They also surf who stand on waves


Longboarding has become a granddaddy of California outdoor pastimes. Short boarding, wind surfing, hang gliding, roller blading, snow boarding, street luge — all are permutations of sport made possible by improvements in synthetic material science since the ’50s. But longboarding led the way.

As a result, there were a half-dozen “Grand Masters” at Surfrider Beach Sunday with a combined surfing experience of about 200 years. (Sorry, guys, but count it up.) It showed, too. The waves were puny and sluggish, but these gurus could read the water and get up on dying swells that wouldn’t have supported a chubby seagull.

Definitely, the beach crowd at Surfrider was a distant evolution from the ’50s subculture of stylishly alienated teens sharing a mutual disregard for Frankie Avalon’s surfer profile. There were three generations of longboarders at the annual “Call to the Wall” surfing contest, hosted by the Malibu Boardriders Club. Clubs from Santa Cruz to San Diego showed up to compete at the prestigious event. Many groups pitched tents for the two-day affair, and family groups were everywhere.

Conspicuous at this event was the spontaneous cheering by the whole crowd for any contestant who performed with subtlety or grace, regardless of team affiliation. The event was a charity fund-raiser for the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. Proceeds will help to fund the “Day at the Beach” for children with cancer at Leo Carrillo State Park in September, also organized by the Malibu Boardriders Club.