Now in its 28th year, the Memorial Day Longboard Club Invitational is riding into Steamer Lane May 26 and 27.
The event is hosted by the Santa Cruz Longboard Union, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the area’s unique surf culture while supporting charitable organizations that benefit the local community.
Contest director Waylon Olsen said that as of Thursday night, 180 riders had registered from surfing clubs all across the state. He hopes that by the time the contest kicks of at 8 a.m. tomorrow, they’ll have 200 surfers competing.
“One of the neat things about this contest is how long it’s been going on consecutively,” he said. “It’s open to the public and there is no admission charge.”
The best longboarders in California, some coming from as far away as San Diego, will be judged on the quality of the waves they catch and “what they do with them.”
However, in this contest, there are no grand prizes.
“This is all a fundraiser,” Olsen explained. “The main focus is raising money for Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services, an organization that aids families of kids with pediatric cancers.”
The Ride-a-Wave Foundation and the will also receive portions of the contest’s proceeds.
“We are hoping to hit $6,000-$7,000,” Olsen said. “Last year, we raised $4,500, so it’s a realistic goal.”
Booths and vendors will be set up along the Lane, including a local doctor offering free skin cancer screenings, an earplug company doing complimentary fittings and much more.
“If you’re just cruising along, there will be a lot of cool things to check out,” Olsen said.
Attendees can enter the “infamous” SCLU mega-raffle with the chance to win a slew of prizes, including one of 11 locally shaped surfboards. The boards—eight longboards and three shortboards—have been donated by companies like Pierce and Arrow and shapers like Doug Haut and Michel Junod.
“There’s a pretty good chance that if you are a random person walking down the street, you could win [a board],” Olsen said.
Best of all, tickets are only $2.
Tomorrow’s competition kicks off with the Menehune—14 and under—boys at 8 a.m. and runs all weekend long. The raffle prize drawing will be held 4 p.m. Sunday.
For a complete competition schedule, visit SCLU’s website.