Photocap- The future of bodyboarding and their trophies

Bodyboarders pull off memorial tournament

by Jason Dietrich

The future of bodyboarding and their trophies. Chad Elliot was the Brian Press Bodyboarding classic’s top grom. Jacob Tebache won second and Gabe Sancisi took third place.

Pulling a rented van up to the end of Avenue C at 4:45 a.m. Saturday morning, Brian Press put his head in his hands and almost cried.

After two days of sunshine, the weather had turned nasty. It rained non-stop the night before the bodyboarding contest Press planned to hold in memory of his father. The wind was gusting at up to 30 miles an hour hard on shore and the van was rocking from side to side. As the sun rose, it shone a big black raincloud, low over the ocean, heading straight for the Esplanade. Despite the rainbow the combination produced, it didn’t look good for the 3rd annual Brian Press bodyboarding classic.

"But then I figured that this must be God’s way of helping me to build some character and persevere under adverse conditions," said Press.

But other than having to sandbag the tent lines, the mettle of participants and promoters wouldn’t be severely tested that day. The raincloud made a hard left, passing south of the contest site, and the sun came out to warm the 85 chilly bodyboarders and their supporters. The wind kicked up head-high surf, giving the bodyboarders enough of a wave to show off their skills.

Press, a former pro bodyboarder who won the 1997 BZ Bodyboards US Tour and was the 1992 Bud Surf Tour Rookie of the year, started the competition as a memorial to his father, who died in April of 1998 after a battle with cancers.

"He was like my teammate, always there to support me," Press said.

With the help his contacts in the surf industry and Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Church, he held the first contest in 1999, raising $3,200 for the San Pedro Hospice Foundation, which had cared for Marvin Press in his final days. This year, proceeds helped fund a summer camp for abused children supported by King Harbor Church.

"There’s not many activities that bring families together from the entire area. People come out and use the resources at the beach together, we raise money for a good cause and Brian is able to memorialize his father. It’s a win-win all around," said Chris Cannon, Senior Pastor of King Harbor Church.

Bodyboarders came from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Santa Cruz to try and out-surf each other in the ocean and compete for sponsor’s swag. Instead of a raffle, organizers held a hopping competition for a snowboard donated by San Pedro Surf Shop (the winner hopped for 11 minutes on one foot). A bodyboard went to the winner of an old-school rapping contest and whoever could ollie the highest on a donated skateboard got to take it home. The $40 entry fee also got participants a dinner catered by Good Stuff restaurants.

When the cards were scored, Chad Elliot won the title of top grom, a new bodyboard and a first place trophy for taking the top spot in the 13-and-under division. Jacob Tebache was second and Gabe Sancisi was third. The junior men’s division was won by Jon Scully, followed by Curran Hallen and Daniel Dorn.

The 18-25 division was won by Marcos Ravera, followed by Allan Ives, A.J. Kahahawai. Jason Elzinaka won the Old School Division for those 26 years old and older, with Shane Skipper coming in second, Todd Pearson third.

Tara Higgins came out on top of the women’s division. Monica Dell-Amore came in second and Natalie Rendon came in third. The drop knee division, where bodyboarders must rise to their knee on the board, was won by Jason Elzinaka, with Peter Eby coming in second and Sebastin Sloyian coming in third. ER