Curran, Sarlo take top honors at 5th Annual Malibu Invitational

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1st place winner in the Pro Division Tim Curran. Photo by Blake Richards

On a picturesque weekend along the Malibu Pier, hundreds of beach goers flocked to the historic First Point at Surfrider Beach to escape the high temperatures across the Southland and watch some talented shortboard surfers compete in the 5th Annual Malibu Invitational. After two days of competition, Tim Curran won the Pro Division while Allen Sarlo won the Legends Division.

For Curran and Sarlo, it was the third win for each of them since the event began in 2007. Curran, 34, posted a 9.3 score on his second run in the finals to earn his third title. Quinn McCrystal finished second, followed by Nick Rozsa in third and Mike McCabe in fourth place of the Pro Division.

Sarlo, 52, had a solid semi-final and final round in the Legends Division as he held off a determined Donnie Wilson for the title. Gene Rink placed third and John McClure finished in fourth.

The event began in 2007 to help raise money for Lyon Herron, a surfer who contracted a rare genetic disease called Gardner’s Syndrome. This year’s event benefited Jimmy Gamboa’s TheraSURF Foundation, which takes children with special needs surfing, as well as Herron and Babette Ho, wife of Jeff Ho, who has been diagnosed with advanced cancer.

The theme of “blending generations of surfers to enrich and save lives” was supported by 64 surfers in the Pro Division and 48 surfers in the Legends Division.

“It’s a big community event helping one another,” co-organizer Pascal Stansfield said. “This event began out of necessity to help raise funds for Lyon Herron, who was ill fighting cancer. Now it’s turned into something bigger to where we help anyone who is ailing, needs money and needs awareness.

“The surfing was incredible and it was all for a good cause.”

During his successful surfing career, Curran was one of the best surfers on the World Championship Tour, consistently in contention for the world championship. He didn’t disappoint in Malibu as he posted an impressive display on his way to the title. Curran won a first place prize of $1,500, but donated it back to the TheraSURF Foundation.

“It’s been a great event. These guys are all buds of mine and we go way back,” Curran said. “It’s a beach hang and it was for a good cause. I love being down here. Beautiful weather, good waves and we got better waves than we expected.

“I felt good out there. I was in the right spot when Nick [Rozsa] was riding the wave and he said ‘go ahead’ and that was my best score. It came down to being in the right spot. There was a lot of good surfing going on and to be able to come out on top was a blessing.”

Surfrider Beach has become the personal backyard for Sarlo and his son, Colton, who both competed at the event.

“It was a great contest. Mother Nature brought us two-to-four foot, perfect surf,” Sarlo said. “I’m stoked that a lot of people had a great time down here in the sun in beautiful Malibu. We are so blessed to be residents of Surfrider Beach and the Malibu community. And my son did well, so we are stoked.”

The Malibu Invitational was hosted by Val Surf, Duke’s Malibu Restaurant, Freedom Artists, Sicky Dicky and Vans, while a local Malibu resident pledged to match every dollar that was raised at all the events around the 2011 Malibu Invitational.