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Surfing Laguna: Pros and groms mix in San Diego contest

Fresh off of his recent win at the Katin Team Challenge, Chris Waring of Seal Beach continued his competitive surge with a huge win at the San Diego Pro-Am surf event.

“I’m so stoked to surf in a local California contest with a lot of my friends and top pros like Timmy Reyes and the boys," Waring said. “I had a really good time today. The groms were ripping and the vibe was all around perfect; I’m excited about this series!"

However, Waring wasn’t the only competitor loving life, as the Freedom Series also featured “Family Divisions" where groms, women and masters duked it out for huge prizes.

Nine-year-old competitor Dagan Stagg from Carlsbad was so excited to be surfing with his hero Reyes that he almost missed his heat while the two were “hanging out."

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“I really enjoy surfing with the pros "” I can’t believe how good they surf. Watching them got me really excited to surf my heat!" Dagan said.

The surf was solid for the Ocean Beach Pier event, and although bumpy it provided plenty of scoring opportunities for the competitors.

Pro Finalist Micah Byrne shared his take on the quality of surfing at the event: “The waves did look a bit mixed up at times from shore but once in the heat there were definitely some clean sections. I can’t remember an event with so many solid scores from an ASP-trained panel of judges. Everyone was absolutely ripping on the pro side."

The event featured a family-style barbecue compliments of the fine crew at Vans and everyone gobbled to their hearts content.

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“There’s nothing more American than the Freedom surf comp and a delicious hot dog right off the grill," said Masters Division winner and Laguna Beach resident Bryan Jennings as he partook of an extra crispy dog.

“The vision for the event and the entire Surf Ride Pro-Am series is to provide a great California surf contest where pros and family competitors can come together and share a day of surf while providing for a worthy cause," said contest director Willy Williams. “The event raised $1,000 for the Camp Pendleton Kids Military Surf Club, so we feel it was an all around great day."

Here is the link to video of the competition, vimeo.com/9663181.

Check out Freedom.Surfride.com for Surf Series info.


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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