• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Since the mid 1950s, Swami's surf break in Encinitas has been at the center of Southern California surfing. The right point break, known for long rides and clean conditions, has carried some of the world's best surfers, from Rusty Miller in the ’60s to many of today's professional surfers such as Joel Tudor and Rob Machado. But last July, when Linda Benson, president of the Women's World Longboard Championship, proposed holding a four-day championship contest at Swami's on October 14 of next year, the world-class surf break turned from a center for Southern California surf culture to a center of controversy.

Debate in the community has swelled in recent months. Those opposed to the contest, which, if allowed, would be the first contest to be held at Swami's in 42 years, say the contest would set precedent and would entice other promoters to hold contests at Swami's. They believe the large crowds, the negative environmental impact to the delicate sandstone bluff, and the fact that local surfers would be banished from the break on those days, are all reasons the contest shouldn't be allowed.

The rising tide of emotions from those in opposition has led residents to draft a petition to prevent the city from granting a permit. So far, 290 residents have signed that petition. Their goal is to reach 10,000.

"What is the upside?" asks the online petition, before answering: "A promoter makes some money, and the City of Encinitas promotes tourism.... Stop surfing contests at Swamis -- for God's sake -- is nothing sacred?"

Linda Benson agrees the break is sacred. In fact, that's the reason why she wants to hold the contest at Swami's. Benson, born and raised in Encinitas, started surfing at Swamis back in 1955, when she was 11 years old. Benson acknowledges the concerns from those in opposition. She says those concerns are what prompted her to think up ways to ease the impact on the popular surf break and organize a contest that is different than most professional competitions.

"I knew that we have to do something totally different than any other contest has done in order to make this okay," says Benson during a November 6 phone interview.

Benson proposes closing the parking lot and routing cars to Moonlight Beach where fans can walk to the contest or catch a shuttle to a small festival at K Street. Other changes include using smaller scaffolds for the judges, placing flat screens on the grass area near the parking lot instead of using loud speakers, and anchoring a boat, equipped with speakers, outside the break so that contestants can hear the announcers.

In addition to those changes, Benson intends to donate some of the proceeds to the Keep A Breast Foundation and some to San Diego Coastkeeper.

"If this happens,” says Benson, “we [intend] to raise the bar to such a high caliber that most promoters won't want to hold a contest there unless they are willing to make the same types of changes."

To read the petition, go to thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-surfing-contests-at-swamis. To read Benson's proposal, visit thepetitionsite.com/86/support-the-womens-world-longboard-championships-at-swamis.

(Representatives from Swami's Surfing Association failed to respond to this correspondent’s request for comment.)

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

Russ Lewis Nov. 13, 2009 @ 8:37 p.m.

That comment's even better the second time, Fumbler.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 13, 2009 @ 9:53 p.m.

Fumber was recently spotted at the beach.

His mother, after much wheedling and promises of good behavior, packed the ice-chest and folding chairs, sunscreen, hats, umbrella, inflatable rings, and King James Bible for a pleasant day by the surf.

Fumber was excited. On the way to the beach he saw a big truck, so he pumped his arm up and down until the driver honked his horn. Then Fumber wet himself.

His mother expects this sort of thing, and long ago covered the back seat with plastic. So she drove placidly along, traffic stacking up behind her, until she found a parking spot in the lot with the bathrooms and showers.

Fumber pulled his mother's arm, pleading to go in the bathrooms first, but she knew from prior experience that he'd spend the entire day inside, hanging out next to the urinals and talking to strangers about Nazis. So she forced him onto the sand, kicking him in the pants as needed.

Once there, Fumber tore off his clothes. In his eagerness to get naked he caught his head in his t-shirt. Wailing and spinning, his arms tangled in the sleeves next to his ears, he fell to the sand. He kicked and squirmed, but his mother ignored him knowing he'd eventually figure out how to escape. Most nights it didn't take more than twenty minutes for Fumber to undress, and the troubles with t-shirts were nothing new.

Fumber finally made it into the water three hours later. Slathered in sunscreen, shorts pulled up to his armpits, he tentatively stuck his toe in the water. A small wave, barely a rivulet of foam, gently washed over his feet.

Fumber wet himself again.

He scuttled off sideways to the rocks and tidepools. There he found what he'd been dreaming of all year. His eyes scanned around, crafty, making sure his mother was reading her bible before he squatted in the water, and pulled down his shorts.

It was difficult positioning himself so that he kept his head out of water so he could breathe, making sure he didn't touch anything prematurely and ruining everything, and glancing around for his mom. But finally, he lined himself up, and gently, timidly, he pushed into the welcoming mouth of the sea anemone.

The tendrils closed over him, and Fumber gasped out loud, shut his eyes, and trembled all over. He let out a long low moan of pleasure.

"What are you doing, Fumber?!"

His mother.

"Not again! That's it. We're going home. It's back in the basement with you, Fumber!"

She grabbed his thick flabby arm and pulled. He didn't budge. Angry, she pulled again. Nothing. Then she braced herself, and gave Fumber a mighty yank.

Fumber wailed, fumbling at his puny genitalia, gasping out of pain and humiliation.

...well, you all know how it ended. Fumber finally got home, put a small bandage on his wound, sat down at the computer and wrote a comment on the Reader web site.

Fumber, we're all happy you're safe now. But please, could you stay off our beaches?

0

SDaniels Nov. 13, 2009 @ 10:23 p.m.

9 is a work of art! The public demands a Fred-and-Fumber blog!

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 9, 2009 @ 6:56 p.m.

Nov 10th - 7pm This Tuesday Swamis Surfing Association meeting with Linda Benson Solana Beach Rec Center above Pillbox (Fletcher Cove)

By yesyesNO

Can I bring my longboard????

0

TheLeucadiaBlog_com Nov. 7, 2009 @ 10:04 a.m.

Thanks for the coverage. The Leucadia Blog has also posted editorials on the issue and has included debate between promoters and opponents.

Some of the opposition to the contest stems from concern that Linda plans on monopolizing public property to make a profit. Opponents think the charity is a token effort.

Only now does Linda acknowledge the opposition. She made a huge mistake of not working with the local surf community before progressing forward. The chamber of commerce knew about this before guys and gals that surf swamis knew about it. That is going to make it much harder for Linda to sell the idea of restricting surf access to the surfing public.

The City of Encinitas can raise the bar very high and set the benchmark. The financial plan for the contest should be open to revue prior to the issuance of permits and the books open to public inspection after the contest. The permits for the contest should be issued competitively. That would ensure the bar was raised as high as could be sustained.

The graphic the Reader has posted could confuse people. Now, anyone can surf swamis at any time. If Linda gets her contest only the people she allows to surf in the contest will get to surf. The sign should say, "For Profit Contest Zone: General Public Not Welcome"

0

areaderofthereader Nov. 7, 2009 @ 9:25 p.m.

"The Leucadia Blog" would like readers to believe that women's longboarding is a highly profitable venture that has raked in a ton of money in the past and has the potential to bring in a profit for Linda Benson. Unfortunately, this historically hasn't been the case. And nothing has changed except the current economic climate bringing the possibility of even less. What opponents can't wrap their heads around is why an event like this would be run... it must be about the money! Right?

Women's longboarding includes one of the most unique groups of athletes on the planet. A group of women who have been marginalized, silence, trivialized and shoved in the backseat of surfing for a long time. The one thing that keeps these women coming back time and time again is the camaraderie we share. We love our events because they are a chance for all of us to get together, some of us who haven't seen each other in years, to celebrate our sport. Linda has become a huge part of this with us. In 2005 we asked her to run the Women's World Longboard Championships.

While men's shortboarding rakes in money in the billions and women's shortboarding's prize money lingers somewhere in the hundreds of thousands, our biggest event (the women's world longboard championship) totals a $30,000 prize purse. This may seem like a lot but let me tell you this... contest directors will stretch this prize purse for the ladies so that the many of us who have to pay their own plane ticket (very few sponsors pay women longboarders) can be reimbursed for their travels. The result is that those women who make it past one round of surfing are given money and the winner of the event makes only about $7,500. Money enough so she can pay for a couple more boards and some of her rent over the next year.

Perhaps "The Leucadia Blog" feels that he knows something we, who have surfed with Linda Benson for years, do not. Perhaps "The Leucadia Blog" feels that he is "protecting" us from an evil we cannot possibly know... and that our opinions must all be somehow not clear... that this man must have some privileged position that we do not share.

(cont.)

0

areaderofthereader Nov. 7, 2009 @ 9:26 p.m.

(cont.) "The Leucadia Blog" would like readers to believe that she didn't go to the surfer's at swami's to get the event... approved? blessed? ?? But she did. At the beginning of summer 2009, she approached the president of the Swami's Surfing Association with her idea. Though, in this readers opinion, this is an outrageous request to demand. We are a community, not a tribe who must go to its elders to ask permission before going to the City to get permits to run an event. Do marathon organizers go to each runner on the 101 for their blessing? Women don't need to ask permission to walk onto the grounds of Oxford and Cambridge anymore. This is the 21st century. We do things differently now.

As to the concerns the opposition has to the "token" charity contributions, the events Linda has run in the past have a history of charitable contributions, the most notable of which was, in my opinion, the $35,000 she raised for the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy which directly affected the beach she ran her event at.

"The Leucadia Blog"'s concerns are misdirected. This event has become a scapegoat for issues that have nothing to do with Linda Benson, women longboarders or The World Women's Longboard Championships.

Cori Schumacher Current Women's ASP representative 2x World Champion 2x North American Champion Spokesperson for Surf For Life (Surf For Life is a non-profit organization designed to connect surfers and non-surfers with community service activities to create impact on an international level.) www.surfforlife.org

0

yesyesNO Nov. 8, 2009 @ 6:33 a.m.

"If this happens,” says promoter Linda Benson, “we [intend] to raise the bar to such a high caliber that most promoters won't want to hold a contest there unless they are willing to make the same types of changes."

Attention Contest Promoters:

The bar has already been to raised to the highest level: NO CONTESTS at SWAMIS. The bar doesn't get much higher than that.

YES we support womens LB YES we support surfing contests NO CONTESTS AT SWAMIS

Have the contest at a location where we can all get behind the promoter's sincere desire to help KEEP A Breast Foundation.

YES Cardiff Reef is a great location YES there is a cross walk and a stop light & parking & bathrooms NO CONTESTS AT SWAMIS

YES There are numerous other locations available YES Hundreds will park in residential & cross the RR Tracks NO CONTESTS AT SWAMIS

YES many of us have daughters that surf in contests YES the city will lose the lawsuit NO CONTESTS AT SWAMIS

YES this is already a blackeye on & for womens longboarding YES this has become contentious & short sighted NO CONTESTS AT SWAMIS

Please, there is a reason the Swamis Surfing Association has never held a contest at this sight. It's because they love it.

Come to the Meeting - Solana Beach Rec Center above Pillbox this Tuesday night 7pm -

PUBLIC MEETING (because the City of Encinitas has yet to hold one & apparently never wanted one)

Nov 10th - 7pm This Tuesday Swamis Surfing Association meeting with Linda Benson Solana Beach Rec Center above Pillbox (Fletcher Cove)

0

or Nov. 13, 2009 @ 10:04 p.m.

re # 6/7 ".....there is no greater threat to beach culture than a few locals who try to impose their will on the rest of the "kooks" in the world....." It's quite obvious that you are not a surfer, fumber. As any surfer will tell you, at some spots, that IS the culture. I grew up less than a mile from Swami's; my dad and granddad taught me how to surf there and as such I think everyone should be able to surf there. If the promoter is willing to pay for the logistical support to ensure the operation runs as advertised, then go for it. As for locals not being able to surf Swami's during said contest, well, that's pretty much the case at any surf contest. In my years, I've never found the "locals only" attitude at Swami's, but the way some of these guys are talking........................

0

PistolPete Nov. 13, 2009 @ 10:22 p.m.

OH EM GEE!!!!!!! That was brilliant, Fred! As I sit in my apartment complex's jacuzzi, I'll be thinking of poor old Fumber's mother and the only hell she ever raised.(Great tune and the name of my next blog btw)

0

Fred Williams Nov. 13, 2009 @ 11:58 p.m.

Just back from Encinitas...and Fumber is RIGHT!

It was unbelievable. Swastika flags everywhere, dudes with piercings and board shorts goosestepping on the sand.

But what horrified me was the Leucadian liquidation camp. Those found to be "un-cool" are interned, ground into stew, and turned into bio-deisel by the environMENTALists.

The surf-nazis are growing more aggressive too. In the local papers there's great talk of absorbing Carlsbad into the greater Encinitas fatherland. Next, they have their sights on forcibly annexing La Jolla, where they claim their fellow surfers are oppressed. Analysts fear, however, that if Encinitas is not prevented from taking over this small far away land of which we know little, it might soon invade Rancho Penasquitos and Mira Mesa.

Mayor Sanders has agreed to meet with the Fuhrer of Encinitas to negotiate the fate of La Jolla, hoping to emerge with "peace, dude, in our time". Already though, local "dweebs", long persecuted by the fascist board riders, are packing their computers and star trek collections and emigrating to more tolerant places like El Cajon.

Fumber is right. We must face the Encinitas question face on. Will we stand still in the face of aggression and expansion from the Radical Reich?

Only former surfer Donna Frye, aware of the dangers, is speaking out. In a recent radio address she said, "We shall fight them on the beaches...."

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 14, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

Fumber wailed, fumbling at his puny genitalia, gasping out of pain and humiliation.

...well, you all know how it ended. Fumber finally got home, put a small bandage on his wound, sat down at the computer and wrote a comment on the Reader web site.

Fumber, we're all happy

Fumbler will never recover from that beat down.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 15, 2009 @ 5:47 p.m.

I take it back-Fumbler did recover......... a weak recovery, but a recovery none the less.

FW, youre up buddy.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 15, 2009 @ 8:23 p.m.

Sorry I can't respond to Fumber. No time. I have a whole truck load of surfboard waste and fecal matter to deliver to Swami's right away.

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close