The Wave Masters Society announced the expansion of the 32-year-old surf contest event to a surf festival that will include free surf lessons, yoga classes and speakers on a variety of topics ranging from nutrition, health, surfing fitness, surf forecasting, surf photography, surfboard shapes and even a panel discussion with North Florida surf legends.
The 32nd annual pro/am surf contest will draw nearly 300 competitors across 19 amateur and three professional divisions. The three professional divisions include men’s, women’s and longboard with $3,000, $2,000 and $1,500 purses, respectively. The amateur divisions along with the pros have long been North Florida’s showcase surfing event, held every May, for the last 32 years. It has served as the launching point for talent emerging from Jacksonville and the surrounding area.
“The surf contest is long overdue for such an expansion,” Mitch Kaufmann said. “As the longest running surf competition in North Florida, the WaveMasters event is the perfect venue to deliver more surf-related activities and programming to our community.”
Kaufmann took over managing the surf contest in 1997, and has seen its reputation and the quality of surfers competing continue to get better each year. There have been some really strong surfers who come through this contest from the area, including Asher Nolan, Ryan Briggs, Evan Thompson, Cody Thompson and Tristan Thompson, Wayne Satterwhite, Justin Quintal and Kayla Durden.
Free surf lessons will be taught by three different local groups who have a longstanding commitment to teaching and sharing the surf stoke, including Surf Into Summer, Saltwater Cowgirls and Jax Surf & Paddle. Each group will be responsible for a two-hour block beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2.
Two yoga classes will be lead by Big Fish Power Yoga, one at 7 a.m. and one at 1 p.m. It’s perfect for getting the competitors loosened up, as well as a great beach workout for others.
Jen Mons, from Healthy Beach Girl, will discuss how your diet leads to a more healthy and happy lifestyle at 9 a.m. Patty Soud, a local personal and corporate fitness expert, will share her knowledge and experience about surf-specific fitness and how you can stay in the water longer and enjoy surfing into the latter part of life beginning at 10 a.m.
To help understand how to predict when the waves will be favorable, Chicki Dimain from DaBuh, will help attendees understand how to read weather maps, find marine conditions and forecasts and put them all together, so you can hit the waves when it’s best.
There will be three different panel discussions to round out the day. The first will be held at noon with some of north Florida’s surfing legends. The second panel discussion is with three of the most-respected local surfboards shapers, Mike Whisnant, Jim Dunlop and Tony Iannarone at 2 p.m. Several surf photographers and videographers will share their passion for capturing the sport from the water and on land at 3 p.m.
Sunday’s events are focused on the semi-final and final rounds of the surfing contest with awards coming shortly after the last heats of the day. For more information about the surfing contest and surf festival activities, go to www.wavemasterssurffestival.com.
The WaveMasters Society is a 1960s-style surf club formed in 1981, by a group of avid surfers in the Jacksonville Beach area. Along with Cesar Garcia, founding members include Bill Hixon, Sandy Forsyth, Tim New and David Lambert, among others. Realizing career and family responsibilities had moved surfing to the back burner, they got together and formed the club as a good excuse to rekindle their love for the sport and lifestyle.