Surfrider Foundation's 11th annual International Surfing Day included clean-ocean events all over the globe, but the Huntington Beach gathering was significant because it drew the San Clemente-based nonprofit's CEO, featured the collection of 116.5 pounds of trash and was capped with a Guinness World Record.
The record was for most people riding the same surfboard at once: 66! Here's a look from the sand and water:
And here's a look from Sam Bernal, using a GoPro camera from the board itself:
The footage won Bernal an instagram contest put on by Visit Huntington Beach. (Check out his instagram feed @sambernal.)
To accomplish the feat, Nev Hyman, founder of Firewire Surfboards, sent the design of pro surfer Michel Bourez's quad shortboard to a team of shapers who scaled it up 7.5 times.. At 1,350 pounds, 42 feet long and 16 inches thick, it's the largest surfboard in the world.
Ironically, Hyman and his pals had set the previous Guinness record of 47 riders on a 39-foot board in 2005 off Queensland, Australia. The following year, the same board carried 60 riders during the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, but no one had contacted Guinness to verify it so it was not considered a world record.
This year's new board was painted to be a replica of Hurley sponsored Huntington Beach pro surfer Brett Simpson. Pete “PT” Townend, the first world champion of surfing, is credited with being the main man who wrangled up the talent to create the board and coordinate Saturday's ride, which was co-sponsored by the City of Huntington Beach.
And, yes, a Guinness rep was in the water to count each rider as they go on the board. Among those riders was Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation.
“It's perfect that International Surfing Day is part of World Oceans Month,” Nelsen said before his ride. “The ocean covers over 70 percent of planet and is fundamental to life on Earth: It is a source of oxygen, regulates the Earth's temperature and provides a source of food.
“International Surfing Day is an opportunity for communities around the globe to come together and celebrate surfing and be reminded that we are all connected by the world's ocean and that it is our collective responsibility to protect it.”
More than 80 events will took place within the U.S. from Southern California to northern Maine. Besides the Huntington Beach event, the largest was expected at the Jersey Shore, at the original Ron Jon Surf Shop. So far, International Surfing Day events have brought together more than 1 million people to help clean up over 70 tons of trash and in over 30 countries, according to Surfrider.
The Surf City festivities were organized by the Huntington/Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Long Beach Surfrider chapters. Officials report there were 229 attendee sign-ins. Among the larger groups that participated were: Girl Scout Troops 15554, 3267 & 1745, Fedex Group, Downey High School, Kiwanis Club, Cal State Long Beach, Team Inspire, Team Ocean Lover, Interact Club, Lions Heart and Big Hero 10.
Of the 116.5 pounds of trash taken off the beach, 6.8 pounds were cigarette butts, according to organizers. The event also featured live music as well as giveaways of prizes donated by JetBlue, Firewire Surfboards, Baxter of California and SPY Optic.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.