destroy, just as he did down here in HB.

    Make sure all you super-gnarley NorCal bros and Sheilas come down to HB next summer for our contest, it’s the biggest surf contest in the world. HUGE free concerts, tons of freee swag, sexy barely legal models, tweaking latina bitches from the I.E., hot MILFS, and our HB pier break is world famous!

    PADDLE OUT, it’s not just a gay bar in the TL….

  3. We are mobilizing and every effort will be made on a grass roots level to have the permits revoked or stopped for Rip Curl. The corporate surfing media and marketing agents have decided that San Franciscoʻs Ocean Beach is ripe for commercial exploitation. Not only this, but during the event residents will again be inconvenienced with a giant circus of an event. There will be no parking at the beach for 12 straight days; other local surf spots will also be inundated with friends and other surfers associated with the tour. On the one hand no access and then on the other you are looking at raging crowds of happy or very unhappy surfers. Jaimal is obviously part of the namby pamby retro boho chic boutique – writes- a book about zen as surfing and calls it cool. Not cool. More surfers does not equal more sales…
    I hope we can count on your signature when the petition comes around.

    Signed – BVB
    … you know where to reach me.

  4. Why is it that angry, hateful extreme environmentalists like to spew their nasty remarks and hide behind phony names like “4OCEANS”? Why not man up and put your real name out there as I did? Based upon your terse, ideolgically driven remark, you obviously don’t believe surfers, swimmers, joggers, beach walkers, volleyball players, sea shell collectors, fishermen, kite fliers, equestrians, sail-boarders and many other active recreationalists have any business being at Ocean Beach either. Nice! Please take your head out of the sand and look on a map. This is a densely populated urban area and Ocean Beach is our playground.

    • OK, gentlemen: This is the point where I come in to remind both of you, before we go any further, that you are expected to be civil here. It’s time for a deep breath or two. Strong differences of opinion are welcome, but personal attacks (among other kinds of uncivil behavior) will not be tolerated.

  5. Why is it that dog advocates can’t resist subjecting the rest of us and nature to their incessant lobbying at every possible opportunity, no matter how irrelevant? Go away Rocky Golub and take your dog with you. Beaches are for nature and passive recreation, not professional dog walkers profiting while the shoreline and native wildlife get degraded and overrun by domestic animals.

  6. I am hoping that the surfing community will join forces with us in an effort to keep Ocean Beach open to all types of recreational pursuits including off-leash dog walking under voice control per the well negotiated 1979 Pet Policy. We have always supported the surfers as we believe the GGNRA, with “recreation” in its very name and in its enabling legislative mandate, stands for recreational opportunities for ALL of the stakeholders at OB. First it will be us. Then it will be the surfers. Next will be all humans who are banned. Please check out the long and the short board of it at http://OceanBeachDOG2.home.mindspring.com and please take the time out to comment on the DEIS. Thanks in advance for you support! –Rocky (Director, Ocean Beach DOG)

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