While in-person surf events remain unfeasible, the South Bay Boardriders Club has come up with a creative solution to share the stoke through a virtual competition.

Over the course of January surfers from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes, including members of the Samohi team, will capture their best wave on camera and submit a video to a panel of expert judges.

The top three videos in each category will be shared on the South Bay Boardriders website offering eternal surf glory for the winners. There are 10 categories designed to allow surfers of all ages and abilities to participate.

Organizers intend on hosting one online competition each month through May, and hope the series will reignite bonds between surf communities after nine months of surfing separation.

“The South Bay Boardriders surf competitions put down barriers between cities and brought kids together from all over the Los Angeles coast,” said SBBC Contest Director Matt Walls. “If we can’t have a contest on the beach, maybe we can achieve the same goal virtually.”

Surf teams are some of the only sports teams that have been able to continue meeting during the pandemic as the sport is outdoors and socially distanced by nature. However, for many months these teams have been practicing with no goal in sight.

The virtual series will give surfers an opportunity to showcase their skills and reward their hard work and dedication.

Although the fun of forging in person connections and the thrill of live competition is absent, Samohi Surf Coach and Surf Academy Director Marion Clark believes the online event comes with its own set of silver linings.

“A lot of the stressors that go with contest surfing are not a thing when you are submitting your best wave; you don’t have to deal with the anxiety and nerves that would go with showing up to an event,” said Clark. “I’m excited that kids who wouldn’t otherwise ever enter a contest can submit something that they are really proud of and can get feedback from some really amazing surfers.”

The Santa Monica High School Surf team has continued to meet this fall with health and safety precautions in place. Clark said it’s been an amazing outlet for them and that attendance at practice has never been better.

Clark said it’s been an especially important opportunity for the freshman who have yet to set foot in high school, but have been able to build friendships with their team members.

Walls hopes the competition will excite younger surfers and inspire children to spend more time in nature.

“I think it would be really cool if a young kid submitted a video and got to watch it be played on our website,” said Walls. “Maybe he can email a link to his grandma who lives in Ohio and she can watch her grandson surf for the first time.”

Clara@smdp.com