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Welcome To Project SOS
Actress Tanna Frederick set the pace for a new generation of non-profits with her visionary surf-a-thon, a marathon of surfing to save our oceans.
International Surfing Day Weekend marked several firsts in Huntington Beach. It was the first time the annual Project Save Our Surf: Surf 24 was held at the Huntington Beach Pier.
It was the first time Huntington Beach allowed surfing at the pier for 24 hours. It was the first time surfers got a chance to surf the pier alone, well maybe another 11 other surfers, but who was counting? The judges were counting.
The surf-a-thon, also known as the “Le Mans” of surfing, was a benefit for our oceans, a second home to surfers. The proceeds for Project Save Our Surf were evenly divided and donated to the Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay and Inside the Outdoors. The event raised an amazing $50,000.00.
The weekend kicked off Friday night with a star studded gala which included a perfect blend of Hollywood and surf industry celebrity, with stars like Frances “Gidget” Kohner, John Slattery (Mad Men), Sam Trammell (True Blood), Buttons Kalukiokalani and Judd Nelson.
The event was co-hosted with surf legends Peter “PT” Townend and Shaun Thomson.
Project Save Our Surf: Surf 24, a 24 hour surf-a-thon, began at 11:00 AM Saturday with all majesty of the ASP’s World Tour six star event.
The contest was a 10 team, 1 hour a heat, 24 heat surf marathon each team receiving $100.00US per heat for a total of $2,400.00 per team.
One team manager James Pribram, of Team Eco- Warriors, paid the $2,400 for his team and invited his friends to surf. The kickoff party was held at the Zimzala Restaurant in the Shore Break Hotel across from the pier.
A silent auction was held as well to raise money for the environmental agency. Donations from electric bikes to custom surfboard from Divinity Surfboards were included as auction items.
Saturday’s events included music bands, vendors and a screening of North Shore in the amphitheater with the director and John “Turtle” Philbin on board for a Q & A afterwards.
The surfers continued surfing through the night and into the next day in their respective heats. Some surfers pulled multiply heats for the teams. Just after dark Eli Vizolay took a heart thumping wave and shot the pier.
Paul Thomson, brother of Shaun Thomson pulled off some electrifying waves giving the audience a jolt of energy on each take off. Surfers turned a benefit for charity into a fully fledged surf competition with their eyes on being the first champions of SURF: 24.
Mary Osborne, Rachel Tilly, Tanna Frederick, Rabecca Wang and US Open of Surfing Women’s Champion Courtney Conlogue represented the finest in women’s surfing respectfully.
Mary and Rachel showed both style and grace in their longboarding techniques.
During the nightshift, the man on fire, Jesse Heilman from “Team Firewire” scored the highest wave total of the evening with 9.83 bringing his team closer to victory and the team prize, gold engraved Nixon watches for each team member.
Jesse won MVP and a gold watch for his performance.
Chuck Patterson dominated the competition Sunday morning in the SUP category. His wave choice and mastery proved to be golden by contest end.
Team Billabong won for best team performance.
The champions took home the bling. The team included Billabong’s best, ISA World Junior Champion Keanu Asing and Cody and Evan Thompson who kept everyone on the feet.
Chuck Patterson of “Team Eco-Warriors” took home the gold in the SUP category. Norman Ollestad of “Crazy for the Storm” took home the champion watch for best “celebrity” surfer with a best wave score of 9.00. Eco-Warriors would bring home to gold for the recreational surfers.