Billabong’s Cosmic Creek Festival Gets Groovy

It was the perfect picture of Southern California Seventies soul: high energy tribal contest, kids painting a psychedelic wall of art, hot sun beating down on a sheltered cove, and waves pouring through to the rhythm track of Sly and the Family Stone.

The night before Laguna Beach had turned Seven Degrees into a hippie loving, late sixties rave-up /be in, complete with funky and fabulous guitar art exhibit (by some of SoCal’s finest) and a concert by Billabong’s own Donavon Frankenreiter and friends including Five Summer Stories icons Honk and other musical friends. Artists like John Van Hamersveld, Wolfgang Bloch, Art Brewer, Herbie Fletcher, Jay Alders, Kevin Short, Daniel Chang, and Timmy Patterson put their artistic magic on each of the guitars and ukuleles in the exhibit and the sales went to the Surfrider Foundation local chapter. Killer Dana Surf Shop along with Honolua Surf and Von Zipper Sunglasses helped bring a great caudience to the event. With an overflow crowd, charity dollars piling up, musical grooves and peace-love-and-brown-rice vibe coming down, nothing could have been more enjoyable to all who attended.

Cosmic Creek, the brainchild of cosmic child/surf history buff/Honolua Bay design guru Eric Diamond, with additional cosmic concepts by nearly every member of the Billabong marketing crew, completed its tenth anniversary on a high note, with the surf contest finishing in a pumping mix of SSW groundswell and NW wind swell. Breezy West/NW winds jacked the windblown waves into the waist-chest range with Salt Creek venue producing occasional bigger sets/peaks around head high.

Once again the weather played a starring role – a late October Indian Summer weekend that could have been a stand-in for July.

With aptly named divisions of Space Cadets, Rocket Men, Groove Masters and Rolling Stones rocking the house, the contest is a mix of fun, high performance and nostalgic déjà vu.

Surfing stars showed up from a potpourri of eras and areas: Big Rock stylist Bird Huffman, Endless Summer II star Pat O’Connell, Echo Beach’s John Gothard, World Champ Tom Curren, Creek’s own Kevin Billy, soul man Robb Machado, Bustin’ Down the Door boys Ian Cairns, Peter Townend and Billabong’s own Prez Paul Naude. Naude won the Cosmic Legends heat, no mean feat considering the company he was in. Of course people forget, Paul made the Pipe Masters finals 3 times back in the real cosmic era.

Still, perhaps the most impressive performance of the event both on Saturday night and Sunday was Donavon Frankenreiter. Against guys like Tom Curren, top ten titan Jeff Booth and air-master Christian Fletcher, the mustachioed maestro still went to the final heat. That Donny could crank out two sets of smoking soulful hand-penned songs and the next morning crank out three sets of soulful bottom turns and tube rides is testimony to a man with talent to burn. Surf, sun, big charity contributions, stoked grems, happy laughing legends – it was all there played to sound of seventies tunes. Jimi Hendrix famous phrase “You’ll never hear surf music again baby” has been proven wrong. And Jimi would have been happy to admit it – had he seen the Cosmic Creek scene this weekend.

Tom Curren and Donavon Frankenreiter.

Tom Curren and Donavon Frankenreiter.