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Surfing Laguna: Family surf contest at Ventura’s C Street

Competition was held on a recent Saturday in fun 2- to 4-foot surf with overcast skies at the top of the point at Ventura’s famous California Street, or “C” street as it has come to be known.

The boys’ division (ages 12 to 14) was out in the water first and it was filled with razor sharp surfing from heat to heat. The battles went back and forth between these groms all day, with the Ventura crew not conceding an inch to the Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego groms. The finals belonged to Ventura local Charlie Fawcett, who had a cool demeanor throughout the event, saying, “I know this wave, and I have a secret strategy to surfing this spot.”

Please share, master Charlie, what is this wisdom of which you speak? He narrowly defeated Santa Barbara neighbor Charlie Taylor, whose ear-to-ear grin indicated his stoke. Third place went to an in-form lad by the name of Max Allen, who resides in Palos Verdes and looked very smooth in the C Street peaks.

Next up was the newly created parent/child division. It comes complete with your own complimentary family therapists. The dysfunctional duo of Chris and Zach Williams from Laguna Beach managed to narrowly defeat Todd and Brennan Aubol of Carlsbad in a back-and-forth final that saw the lead shift several times.

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With just under a minute left and the Williams’ team needing a score, Chris paddled lazily into a wedgey right that offered just enough bend to complete his patented wounded seagull lip bash. Oh, good times.

The women’s division was the “feel good” heat of the day. The top three girls drove up together from San Diego while no doubt giggling about boys, music, texting and shredding the gnar! In a surprise upset, last year’s division winner Erika Cook of Lake Forest was taken down by the “other” Erica.

That would be Erica Tow of Oceanside, who connected on a rare left in the finals and managed to nail the lip with several merciless whacks. In third place was fellow carpool buddy Lauren Milner, also of Oceanside.

The super groms division is pure fun. These 11-and-under kids are so ahead of the game it’s scary, already surfing well and loving every second of it! When super dad Todd Aubol wasn’t surfing his divisions, he was found out in the water pushing his two Carlsbad groms into some fun peaks.

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His son Griffin was flying across waves and nailed third place while older son Brennan ripped his way to second. This heat was Peter Healey’s time to shine however, as the Palos Verdes local picked off several sweet A frames to seal a first-place finish.

The distinguished gents from the open longboard division had their work cut out for them during the final. Young guns from up and down the coast were gunning for the hardware with reckless abandon, which made for a highly enjoyable final. When the final buzzer sounded, Laguna Niguel local Scott Rodberg styled his way to third place.

Mellow guy and talented photographer Ryan Cardone of Woodland Hills drew some clean lines combined with nice hits to take second place. War horse and Lakewood resident Mike Stone took home first place with his ferocious frontside bashes and long multi-banger wave selections. Good job, Mike!

On the microphone throughout the event was funny guy Jarrad Williams. This young Texan kept everyone laughing with his super freaky vibes and weird music mix. Did I mention he rips? He won the all new switchfoot division and pocketed a cool $100. Jarrad was so amped about his new found mini-fortune he was seen moonwalking to his car after the comp.

Charlie Dentzel of Santa Barbara was second, and Austin Hall of Redondo Beach placed third.

The junior’s division (ages 15 to 17) is so fun to watch because the young guys rip super hard and have no reservations in their heats. If they see an air section they go for an air, a spot to do a floater, they do an air, cutback, no, air. These guys don’t land everything, but when they do the judges are giving them huge scores, so more fuel to the fire!

The finals were constant action, every wave that pulsed in was getting destroyed. Taking home third place was Tim Laney of Torrance, who was in the “zone” all day, seemingly “willing” set waves his way. Second place went to Hall, who picked off a couple of the bigger set waves that came through.

Said Austin on his heat strategy in the final, “I just tried to stay loose and fast and not bog.”

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Mission accomplished. Ripping his way to first was Santa Barbara local Charlie Dentzel, who had his family cheering section and bros hooting him on throughout the day. Charlie was soaking it up!

The appropriately named masters division (ages 25 to 34) featured guys from up and down our beautiful California coast. Taking third place is CSF’s favorite Frenchman, now of Encinitas, Vincent Duprat. The guy might be the happiest guy in town, always smiling and encouraging others even in heats.

In second place was uber athlete Brian Warren of Santa Cruz. Brian was ripping the whole event, winning his earlier heats and just narrowly missing the victory.

Paul Pugleisi of Oceanside was on a mission, we’ve seen the look he gets when he goes to work. He had that look in the final while ripping and shredding the waves down the point. Back on the beach he was his usual friendly self, even handing out swag from his sponsors to the groms.

The men’s open division is the cream of the crop at these events as far as talent levels go. It’s open to all comers who want to surf against the best guys in the contest. There are no easy first heats; some of the best guys get waxed quick in this division. This day was no exception as some of the regional standouts were sent packing.

When the finals rolled around it was Brian Warren of Santa Cruz with his second top-three finish of the day, doing what he does so well: consistently ripping! In second place was master’s winner Paul Pugleisi. Paul’s surfing in the final was clean and exciting, but last year’s open men’s division winner Chad Eastman managed to nab a set wave in the dying moments to steal the victory.


CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at chris@soulsurfingschool.com or (949) 497-5918.


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