Gallery 1 by Ken Pagliaro
Check out more of Ken’s work at his website.
Gallery 2 by Swell Lines Mag
Check out more of Ken’s work at his website.
On March 28, 2017 Pipeline was taken over by some of the best bodysurfers on the planet for the North Shore Lifeguard Association’s annual bodysurfing contest. The NSLA carried on the 40+ year tradition of holding a Pipeline bodysurfing contest for the original surfing tribe. Due to the late-season holding period, the surf isn’t always classic pipe conditions, but this year contestants took advantage of a beautiful day and overhead swell. Mike Stewart was able to take down another title in the talented field. Three very talented photographers provided us with a comprehensive gallery of stoke. Please contact them for prints and enjoy.
Oceanside Pier- Saturday Aug. 20th 6am:
Local buoys read 6ft. at 16 seconds from the SSW. The beach on both sides of the Pier quickly filled with tents and bodysurf fins as an international contingent prepared to kickoff the 40th Annual World Bodysurfing Championships.
Competitors ranged from 12 to 75 years old and from California, New York, Hawaii, Brazil, Australia, France and Britain. They discussed strategies and the inevitable, dreaded current. Solid south swells tend to create strong longshore currents at open beachbreaks like Oceanside. The contest weekend certainly had plenty. Competitors on the south side started their heats 200-400 yards down the beach, expecting the strong drift. Some heats saw numerous competitors wash through the Pier. But the surf remained good to very good throughout the entire weekend.
With Team Kaha Nalu Hawaii making the trip, the unexpected appearance of Mike Stewart, first time contestants from around the world and California’s best…the overall level of bodysurfing was extraordinarily high at the 2016 WBC.
On Saturday night, Swell Lines hosted an event at the nearby Spring Hill Marriott. Tim Burnham screened his fantastic documentary “Dirty Old Wedge” to the delight of the crowd. They laughed, gasped, cried and sat on the edge of their seats. We also planned to honor Viper Surf Fin inventor, Fred Simpson, for his contributions to bodysurfing and the World Bodysurfing Contest.
After the movie, we called a panel of seminal bodysurf figures to the front for a question and answer session. Including Fred Simpson, Mark Cunningham, Mike Stewart, Tim Burnham, JT Nickelson, and Teddy Bandaruk. For us here at Swell Lines Inc, the opportunity to bring Fred, Mark, Mike and an international crew of bodysurfers together to celebrate bodysurfing and the Ocean was a dream come true.
Somebody asked Mark about bodysurfing Teahupoo. “Eh there’s just too much water moving for it to be a great bodysurfing wave.” Mike sharply interrupted, “It’s a perfect bodysurf wave. So much potential.” We all see the Ocean a but different, but certainly Mike’s perspective is especially unique.
Next, Scott Hubbell honored Fred for his years of dedication to the WBC with a beautiful ceramic bowl lined with breaking waves. Tim Burnham gave Fred a one of kind, gold plated Viper Fin plaque. Then an older gentleman rushed to the stage, took the microphone in an impromptu moment of honor. He introduced himself as a friend and former coworker of Fred’s at Xerox. He told the story of Fred’s revolutionary Wedge bodysurfing style. Apparently, in the late 60’s, Fred was rushing through the Xerox offices, slipped on the floor, his necktie then caught in a filing cabinet, one of his hands reached out to break his fall and his other hand formed the now classic chicken wing from his hip. “The Fred” was born.
Men’s Age Group Winners:
12-14 Alexander Makshanoff
15-17 Dylan Biggerstaff
18-24 Cole Margo
25-34 Alexander Vicente
35-44 Matt Solomon
45-54 Mike Stewart
55-64 Mark Cunningham
65+ Jim Isaac
Women’s Age Group Winners:
12-17 Lauren Padilla
18-29 Makena Magro
30-44 Scotti Shafer
45+ Briguette Wiedemeyer
Men’s Grand Champion
Women’s Grand Champion
Team Champion (7th straight)
*Special thanks to Tim Cassinelli, Scott Hubbell and their crews for an excellent contest!
When we first heard that Team Kaha Nalu Hawaii was traveling to California in late August for the World Bodysurfing Championship, we immediately crossed our fingers for swell. We hoped that for all competitors traveling to Oceanside. We wanted to show off our home break.
After a slow start to August, a bump showed up on the long range forecast and sure enough the weekend of the contest saw one of the best swells of the summer.
Here is their perspective on the contest and their time in Southern California.
Team Kaha Nalu founder Sean Enoka:
“This year, the World Bodysurfing Championships really changed my outlook about the whole thing. There is always talk about it being more of a swim contest, and that the waves aren’t good or whatever. But this year there was highly challenging but very good surf, and by the time it narrowed down to the finals it was very clear that the talent level was world class, and ALL of the competitors in the finals were killers…and are in shape.
I think that this year the name World Championships fit the bill because people showed up from all over the world. France was in. Brazil was in. Australia in. California and truly bodysurfers from all over the world. I sat and watched some of the finals on Sunday and it was super impressive how hard everyone was working to get the victory. This year was awesome and I’ll definitely be back in years to come.
We just got lucky with swell and hopefully we can get blessed the next time. On a personal trip, I was disappointed that I didn’t make it out of the first round, but the current + cold + beach start and 15min heats did me in. But I got a chance to surf the North side of the pier and figure it out a little.
But for the contest itself, I think that all of the organizers and volunteers were awesome and it was a great contest. But I would change a couple of things like having the judges view from the beach, water starts from designated buoy markers, electronic scoring, and some other production stuff but mainly where you start and what the judges can see. I watched Kai’s heat start right as some sets were rolling in and by the time some of the guys made it out, there was like 9 mins left in the heat! I think the judges are really overloaded and view from the wrong angle. They can’t see anything once you pass them or if you are riding away. Plus, they have to write and look away for that split second that someone could be doing something incredible. Of course bodysurfing isn’t the NFL with replay, but I think that the number of competitors and world title designation justifies a bit of an upgrade. The back to back heat starts and early starts at 6:30am are just necessary in order to process that many people and it goes like clockwork right on time.
We were so lucky to arrive just at the same time as a decent Southern hemi swell. Thursday Wedge was about 2-4 and fun sized with the side wave working and then Friday got a little bigger and the main peak was working. It was great to all be together with the Wedge Crew and also the Frenchmen. That wave is definitely one of the best in the world for bodysurfing.
Team Kaha Nalu teamrider Kanealii Wilcox:
The contest was amazing! Things that really stood out to me include how many people it draws annually from all over the world and how efficient it runs with 370 competitors in 2 days. The bodysurf community never falls short of top notch camaraderie with everyone sharing the stoke.
Team Kaha Nalu teamrider Keali’i Punley:
The WBC was a great experience and a blessing to be a part of. Coming from Hawaii, we are not used to used to cold water. To be honest, I had a difficult time breathing and getting used to a full wetsuit. So I had to adapt and adjust. Fighting the strong current in just a 15 minute heat was hard but we managed. But we know our ability and what we can do on wave. When we got on set waves we ripped them with style. I learned a lot during my first time at the World Bodysurfing Championship. It was great uniting with bodysurfers from all over the world at one location and seeing different styles and techniques.
Not sure who it is, this guy caught this one wave all the way to the Beach Park. Shot at Pipeline. Sure he was stoked.
Larry Russo is a legend. He’s always smiling. Larry pulled out this cap from his car he said it was Team Hawaii bodysurfing hat back in 97. He was stoked that day, we scored good Pipeline.
I shot this photo of Todd at Pipe on a crazy day. Only a few people were out there. The conditions were dangerous, strong currents and everyone was getting sucked over to Off the Wall. We saw this set coming and I remember yelling at Todd “Gooooo!” That was an easy 8ft Pipeline set. After this wave, Todd came over to me and told me that he ate shit mid-wave and had the best, worst beating of his life and took the next 2 waves on the head. Pipeline is no joke.
Todd is one of the elite watermen. He’s always out at huge Pipe and Rockpiles. I have always looked up to him. I do beach workouts with him every Friday, that guy has so much endurance and he’s a world-class swimmer. I shot this photo after he got second at the lifeguard bodysurf contest. He’s very comfortable in the ocean.
Point Panics is my favorite wave on the South Shore. I try to go bodysurf more during the summer. That’s Kaleo dropping into a fun one from the outside, he knows that wave like the back of his hand. Make sure you don’t drop in on him and bring no surfboards when you come down to Point Panics.
Kaleo is a wave magnet. This guy is all about bodysurfing and good times. I love taking pictures of him. Kaleo always makes sure the boys get enough waves and let you catch some waves all the time. Uncle takes care. I shot this after we had a fun session at Pipeline. There was about 50 people in the water that day. We got out of the water and I shot this photo of him. Shot this on black and white film.
Point Panics. This was shot on the biggest swell of the year at Point Panics last year, not sure who he is.
This was late season this past winter. I saw Uncle Mark bodysurfing Gas Chambers and riding all the way to Pipe. I saw him get out of the water and asked him about his session. He was stoked. There wasn’t many people in the water that day and snapped a few photos of him.
When Pipe is super crowded Pupukea sandbar is perfect with only a few people, it’s a really fun wave.