Over the weekend of August 27-28 - as Teahupoo was going richter over the horizon – the 5th Annual Malibu Invitational went off in chest to head high surf with beautiful surfing, perfect conditions, and all around great vibes and babes.
More than 60 of the top professional surfers (who weren't in Tahiti) gathered with top Malibu Legends to compete in two- to three-foot surf - at a wave that is considered one of the best two- to three-foot waves in the world.
The Malibu Invitational has established itself as an end-of-summer institution bringing together great surfers for good causes. "The contest began as a benefit for Lyon Herron," said contest organizer Skylar Peak, “a local grom who was suffering from a rare disease and needed both financial and, more importantly, spiritual support from our local community."
Herron was stricken with Garner’s Syndrome (familial colorectal polyposis), a potentially deadly disease that forms polyps in the colon and throughout the body. The Malibu Invitational ran for three years to benefit Herron in his fight - then he passed the contest on to THERAsurf in 2010.
THERAsurf is, "a diverse collective of parents, professionals and members of the surf community committed to the belief that there is healing energy in the power of the ocean." THERAsurf volunteers take special needs kids into the ocean to benefit from that positive energy: Better living through surf stoke.
The Legends heats were loaded with names like Steven Lippman, Allen Sarlo, Mark Richards (the Val Surf guy, not the Australian), Andy Lyon, Ryan Addison, Dale Rhodes, Jeff Higginbotham, Ian Warner, Mitch Taylor, Gene Rink, Morgan Runyon, Jay Riddle, Angie Reno and Ricky Schaffer.
While professional surfers Tim Curran, Anthony Petruso, Jordan Tappis, Jesse Faen, Colton Sarlo, Pascal Stansfield, Danny Fuller, Nick Rozsa, Mike McCabe, Quinn McCrystal, Benji Weatherly and Nathan Carroll competed for a $1,500 first-place prize.
It was a long, hot weekend on the beach at Malibu, as temperatures in the Valley soared to 110 degrees, and the whole world came to the beach: "It was insane," Skylar said. "Not a cloud in the sky, dolphins on the horizon, four guys in the surf and everyone having a good time."
The weekend kicked off at Duke's Malibu on Friday night where contestants, friends and family gathered for food and drinks, a silent auction and a live performance by cover band Rude Boy.
While First Point Malibu is more known as a longboard wave in the 21st Century, going back to the 1950s and 1960s, Malibu was the cutting edge laboratory as surfboards evolved from 11-feet and 100-pounds, to the lighter, faster, better turning Malibu Chips designed by Matt Kivlin and Joe Quigg: "If you look at the history books. Malibu is the birthplace of hotdog surfing," said Legends winner Allen Sarlo. "In the 1960s when Miki Dora, Lance Caron, Johnny Fain and the best surfers of that time were taking their style of performance surfing to Waikiki, then back to Malibu, and evolving hotdog surfing. Malibu is one of the homes of performance surfing, and it was great to have a shortboard contest where everyone could come and show their talent."
There was talent of every description at Malibu Inn on Saturday night, which was the place to be for a mid-contest party, featuring DJ Mike D of the Beastie Boys and DJ Eddie Ruscha spinning some classic reggae. Contest strategy went long into the night, as guys with early heats had to regulate, while the surfers in later heats went until past the witching hour.
Timmy Curran also performed live and tore the house down, but that didn't effect his surfing performance as he was on fire for quarters, semis and final on Sunday: "On Sunday in the afternoon as the tide dropped out," Skylar said. "Some sets started rolling in and the exchanges in the later heats were some of the best competitive shortboard surfing at Malibu in the last 10 years. Guys were posting eights and nines."
Allen Sarlo agreed with that: "We were lucky because the surf had been flat for a week and we somehow got surf over the weekend: two to four foot and perfect. The waves were great, and in our final, Gene Rink, Donnie Solomon and John McClure were all competitive. We had a great time. It was great this benefited THERAsurf and Lyon and Babette. Lyon is doing so well now. I was surfing in Hawaii with him last winter. That's the great thing about the surfing community is everyone is looking out for each other, and making sure they're healthy and having a good time."
In the end, it was 2X defending champions Timmy Curran (Pro) and Allen Sarlo (Legend) winning their divisions again – making them both 3X Malibu Invitational Champions. Both champions whole heartedly contributed to this weekend’s festivities and in the end Timmy Curran donated his entire winnings to his champions Babette Ho, Lyon Herron, and THERAsurf.
RESULTS OF THE 5TH MALIBU INVITATIONAL
August 27-28, 2011 at First Point, Malibu.
1. Timmy Curran
2. Quinn McCrystal
3. Nick Rozsa
4. Mike McCabe
1. Allen Sarlo
2. Donnie Wilson
3. Gene Rink
4. John McClure