As a surf fan, you’ve likely been watching professional surfing’s return via webcast of the World Surf League’s Australian Leg and the Ranch Pro. You’ve been on the beach for the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing and are hoping to paddle through the sea of Huntington humanity to do it again this summer. You voted for your favorite Vans Triple Crown and Red Bull Magnitude waves.
But here’s a contest that you can actually surf in…like, anyone over 16 can surf in Red Bull Foam Wreckers, and literally everyone is encouraged to sign up.
It’s called the “anti-contest” surf contest, simply because good times are the focus over the function.
“The whole soft-top movement is so fun, and the relatability of people surfing carefree is so appealing,” says Jamie O’Brien, “I feel like Red Bull Foam Wreckers is the coolest contest in the world, because anybody could win. It’s not about how good you are, it’s about how much fun you can have and how creative you can be.”
Foam Wreckers is a series of contests that will happen around the country this summer, where surfers have to ride soft-top boards assigned by the luck of the draw, and the judging rewards good times over great surfing. Stops include Wrightsville Beach, Kauai, San Diego, Pensacola Beach, Atlantic City, Virginia Beach, San Diego, Oahu, Cocoa Beach, even Bend, Oregon and the BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas that went down in May.
Each of the Foam Wreckers events will be a little different. Obviously, Oregon’s Deschutes River wave is going to provide a different platform than the beaches of Kauai. But before you surf, you will spin the Wheel of Shred to determine which board you are riding and then hit the waves with up to 10 people at a time. All ages and all genders will surf together.
Were you a local junior champ a few decades ago?
Just learned how to trim last year when you got furloughed?
And you never know who may show up for Foam Wreckers. Here’s a chance to beat a local hero or one of the pros. Possibly the coolest aspect is that athletes from other sports have been known to show up. Last year, Eric Koston and Bucky Lasek did their first ever surf events.
Soft-top surfboards have strangely become part of every surfer’s quiver in the past decade. Once thought of as strictly for beginners to learn to ride waves without knocking themselves unconscious or smashing someone else’s kneecaps, the surf paradigm has changed from a laser focus on performance to a broader scope that is more inclusive and often veers into the realm of silliness.
The event atmosphere is as much a celebration as competition with the afterparties, music, and possibly some adult beverages served with the energy drink. Catch Surf guys like O’Brien (J.O.B.), Tyler Stanaland, and Kalani Robb will be at various events as well as soft-top aficionado Ben Gravy.
J.O.B., considered one of the most high-performance surfers on the planet since he pushed his way through the trials into the 2004 Pipe Masters and won the event (that included Kelly Slater, both Irons brothers and Sunny Garcia) has become the poster child for the foamie movement, very publicly endorsed by Catch Surf, who is Red Bull’s partner in this event. His quest to produce his own content with entertaining stunts, skits and travels have made good use of the brand’s foamies and paid off for both the company and the ambassador. J.O.B. cruising an 8’6 through an inflatable rainbow gets as much love now as when he makes an impossible section at Backdoor. And while they’re all generally low performance, Catch Surf boards do ride better than some of the price-point brands.
With all of this, something once considered a pool toy has become extremely popular on every beach in the country. Soft boards are cheaper than traditional, making them the go-to for newcomers. Experienced surfers are putting their own children into waves on soft-tops simply because they’re safer, and realizing that in most day-to-day conditions at local breaks, it’s better to catch more waves than to struggle on a performance shorty.
The beauty of Foam Wreckers is that you never know who will show up. You might have a chance to best your local pro.