On any given weekend you'll probably find our Oak Street surf crew loading up the van and hitting the coast, looking to participate in a surf contest.
This weekend we're headed south with a bunch of mini-groms (kids 10 and younger) to Ocean Beach in San Diego to shred the Christian Surfing Federation's Freedom Surf Series.
My son George, who's 8, is super excited to get down there, too, as he noted, "The waves are gonna be 2 to 3 foot and super clean. Dad, that's overhead for me."
The CSF is run by John Lindsley, who for the past 15 years has organized family-style surf contests with an easy going vibe that suits new surf competitors.,
Any sport can be intimidating, and surfing is no exception, especially given the constantly shifting playing field that is the ocean. John and his staff always take time to answer all the groms' questions and encourage them to have fun and surf well.
John offers a simple prayer of blessing before competition begins and keeps the mood light throughout the day as he works the microphone. He seems to never miss a ride or an opportunity to encourage a kid after a tough heat.
"These kids are getting a chance to surf and hang out at the beach with their friends. I'm stoked to be a part of the journey and look forward to sharing these memories with them five, 10 years from now as they grow up," shared the always soft-spoken John.
He pointed out that all are welcome, no matter what your beliefs may be and noted, "We aim to bring folks together in a way that is unique and beautiful."
Several of Laguna's top young shredders like Adam Mejia and Dane Zaranelli got their first taste of competition at the CSF comps and have gone on to be leaders with the Laguna Beach High School surf team.
For more information on the series, check out http://www.christiansurfingfederation.com.
CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached through his blog: souladventuresinc.blogspot.com.