An unidentified bodyboarder gets locked in Sunday at the annual Earth Day Contest, sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation


The 7th Annual Surfrider Earth Day Surf Contest

by Mike Purpus

"Check it out. The sun’s out. The surf’s up. Joe has got to be smiling down and loving this," said John Featherstone at the start of the 7th Annual Earth Day Surf Contest in El Porto Sunday morning.

An unidentified bodyboarder gets locked in Sunday at the annual Earth Day Contest, sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation. Photo by Ray Vidal

A chilly, offshore wind was whipping the tops off clean, five-foot tubes generated by Saturday’s storm.

Featherstone was the Joe ‘Dr. 360’s’ roommate, the event’s long time announcer and this year’s honoree. The Marine St. local and big wave rider gained international attention three years ago after a failed ocean suicide attempt. He was suffering from terminal cancer and subsequently died in an auto accident.

It was breaking on the outer banks with a good reform on the inside. The cream of the high school surf teams were all there.

John Joseph Jr., John Balk, Mike Siordia, Sean O' Bryan, Jamie Miestrell, and Kelly Moore were just a few hot standouts. They were up against local veterans Darrell Dickie, Mark Johnston, Reese Patterson, and Scott Johnson and many more.

Favorite Chris Bredesen couldn't compete due to an eye infection. Chris Bredesen Jr. just passed the Los Angeles County Lifeguard test and couldn't compete because of a training exercise. That left Scott Bredesen to uphold the family name, which he did admirably, winning several heats.

Once again the Surfrider Foundation did a great job organizing the event, which sold out with over 100 entries.

Tents were set up and good food and plenty of outstanding prizes were given away to a crowd of about 500. South Torrance surf coach John Joseph ran the heats on time to the minute.

The first heat saw regular footers Darrell Dickie and Steve Wilson against hot goofy footer Tim Fergeson. It was close until Dickie ran to the nose, popped his fin out of the water and slid into a 360. Dave Paquin hung ten toes and arched his way beautifully down the set waves face.

John Joseph Jr. had his work cut out for him, competing in the bodyboard and longboard divisions. He was great. In his longboard heat he was blazing left on the nose. He's perched on the tip hanging five. He pulled his fin out and spun all the way to complete a 360 on his brand new Jacobs. In the next heat Joseph Jr. was out ripping on a bodyboard. He must have surfed in eight heats by the end of the day.

Mira Costa Surf Team Captain John Balk was one of the smoothest surfers in the contest. Every ride was all the way to the beach with hot nose rides in between. Reese Patterson looked unbeatable in the longboard division, doing explosive 360s on several set waves. Sean O'Bryan cruised through every heat looking smooth and working every wave to the beach. All three of these noted long-boarders did very well in the shortboard division, too.

Palos Verdes senior Ken Nakazawa also really surfed well. In the shortboard Reese Patterson and Scott Johnson looked like twins. They matched each other, turn for turn, in the earlier heats. That young shy and thin Jamie Miestrell exploded off the lip and landed a backside floater for a 9 out of a possible 10 on my score sheet. Spenser Parker flew down the line doing coaster after coaster until he finishes with a backside 360.

When the girls and the bodyboard heats went out the local non contestants tried to take over. The best spot was a riptide next to the sandbar. The locals wouldn't stop surfing through the contest area. One bodyboarder had only two waves and needed a good third wave to advance. A minute before the end of the heat he picked up a good one. A non-contestant took off behind him and jumped on the bodyboarder’s back halfway down the wave. Another shots his board at Reese Patterson.

John Joseph was really upset. He had a contest permit for that area. Lifeguard Roddy Williams said he couldn’t do anything. Joseph called the police. An hour later the Baywatch lifeguard boat came through and ran the local kooks out of the area. The finals went off in exciting fashion, without further incident.

Results: Longboard: 1st - David Schaefer 2nd - Reese Patterson 3rd - Mark Evans 4th - Johnny Joseph 5th - Daryl Dickie 6th - Dave Paquin. Shortboard: 1st - Spencer Parker 2nd - Scott Johnsen 3rd - John Roberts 4th - John Balk 5th - Andrew Valentine 6th - Tom Lusk. Womens: 1st - Tina Handly 2nd - Alisa Eischer 3rd - Kelly Moore 4th - Emiko Hoshino 5th - Mira Wilson 6th - Jennifer O'Hearn. Bodyboard: 1st - John Diaz 2nd - Johnny Joseph 3rd - Jeb Law 4th - Jared Vallas 5th - Ian Nicholas 6th - Sergio Ramirez. ER