Melina Seider is all smiles after competing in her heat.
by Amy Brown
Ventura is known for its beautiful beaches, its active lifestyle, and its sense of community. These attributes were wonderfully combined in the recent 34th Annual C Street Classic surf contest. The weather was perfect, the waves were good, and 146 competitors participated in 15 different divisions, for both bragging rights and prizes. It was all for a great cause, as approximately $5,000 was raised in the event, and will be donated to local surf, marine and environmental non-profit organizations.
The contest has become the longest running officially organized longboard contest in the country, according to the Ventura Surf Club, host of the event. Andy Sassen has been a member of the Ventura Surf Club for 11 years and has served as its President for nine. “The contest is a fun way to raise money for local ocean related charities. I’ve been doing it for a lot of years and never even surfed it. It‘s great just volunteering at a nice day at the beach, and watching really good surfers,” said Sassen, who shared that, of course, the contest can be greatly influenced by the quality of the surf conditions. “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, but we do the best we can. The contest was great success, the waves and weather cooperated, and the best part was all the smiles!”
The competition began at 6:30 am and went through the late afternoon, and included a wide range of ages, with divisions aligned with the standard gender and age groups of the Coalition of Surfing Clubs, according to Bruce Douglass, a founding member of the Ventura Surf Club, and the announcer for the event. Melina Seider, an 11-year-old, competed in the shortboard finals for girls ages 15 and under. The event was her first official surf contest, although she started participating in the sport at the tender age of three, riding on the front of her dad’s board. “I was pretty excited to paddle out today, although I was almost more nervous about the rocks than the competition,” she shared. Her parents and brother were in the audience, cheering her on. “I could hear my parents, telling me to go out further if there was a set coming in, and that helped, too.”
Ming Hui Brown has been surfing since she was 9 years old, and, like Seider, started competing at age 11. The C Street Classic was one of the events that started her competitive surfing career. She now competes in women’s longboard divisions (ages 18-35), and placed first in her division for the third year in a row at the C Street Classic. She also served as a judge for the other divisions at the event. The competition featured 15-minute heats, with each surfer allowed a total of six waves judged—on style, wave selection, length of ride and controlled functional maneuvers. To keep things safer, the event had “Predator Patrols” out on jet skis beyond the break, to be on the lookout for any aquatic animal friends that might interfere with the competition going as smoothly as possible.
“It is an honor to be able to judge my peers in the surfing community, and seeing them perform is extremely entertaining,” said Brown. “Having to judge multiple surfers on different waves and in different areas is another challenging part of judging a surf competition. Having fluidity and grace when transitioning through tricks on a wave is an important aspect I keep in mind when judging.”
Any relevant non-profits interested in being considered for a grant from the Ventura Surf Club’s funds raised by the event can contact the club at email@example.com.