By Justin Swanson | LB Indy
This weekend sees the return of the 37th annual Victoria World Championship of Skimboarding, now known as The Vic, held at Aliso Beach Park, 31131 S. Coast Highway, Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Touted as the “most prestigious skimboard contest in the world,” the Vic offers competition across 12 divisions, including professional men and women riders and amateurs of all ages. In total, there are 140 contestants catching waves this weekend.
The contest comes in the middle of the world circuit, antecedent to those in Delaware and Mexico and preceding future ones in North Carolina, Santa Cruz, and Newport Beach.
The Vic continues to be hosted and run by local skimboard manufacturer Victoria Skimboards, and Kyle McClure, general manager of Victoria, says there is a lot to look forward to in this year’s contest.
“The pro’s are stacked so it should be really fun, and there’s some serious young guys looking to throw their talent around,” McClure says, adding that the professional women will be counting points toward their circuit.
McClure notes some of the changes in the process of judging this year’s field. In a 12-minute heat, riders can run for as many waves as they can, but scores are based on the best three waves, down from five of year’s past. McClure says this change will yield more selectivity by riders.
The Vic draws international entrants. Riders trek in from around the U.S., as well as from Japan, Chile, Australia, Portugal, the Philippines, Spain, and Mexico. During their stay in Laguna, some out-of-town contestants were put up at the Aliso Creek Inn, a sponsor of the event. McClure says they would not have been able to have the event without the Inn. To accommodate fans from around the world, The Vic will be broadcasted in a live stream online.
This weekend’s forecast calls for swell heights of 3 to 4 feet Saturday, and 2 to 3 on Sunday with a building south swell.
“The beach should set up well for the contest area,” says McClure. Though, for the riders, he adds, “it’s the luck of the draw with waves. It you hook up with a swell, it’s like the stars aligning. It’s pretty fun to watch.”
McClure has his eyes on returning professional riders Morgan Just, Matthieu Thibaud, Sam Stinnet, last year’s defending champion, and Teddy Vlassis, dominated by locals.
Vlassis, 20, is coming off his first professional victory, coming in first at this year’s Cabo Classic. Vlassis, a lifelong Laguna resident, has been skimboarding for a decade, and he notes the heightened competition for The Vic, in the birthplace of skimboarding, as where “the best of the best from around the world come to compete.”
“It all comes down to style and timing,” says Vlassis with the adage that it takes being in the right place at the right time to procure victory.
Vlassis says that, should he reach the finals this weekend, he plans on busting out his early wooden skim board to complete his competition.
After the end of the contest Sunday, the celebration of skim culture continues with a world premiere film screening of the Tenth Street Bro’s “Crunch Time” at South Coast Theatre, 162 S. Coast Hwy, at 9 p.m.
The film is a compilation of footage from across world of recreational and competitive skimboarding taken over the last year. The cost is $7 per ticket presale, and $8 at the door. The screening is open to all ages.
Following the film, Tight Rope Entertainment is hosting a party at Ocean Avenue Brewery, 237 Ocean Ave., for guests 21 and up. There will be a performance by reggae stalwarts, the World Anthem band.
Those spectators going to The Vic should take note of parking fees at Aliso Beach ($1/hour), on both sides of the highway. Free trolleys will also be in service.
Photo by Tom William