Joe Surf: Beach, surfing event for Down Syndrome

HealthBaseballLos Angeles AngelsHank CongerNew York Yankees

Former Angel Rex Hudler's and his wife Jennifer's foundation, Team Up for Down Syndrome, is partnering with the International Surfing Museum to put on an event called "Surf's Up For Down Syndrome" on Feb. 3 at Sandy's Beach Grill and on the sand on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

The Hudlers first became involved in raising money and helping families who have been affected by Down Syndrome after their son Cade was born with Down Syndrome in 1996.

The event will have beach and surfing activities during the afternoon and in the evening a cocktail hour, dinner, silent and live auctions and live music. Proceeds from the event will benefit housing, health, education, job training, family counseling and other causes for families affected by Down Syndrome.

Huntington Beach High graduate and current Angels catcher Hank Conger, and former Angels pitcher Mark Langston also will attend the event as well as surfing stars Lisa Andersen and Danny Nichols.

I got to know Hudler as a player and then a broadcaster with the Angels when I was a beat writer covering the team. And I can't think of anyone who exudes more passion for what he believes in than Hudler.

Hudler's enthusiasm was always a source of enjoyment for his teammates and the media alike, and even though he was primarily a utility player during his major league career, he was a great athlete.

He was a speedy wide receiver in high school in Fresno and signed a letter of intent to play football at Notre Dame, but chose baseball instead when the New York Yankees drafted him in the first round of the major league draft. And he was always quick to point out that he was selected ahead of Hall of FamerCal Ripken Jr.

He played every position in the majors except pitcher and catcher, and also played a season in Japan.

For tickets or more information on Surf's Up for Down Syndrome, go to http://www.teamupfordownsyndrome.org.

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The third and final contest in the ASP World Juniors Championship is set to commence this weekend at Gold Coast, Australia, but there has been a major twist in the run for the title.

Australia's Davey Cathels, who is tied for first place in the points standings through the first two contests, injured his ankle and now may not compete. That opens the door not only for co-leader Caio Ibelli of Brazil, but also for a couple of local surfers.

Newport Beach's Andrew Dohney enters the contest in sixth place and Santa Barbara's Conner Coffin enters in seventh. For Cathels, potentially missing out on a world championship is a major blow, especially considering the contest is being held in his own country.

"I was having a surf at home and landed funny after doing a little reverse," Cathels told Australia's Surfing Life. "I've been around to a few (doctors). They've figured out it's a high ankle sprain and are not sure if it'll be right the time the contest starts."

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Remember the name Frankie Harrer.

Harrer, 14, set a National Scholastic Surfing Assn. record for single-season victories on Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier when she won both the Women's and Girls finals of the Southwest Conference Explorer event.

The victories were Nos. 30 and 31 for Harrer, who is from Malibu, breaking the previous mark of 30 held by Kanoa Igarashi and set in 2009.

There are plenty who see big things ahead for Harrer, and one of those is Janice Aragon, the NSSA executive director.

"Not only has it been exciting to witness Frankie's momentous run to make history, it has also been great to see how much she has improved with the experience," Aragon said in an NSSA press release.

"She has unquestionably stepped up her game this year through the knowledge and skill she has gained to perform in a variety of surf conditions. And clearly she is not going to stop at 31. There are still multiple events left in the season to build upon her achievement and with the way she is surfing, there will be many more to follow."

JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at joe@juvecreative.com.

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