2021 Master Blaster Contest
In the course of my bodyboarding life, which began back in 1979, I've had the privilege of traveling the globe riding waves and meeting incredible characters who became lifelong friends. Many of those people were right here in Southern California where I've made my home since 1987. Dave Long is one of those guys.
I first met Dave right after moving from the east coast. We met working many of the Morey Boogie contest series events up and down the coast. He and his dad Don were fixtures at these events, and Dave has remained committed to the sport for over 4 decades, like many of us from that era.
Dave wanted to take that long-term relationship with the sport one step further. He wanted to celebrate it, and what better time to do that than in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the Boogie? He and his now wife Trina concocted an event that would celebrate those that have been in the sport since Day One, and those younger riders who respected that history. The Master Blaster contest was born. The contest would feature 4 divisions: 40 and over, Vintage Boards, 17-and-under Groms and 13-and-under Groms. The Vintage Boards division required riders to ride a board that was at least 20 years old.
(Tim Tindall, Aaron Batula, Ron Ziebell and Dave)
Dave picked a location that wouldn't draw attention (to avoid permit red tape and keep the event low-key). Summer Beach, just north of Ventura fit the bill. He kept the advertising of the event under wraps, and just threw out invites to a small list of long-time foam jockeys and set the date for late April.
Dave and Trina worked for months garnering prizes, building custom trophies, buying snacks, and sorting out the heat assignments, and finally the day arrived. Many of the participants, who lived a couple hours or more away, booked accommodation and made a weekend out of it. Vicki and I went up Friday afternoon and enjoyed a little getaway.
The day dawned sunny and cool with a little south swell running and glassy conditions. "
(Morning heats weren't too shabby!)
We pulled up to the seawall and the good times began immediately. Yes, we were in the waning months of the pandemic, but everyone was high fives and hugs, stoked to see both old faces and new as we prepared to do battle for bragging rights, or laugh at our declining levels of fitness and flexibility. Dave and Trina had snacks and as you might expect with a "masters" division, plenty of Advil on hand for the old-timers. Nice touch guys!
(Long-time ripper and judge Matt Kitchen)
I won't get into the specific details of everyone's performances, with one exception- Ron Ziebell.
(Ron"dog" Ziebell blew minds!)
Anyone who's been a bodyboarder in Southern California for as long as most of us have knows that Ron was one of California's top riders during the 80s and 90s. He was known for being a versatile rider, ripping both prone and DK, and as one of the Wedge's best riders. Ron was a fixture wherever it was pumping, and then one day the Wedge took back it's pound of flesh. Ron got folded in half pulling into a barrel and broke his back, rendering him partially paralyzed in his legs. In recent years, Ron has gotten back out there on the smaller days, and showed up intent on giving his best shot and supporting the event. He went a bit beyond I think even his own expectations advancing through a few heats including making the Vintage Board final. He was for sure the crowd favorite, taking home the "Most Aloha" award!
South Bay legend Tim Tindall took out the "Most Seasoned" as the oldest competitor (beating me by 6 months!), and former SoCal sponger Nick Ashby roped in the "Most Committed" award for traveling all the way from his new home in St. Louis to participate. A few competitors were out for blood including Jeff "Whitesnoop" Brockman and Ryan "Urchin" Orr, though it was all in fun.
(Whitesnoop kept spirits high!)
Trash talk flowed freely in the water, on the beach, and in the judging tent, but the vibe was decidedly friendly. Everyone on the seawall cheered when a wave was ripped, and jeered when one was flubbed.
(Vicki was the lone female in the field of Masters competitors)
(I tried a backflip, but couldn't spin around the landing)
In the Vintage Board division, some absolutely classic boards came out of the woodwork and proved that old bodyboards never die...they just slowly disintegrate. And the groms showed a ton of heart in both the older and younger divisions with Adam Brower busting the move of the contest in my opinion with a backflip on a 2' onshore closeout that was a move only a 17-year-old could muster in those conditions.
(Adam Brower takes the win over Scotty Plowden in the older Groms division)
Dave himself, in the midst of running the event, managed to make the final in both the Masters and Vintage Board divisions!
Dave and Trina procured a cornucopia of prizes that resembled an Oscars gift basket with all sorts of goodies! There was even solid prize money in the Master's Open which definitely was unexpected! The real winner was everyone who came together after a tough year to celebrate our mutual love of bodyboarding, and a huge hearty thanks must go out to Dave and Trina Long for all their hard work to make it happen. Here's to next year!
(How's this killer custom trophy?!)
1. Jay Reale
2. Turner Harmon
3. Jeff Brockman
4. David Long
1. Steve Alexander (Mach 10)
2. David Long (Mach 7-7)
3. Randy Whitmire (Mach 7-7)
4. Ron Ziebell (BZ Barba)
GROM 17 & UNDER
1. Adam Brower
2. Scotty Plowden
GROM 13 & UNDER
1. Kenny Kuypers
2. Rhys Drueco
3. Kellan Flowers
4. Gianna Witt
All photos by Tom Prince.