Surf Competition – Big Chill Out


PACIFICA – Saturday Oct. 4 at Linda Mar Beach welcomed a multitude of local spectators and surfers professional or amateur alike, to compete in the “Big Chill Out” Longboard contest.

Taking advantage of the recent heatwave, anyone headed south toward Linda Mar Beach past 9 a.m. could bask in the sun while virtually stuck in the hellish traffic on Highway 1. For a $75 entry fee anyone could participate and support groups such as “Pacifica Beach Coalition,” an organization that provides sponsorship and preservation of Pacifica’s coastal habitat amongst other environmental developments. The proceeds of this event also benefit “Surfrider Foundation,” “Ride-A-Wave,” and “Pacifica’s Environmental Family”.

Among the 2-3 ft. thigh to chest high waves, seeing an array of surfers of all ages ride out waves on a seemingly placid and tame day was nonetheless entertaining and impressive given many of their professional rankings and level of experience.

“My expectation is to have a relaxed, fun day but the swells could be bigger,” said contestant Kaira Wallis who surfed with Half Moon Bay High School, has been doing so for seven years and participates in surf competitions several times a year.

Although this area is best known for its marginal swells and treacherous rip currents, Saturday presented favorable conditions for surfers of all capacities.

“It’s the perfect day to start learning,” said Alan Yu, a surf instructor at Adventure Out, given the calm winds and fun, decent breaks all pointing to an optimal opportunity to test your ability as a beginner.

The way the competition works is that each contestant in a qualifying heat has 15 minutes in which the judges consider the best three waves out of four, subsequently the best four surfers advance to semifinals and so on.

“The point is for everybody to have a good time and all heats separated into divisions by age,” said Allison Barnhill a member of Pedro Point Surf Club.

“Flawless day, wish the waves were bigger but we have surfers from as far as Oregon and Malibu and this is the 23rd year of the event,” said Greg Cochran, president of Pedro Point Surf Club. In between raffles, food and merchandise stands, and clamorous announcers animating the crowd and narrating the relays.

“We have 120 contestants and an abundance of spectators from all over NorCal and we’re being supported by First National Bank of Northern California and Recology, really the contest is about raising money for ocean related non-profits,” said Cochran.

The Chill Out also honored Bill Pachett and Donald Goo, both long time surfers and friends to the Pedro Point Surf Club. Furthermore, sponsors such as Rip Curl, Billabong and especially GoPro, a company that started in Half Moon Bay, covered the event as a gesture to local sports. The event was a success and a tribute to not only Pacifica community but also to worthy local causes having raised over $50,000 over the 23 years that the Big Chill Out has been held.