World Longboard Championships At Swamis?

As reported on
Women’s World Longboard Championships At Swamis?

Local surfers weighed in Tuesday night on a controversial proposal by legendary surfer Linda Benson to bring the Women’s World Longboard Championship to Swami’s Beach in October.

Last year the Encinitas City Council charged the city’s Park and Recreation Commission to solicit public comment on the feasibility of holding such a high-profile event at Swami’s, a renowned surfing spot that has never before hosted a pro-surfing contest.

“As a longtime local of Encinitas, I felt that this event would be a great opportunity for Encinitas to celebrate with women longboarders as we continue to honor the spirit of our sport,” Benson told the commissioners. “Swami’s is a world-class wave, arguably the best wave in the area; a truly perfect venue for a world championship.”

An ASP World Tour event at Swamis?

The Women's World Longboard Championships at Swamis?

Benson, a five-time U.S. champion and member of the International Surfing Hall of Fame and Cori Schumacher, two-time World Champion and two-time U.S. Champion took turns presenting a proposal to move the annual event from its current home in Biarritz, France to Encinitas. Benson told the commissioners that she expects that 64 or so women would compete at Swami’s during the four-day event with more women competing in qualifying rounds held earlier at Moonlight Beach, also in Encinitas.

The Women’s World Longboard Championship began in 1995 in Costa Rica and has traveled to different parts of the world, Benson said. Then in 2005, Benson obtained rights to the contest with the hope of bringing it back to Swami’s where she first surfed in 1956.

But not all local surfers are convinced that Swami’s is the right venue for a world championship.

Calvin Tom, an Encinitas surfer, said he had a multitude of safety concerns. He highlighted the fact there is no pedestrian crossing across the railroad tracks or the Coast Highway near the Swami’s parking lot entrance and that the low railings over unstable cliffs and limited access to the beach could be dangerous to spectators.

“For me, a contest (at Swami’s) doesn’t make that much sense, and we have other locations that have been proven to be better,” Tom said.