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Watch surfers take to the waves during 12th annual Tourmaline Club Classic in Pacific Beach

Surfer Roxy Gunther and Pacific Beach Surf Club President Ron Greene with a $500 donation to Operation Surf on Aug. 20.
Surfer Roxy Gunther and Pacific Beach Surf Club President Ron Greene with a $500 donation the club gave to Operation Surf on Aug. 20.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Greene)

Event is free for spectators

The Pacific Beach Surf Club is gearing up for the twelfth annual Tourmaline Club Classic, set for Oct. 1 and 2 at Tourmaline Surf Park.

Over 150 competitors from various surf clubs along the coast are expected to participate. The event is free for spectators.

The tournament is co-hosted by the PB Surf Club and the Cardiff Surf Club, and is sanctioned by the international Coalition of Surfing Clubs. Ron Greene, PB Surf Club president, said some of the best surfers from various coalition clubs will be making an appearance and competing for bragging rights.

Want to go?

Tourmaline Club Classic

When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2

Where: Tourmaline Surf Park, 600 Tourmaline St., Pacific Beach

Cost: free for spectators

More info: pacificbeachsurfclub.com

“There are a lot of returning competitors to our event from up and down the coast,” Greene said. “Too many to mention here. Joel Tudor and his son, Tosh, might enter through Windansea Surf Club. Joel is a three-time world longboard champion and his son, Tosh, appears to be following his footsteps. They are very polished surfers.

“I will compete as long as my body allows it,” Greene added. “I was on the bench due to injuries for the last Summer Classic, and last year’s 11th TCC.”

PB Surf Club

In keeping with the “aloha” spirit, the PB Surf Club espouses a practice of giving back to the community with funds raised from its events. The club’s June Longboard Classic raised $3,500 and had two benefactors, Operation Surf and The Jetty Kids Foundation.

Operation Surf is an organization that helps disabled and hurt veterans by teaching them to surf as a therapeutic method. The organization boasts as much as a 36 percent decrease in symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder among its participants.

The Jetty Kids Foundation hosts a free annual surf competition for ages 3 to 16 and has been experiencing financial difficulty after its funds were exhausted.

Last year’s 11th annual Tourmaline Club Classic netted $4,800 between the two host clubs. Pacific Beach Surf Club matched the PB Surf Shop’s $750 donation for the Dr. Walter Munk College Scholarship Foundation in conjunction with his widow, Mary Munk, and the Groundswell Society.

Other benefactors from past surf club events were the Mission Bay High School surf team and Pacific Beach Middle School orchestra music program, as well as conservation initiatives in Imperial Beach.

Tourmaline Surf Park

The Tourmaline Surf Park is heralded as “America’s First Surf Park.” Formally opened in 1963, Tourmaline is a revered surfing spot for its dynamic conditions that can vary from day to day. Club Secretary Vince Bodie said the sizable parking lot situated closely to the surf makes events at Tourmaline accessible to spectators.

“Our events are very popular,” Bodie said. “Having that concentrated event at Tourmaline, it creates an atmosphere that is unique to our events.”

More than the physical layout of Tourmaline, the attitude on the beach and within the surfing culture that it attracts is much more open to outsiders.

“A big draw to Tourmaline is the ‘aloha’ and camaraderie that usually surrounds the carpark and lineup,” Greene said. “Very little localism plays out there.”

Greene said surfing conditions for the competition are tough to predict, especially with the coming of the fall season. At its most ideal conditions, the tides at Tourmaline can create longboard breaks that rival most beaches on the San Diego coastline.

“I personally prefer when the surf is generated from the west or northwest and is a fairly short interval swell, along with a low tide,” Greene said. “I am convinced the bathymetry (or bottom) and facing direction of Tourmaline embraces these conditions.”

The PB Surf Club is a nonprofit organization and is accepting sponsorships for the event through its website. Sponsorships range from $100 to $3,000 and up. In addition to a weekend of competitive surfing, attendees will be treated to vintage vinyl records spun out of a VW van by the Bus Bros., as well as a raffle for surfboards and surf-related merchandise.


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