Fall is a brief season for Southern California. The first part of it sort of gets blended into the end of our summer. The groms go back to school, the weather gets hotter and the offshore Santa Ana winds start howling down the canyons. Things get dry and crackly, allergies rage, fires burn on the hillsides and west combo swells combine with the offshore conditions to create what some call "our real summer." But this summery part of autumn is short-lived. The later parts of the season fade quickly into cold, thin-aired winters with big, dark-watered north swells. That time is coming again. And aside from winter surf conditions, California also gets its snow season. Many of us surfers turn North and East to the rugged mountain ranges of California in search of powdery slopes and colder climes.
Every year, Surfside Sports helps Orange County kick off the snowy season with a huge, over-the-top event in their parking lot on East 17th Street in Costa Mesa. For 16 years now, the event has ushered in the annual shift in marketing and merchandising that takes place in the action sports industry, as well as provided the area with a big community event to mark the change in season. It will be the third year at the store's current location.
In the early years, says owner-operator "Duke" Edukas, people were bringing in truckloads of snow and that kind of thing." Now, he says, the shop has espoused what he calls "more of a carnival atmosphere."
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Called the "Surfside Snowboard Carnival," the event includes a preseason sale focused on snow-related gear in the store, as well as a blow-out sale of last year's winter inventory in the parking lot out back. In these difficult economic times, snow-goers will likely find some killer deals. Free food is also a well-known attraction at the event.
The coolest thing, though, has to be the raffle at the end of the day. With a ton of giveaways--including free snowboards, lift tickets and season passes--this part is what gives the event its excitement. It only costs 25 cents to enter, and after paying their quarter, contestants can stock up on as many raffle tickets as they want by winning the numerous carnival games offered in the parking lot. Best of all, all the proceeds from the carnival games go straight to local charities.
"We always get a huge turnout, and everyone is stoked!" says Duke. " Representatives will be here from all the major companies...several snowboard pros and legends always show up, just to hang, or to sign autographs. This is a 'don't miss' event for everyone...One day, I hope we'll shut down 17th street for this."