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Showing posts with label Featured Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Featured Stories. Show all posts

Bianca Mitchell, founder of Ocean Goddess Surf, is the guest on the newest Salted Spirit Podcast.

We posted our 2019 Venice Surf-A-Thon Contest Coverage last month, but it lack the official result and the awards party photos, well we finally got the official Venice Surf-A-Thon results and awards party recap, directly from the VSAT official himself, Ger-i Lewis. Here it is: The 26th annual Venice Surf-A-Thon Surf contest was once again a rip roaring success!

The surf cooperated as well as the weather also! The day began with 2-4ft glassy peaks and scattered clouds with just enough coverage to keep the glare down for the judges. The contest hosted 43 men, women, and children. Ages ranged from 5 years old to 67 years old. The contest raised $1,734.00 for MLD Christian Charity School Mucas, Mindanao in the Philippine Islands. 14 competitors were granted financial hardship waivers. 9 competitors were international competitors.

Masters Division
1st Place - Eric Weis (USA)
2nd Place - Steve Shelp (USA)
3 Place - Brock Myreux (USA)

1st Place - Rickson Massie (USA)
2nd Place - J.Packham (USA)
3rd Place - Uchu Jin (Japan)

Jr. Women
1st Place - Stephanie Wise (USA)
2nd Place -Marly Kay (USA)
3rd Place - Mimi Sullivan (USA)

Senior Women
1st Place - Almudena Soria (Spain)
2nd Place - Nicole Lynch (USA)
3rd Place - Natsumi Ota (Japan)

Mens Division
1st Place - Cole Sweeny (USA)
2nd Place - Mariano Romero (Argentina)
3rd Place - Pablo (USA)

Jr.Mens Division
1st Place - Bradly Kay (USA)
2nd Place - Ben Cohen (USA)
3rd Place - Nathan Cosworth (USA)

Longboard Division
1st Place - Norm Antonio (USA)
2nd Place - Ari Ari (New Zealand)
3rd Place - Brock Myreux (USA)

Body Surfing
1st Place - Nathan B (USA)
2nd Place - Rick Massie (USA)
3rd Place - Mike Wood (USA)

Most Outstanding Surfer Award

Most Radical Move Award
Mimi Sullivan

The 26th Annual Venice Surf-A-Thon Surf Contest Award Show, hosted by The Sidewalk Cafe featured KOZ from Kyoto Japan singing dance hall and reggae inspired songs to the delight of the crowd. Cognitive Dissonance (former Suicidal Tendencies member) got the crown fired up and DJ Jacques kept the vibe up in between sets. Finally Col Klink closed out the show with their set of inspired and enthusiastic crowd favorites as the surfers rocked and rolled into the night.

Thank you sponsors, competitors,volunteers and participants one and all!

These Award Party Photos were shot by Heidi Lemmon, check out about 50 more party photos in this photo album:
Venice Surf-A-Thon Awards Photo Album

For all the contest surfing photos, check out contest surf photos gallery:
2019 Venice Surf-A-Thon Surf Photos Gallery

December was a good month for waves at our local spots and we got a ton of surf photos from a bunch of days at a couple of surf spots, from Venice up to Malibu.

Below is the list of Surf Spots with the days we got photos for during the entire month of December. Each link will take you to the page with a few surf photos and at the bottom of those photos there will be a link to that photographer's gallery where you can find all the surf photos for that day (many times there's well over 100 photos to check out). Most of these photographers offer high-res downloads and prints for sale.


Secos - Tuesday 12-3-2019


Topanga - Saturday 12-7-2019
Topanga - Saturday 12-7-2019 Video
Topanga - Monday 12-16-2019
Topanga - Thursday 12-26-2019

Venice Pier

Venice Pier - Sunday 12-1-2019
Venice Pier North Side - Saturday 12-14-2019
Venice Pier South Side - Saturday 12-14-2019
Venice Pier - Venice Surf-A-Thon 2019
Venice Pier - Tuesday 12-24-2019
Venice Pier - Christmas 2019
Venice Pier - Friday 12-27-2019

Wanna see last month's Photo Gallery Recap?
Click November Surf Spot Photos Recap

The 26th Annual Venice Surf-A-Thon was held on Saturday, December 14th, once again taking place at the Venice Pier. The contest is a grassroots local tradition that has evolved from a mentorship gathering for youth beset by gang violence to an inter-generational celebration of community. The contest has been a labor of love for it's founder Ger-I Lewis.

Ger-I founded the Venice Surf-A-Thon in 1993 after returning home from military service.

"I wished to do something for the children , young adults and the community in general that is fun and has a positive influence on everyone." says Ger-I. "For sure back in the day the contest was edgy as so was I! Instead of handing out trophies at the beach like most contests, I incorporated the awards party to give everyone a chance to shine. Inviting local talent as well the bikini contest was also a strategy to enhance and create a Venice culture showcase. Well times have changed and folks have mellowed, the bikini contest is no longer a part of the event as many of the original contestants are grandfathers now! The event has a generational community expectation and Surf-A-thon has taken on a family atmosphere. Many world class surfers, celebrities, have supported and donated to The Venice Surf-A-Thon including Mimi Miyagi, Peter Destafino, Perry Farrell, C.R. Stecyk, Danny Trejo, Robert Trujillo (of Metallica), Noah Budroe, Chris Ward, Tonan, Tina Cheri, DJ Muggs, Kid Frost, and Beow├╝lf. Moreover the contest has provided a an opportunity for surfers to get a start in competition surfing."

These contest photos were shot by Six12 Media.

Custom trophies created by Brock Mayeux were passed out to all the winners later Saturday night at the Awards Show.

So who won what? Not having attended the awards show, it was hard to track down the official results from anyone. But here's what info we did gather: Stephanie Wise got 1st for the Women with Nicole Lynchie getting 2nd, Ricksen Massie got 1st for the Groms, one of the Packham kids get 2nd. Ricksens's pops Rickie got 3rd in body Surfing. Eric Wise won 1st in something, so did Cole Sweeney (since we can tell from theese screen shots grabbed from Elisabeth Fried's Instagram Stories.

You can find 100 more surf contest photos, all full size and in high-resolution, in this photo gallery:

Venice Surf-A-Thon Photo Gallery

The “Maiden” departs Los Angeles’s Marina Del Rey Harbor on the next leg of their round-the-world voyage. The All-female crewed vessel is sailing with the mission of raising awareness for gender equality and providing education for women around the world.

Inspired by their mission the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division staffed the first ever all Female Rescue Boat crew to escort the Maiden out of Marina Del Rey Harbor on November 2. The 2 crews shared experiences and talked of challenges they have faced working in predominately male workplaces.

The LA84 Foundation announced Friday that it has awarded $1 million in grants to Southern California school-based and community youth sports organizations.

The grants are intended to serve nearly 30,000 children involved in 16 sports across seven counties, and benefit various organizations and programs.

The LA84 Foundation’s grants will help with field refurbishment for improved playing conditions and increased safety for participants, as well as coaching education and supporting the expansion of sports opportunities for young people with physical disabilities, the foundation said.

“We are inspired by program leaders, parents and coaches from throughout Southern California who are continuing to push to close the ‘play equity gap,’” said Renata Simril, the LA84 Foundation president and CEO. “Working with these organizations to ensure that structured sports are available to all kids, regardless of where they live, their ability level or their family’s income, is a critical part of growing the movement for play equity.”

The grants include:

— For A Walk on Water , which serves four counties including Los Angeles, a $15,000 grant to provide surf therapy to children who have a disability

— A $25,000 grant for Pools of Hope of Los Angeles will fund their adaptive swim program for lessons and one-on-one therapeutic swim lessons
AJ Dungo is an illustrator from Los Angeles that just published the new surf-themed graphic novel In Waves

In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.

Originally set as an art school project centered on the life of surf pilgrim Tom Blake, “In Waves” grew in scope as Dungo learned about the dignity of men like Blake’s close friend, Duke Kahanamoku, in the creeping face of the commercialization of Hawaiian surf culture. During this work, Kristen, Dungo’s girlfriend and a fellow surfer, was tragically taken away by osteosarcoma—a type of cancer that develops in the bones. Ultimately, Dungo felt compelled to thread his research, art, and grief into the 400 pages of “In Waves”.

Dungo illustrates these stories simply and honestly with clean line drawings that feel at times like a cross between Andy Davis and Raymond Pettibon. And while “In Waves” packs an emotional punch, Dungo avoids sentimentality and is careful not to miscast the ocean as some soppy metaphor for salvation. The book seems to argue that life and death are what they are, and riding waves is no shortcut to health or happiness—it can, however, provide momentary escape, a temporary shelter, a kind of peace. As Dungo states, loss often leaves us alone “with only water to comfort.”

Steve van Rees recently caught up with Dungo to discuss his work.

Why Tom Blake? What is his connection to the story you are telling?

One of my final classes was dedicated to making one project that we would take with us to London. The class was taught by two amazing teachers; Clive Piercy and Paul Rogers. Paul is a veteran illustrator and Clive was a legendary designer who was responsible for rebranding Roxy in the early 2000s. The two teachers compiled a list of famous figures that made an impact in Los Angeles. Both teachers knew I was starting to obsess over surfing and suggested I explore Tom Blake’s life and contributions.

Like me, he’s an outsider to the sport. He is a loner, like I was when Kristen passed away. Stories of outsiders are ones that I relate to, especially in relation to the subject of surfing. Surfing to me has always seemed like a sport of privilege. It requires expensive gear and easy access to the ocean. There aren’t many minorities populating the lineup at my local beaches. I always feel like the other when I’m in the water. When I learned that one of the leading pioneers of the sport was an outsider, it was a revelation. It was validating to learn that I wasn’t alone.

Most importantly, he had a relationship to someone that mirrored my relationship to Kristen. That person was Duke Kahanamoku. Tom revered and respected Duke the way I felt about Kristen. Duke pushed Tom in ways unbeknownst to him the way Kristen has sent me on this trajectory after her death. That idea where a chance meeting could change your life is the reason I decided to focus on Tom’s story.

In the book, you suggest that surfing—even just watching it—had an impact on Kristen. Can you tell us about that?

The last couple of years of Kristen’s life were when her love for surfing really started to burst and bloom. Her surgeries and treatment were so frequent that any time away from a hospital was impactful, especially at the beach.

When she was well enough, she would throw a waterproof casing over her prosthetic leg and paddle with us. She would spend time with us in the water and the joy she experienced from a single day would leave her glowing with stoke for a month. I remember after going so much the metal in her prosthetic was rusting and filled with sand. It got so bad that she had to use a hammer to slam against the button that releases the leg from the sock she wore around her stump. She was hardcore and it filled us all with pride.

When she wasn’t feeling well enough to surf, the next best thing was watching her brother, cousins and I paddle out. I think toward the end of her life those moments were quite meaningful to her. She enjoyed watching us progress, but the simple fact that we were together meant so much to her. Although, surfing had its negative effects as well. Sometimes she would feel left behind when we started to go out more and more and she was unable to keep up. But more often than not, as long as she was included, she was happy.

Can you tell me about Kristen’s surfing?

I wish I knew more about her style. She had been an avid surfer before I met her, long before she was diagnosed with cancer. I know she was regular footed. By the time that I watched her paddle out she had a prosthetic leg and only half of her lungs intact. Before I knew her, she surfed a thruster and was super athletic. When I would surf with her, she was so weak that to witness her paddle and get to her feet was mind blowing. All I can say is that she was fearless.

Many of your line drawings are sparse, only colored in a single color. Why did you take that approach with your illustrations? And why are so many faces hidden?

I definitely employ an economy of line in my work. I try to only illustrate what’s necessary which results in sparse images. Line quality is an important feature to me, stylistically speaking. It requires a focus and sensitivity that resonates with me.

The reason for the two colors delineating each narrative was that it was a way to ground the reader in the timeline they’re reading. Sepia was a pretty obvious choice for the past narrative as it is reminiscent of old, fraying film, and I picked blue for the present because of that color’s connotation to sadness.

The hiding of the faces was something that sort of gives certain moments a bit of privacy and distance. I think I was doing it unknowingly, but I remember a lot of those memories that way. It wasn’t until you and others commented on it that I really tried to figure out why I was drawing those scenes in that fashion.

What kinds of reactions have you gotten from the book? From the surf community or cancer community?

Reactions have been overwhelmingly generous, heart wrenching and deeply personal. I think the subject matter elicits a very specific reaction to those who can relate. It’s become a global affair, which blows my mind. The book has been translated to a number of different languages and those publishers have been releasing the book to their countries the last few months. Each time they come out in a new country, I get flooded with messages from booksellers, teachers, surfers, skaters, artists, mothers, fathers, every category of person you can think of. And they’re all so kind and touching. I am absolutely floored by its reception because I was writing about something so specific to my life and Kristen’s life that I figured it would just have a small niche following. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The surf community was one that I was very intimidated of. I walked into this project with utmost humility for real surfers, real surf writers and the community that exists and has existed for hundreds of years. Because who was I to have a say about this subject? I was and am so new to this that I feel unworthy to have a voice in the conversation. I understood that I was handling a story that didn’t belong to me, one of great magnitude, so I approached it with sincerity and sensitivity. I was just trying to tell people about surfing as I’ve experienced and learned about from much more reputable sources. But again, to my surprise, surfers from all over the world have been some of the most receptive.

The cancer community has also had the same reaction to the book. Kristen’s mother has been ordering books by the box load and has been hand delivering them to all of the hospitals that Kristen was treated at. She’s hand delivering the books to her favorite nurses, doctors, social workers, anyone who helped Kristen out along the way. Each of them has been incredibly moved to see her immortalized in this way. Many of the hospital’s pediatric units now have the book on their shelves in their libraries for the children suffering from the same affliction as Kristen. My parents are nurses and have been doing the same. They order books and give them to fellow medical professionals as gifts. Some have reached back to me and have told me they plan on using it to teach medical students how to deal with oncology patients. It’s all so bizarre and beautiful.

If there is one thing you want readers to take away from the book, what is it?

Life is short, don’t take what you have for granted, and make the most of it.

In Waves is available now on Amazon.

Untamed Daughters is an event experience, conceptualized by Changing Tides Foundation and GrlSwirl, to bring together untamed, unconventional and adventurous women for a day of community, environment, action sports and empowerment.

This was the first-ever Untamed Daughters event which took place in Venice beach in the summer of 2019! Some of the special guests and attendees included: Rochelle Ballard, Elena Hight, Lex Weinstein, Sian Hurst and Laura Thornhill Caswell.

The event would not have been made possible without the support of Rothys , Vuori, Marine Layer, GoPro, Mizu, & The Butcher's Daughter. Huge thanks to all the sponsors who donated to our goodie bags and to the day as well: Boz Tea, Zola, ClifBar, Leus Towels, Aloha Collection, Simply Straws, Avasol & Summer of Surf. Thanks to our after-party sponsors Juneshine, Lone Wolfs , Carver, Big Daddy's Pizza, Dersu, King Archie Band & Winter.

Edit: Devon Steigerwald
Photos: Jessica Whitehead