The Line Up – A South Bay Surf Contest
By Susan Boensch
What do dolphins, donuts, and Wahine Kai surfers all have in common? Well, Saturday, May 4th, they all came together in South Bay for ‘The Line Up’ Surf contest. This community event, put on by the Redondo Police department, raises money for Wounded Heroes of America, Special Olympic Southern California and The Redondo Beach Police Foundation (RBPF). All levels of surf abilities are invited and encouraged to participate.
Five Wahine Kai surfers from LA/OC chapter accepted the challenge and entered as team ‘Wahine Warriors’. They gathered and stretched under the beautiful Wahine Kai canopy awaiting their 10 a.m. assigned heat to begin. They waxed their boards, donned playful Warrior face paint and set forth to compete for the coveted Golden Donut Trophy.
At 8 a.m. the horn blasted, and the initial heat of competitors ran into the waves, boards in hand. They abruptly stop paddling when surprised by a pod of dolphins swimming through their incoming break. A beautiful start to a fun event reminding us all that nature is in abundance on our beautiful California coastline. Even more impressive was a mere 30 minutes later when a gray whale rolled alongside the surfers right near the shoreline. There was an audible gasp among the spectators at this glorious mammal turning and showing off his amazing tail fin over and over. Even the contest announcer couldn't help but be distracted.
As the 10 am heat approached, the Wahine Warriors in their orange team jerseys prepared to head out one-by-one to compete against the other five other teams in their heat. Racing for the best waves, teams were allotted a total of 90 minutes for each member to catch a maximum of 3 waves. Despite suboptimal surf conditions of high tide and closeout waves that broke on the shore, the Wahine Kai members each rocked a prideworthy ride. The Wahine Warriors were privileged to have two female veterans join their team and member Liz Duffy gave an on-site surf tutorial and in water assistance to get these girls launched on their boards during the contest. Talk about team spirit!
Member Anna Rahlves was bumped to another surf team in the 10am heat. Her new team advanced to the finals and she gave some mind-blowing rides that made the crowds cheer. The final scores ranked the spirited Wahine Warriors team number 6, yes, that’s last place so they did not take home one of the Golden Donut Trophy awards. They did however fill up on free donuts and coffee, a hot lunch and were given colorful Surf contest t-shirts, stickers and swag. Even more, the Wahine Kai team shared laughter, gained confidence and bonded in an oceanic surf experience.
Sending inspiration and encouragement to any surf sisters out there willing take the plunge in upcoming competitions and challenges, even if you don't feel truly ready. It was great to have an all-female team in a competitive sport that is largely dominated by males. Thank you to Dinah Lary of the Redondo Beach Police Department for organizing this positive and welcoming surf event.