Laguna’s own skims by the competition

Suzie Harrison

Hundreds of people showed up under perfectly-painted blue skies to

witness Laguna’s Mike Stanaland win first place in the professional

division of the Victoria Pro/Am Skim Contest Sunday.


“He’s like a power skimmer. He stepped it up this year, it was

really close,” said Sumner Miller, Victoria’s manager.

Laguna had a strong showing in the pros at the event held at Aliso

Creek Beach.


Bill Bryan finished second, George Bryan finished third, Brandon

Sears fourth and Grady Archbald rounded out the top five.

“It was really good for Mike. He’s always finished in the top but

has never taken first in the pros. A lot of people were surprised and

really happy at the same time. Last year he took fifth place, and for

his second

year turning pro and taking first place that’s awesome.”

Victoria Skimboards has held this competition for 26 years. The


event draws skimmers from all over the world to compete. The

competition had 100 contestants who competed in amateur and

professional events.

Local skimmer Ben Wright competed in the 8-21 division and placed


“Last year I got fourth. This is the biggest contest right now.

It’s by far the most competition,” said Wright.

Wright said he thought the waves were good for the first couple of


hours but said that they faded off with the tide getting kind of


He also gave his kudos to Brandon Sears for placing fourth in the


“It was good seeing all the Victoria team doing so well and seeing

Mike take first,” said Wright.

Others who left an impression were Jeffery Helfrich for the oldest

competitor, 50 -- the youngest was Jared Green, 6; best wipeout was

had by Hiroko Ishida; Jesse Westgaard had the best maneuver; best

barrel was forged by Tyler Stanaland and the Martin Prietto

Sportsmanship award went to Conley Ware.

Miller was confident in the Laguna guys being the best and was

glad his quote before the competition remained true.

“All the guys who are best in the world, every single one of them

are from Laguna,” he said.

* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.