A week of elite USA Surfing Championship competition + International Surfing Day pier-side film screening salute to lifeguards
(Oceanside, Calif. – May 31, 2023) - USA Surfing and Visit Oceanside, along with the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego (PDFSD) and City of Oceanside are joining forces June 13-17 to kick off the 2023 O’side summer season with a spotlight on the largely unknown and underappreciated relationship between surfers and lifeguards, who together keep the ocean safe and fun.
The first recorded lifeguards in history were surfers, and surfers have pioneered significant advances in rescue techniques, tools, and training. America’s first woman ocean lifeguard Joyce Hoffman said she was able to make history by passing lifeguard tryouts in San Diego County, because of her world champion surf skills and ocean knowledge.
The “O’side Celebrates Surf” week starts with USA Surfing’s elite Championship event June 13-17 at Oceanside Harbor, drawing the world’s best surfers from multiple disciplines. (See schedule below).
The week culminates on June 17, International Surfing Day, with a free, family-friendly public screening of “Big Wave Guardians: First Responders of the Sea,” a documentary film written by California Surf Museum Oceanside President Jim Kempton and a new film short featuring Oceanside surf greats like world junior Gold Medalist and WSL CT pro Caitlin Simmers. Both films showcase the important and ever-evolving role lifeguards and surfers play in keeping the ocean safe and fun. The movies will be shown on the big screen at Oceanside’s Pier Amphitheater on Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
“Every surfer has a story of having to save someone or assist a lifeguard making a rescue. Together surfers and lifeguards are a potent force in keeping the ocean safe and fun,” said USA Surfing COO Andrea Swayne. “We applaud the work to ensure more people can learn to swim and be safe around water. It not only saves lives, but also gives more underrepresented groups the opportunity to fall in love with surfing - a beautiful, healthy sport and lifestyle.”
“We are proud to mark 2023 International Surfing Day with such an impressive lineup of partners, five days of elite USA Surfing Championship competition, and a powerful surf film created by one of our O’side O’riginals,” said Visit Oceanside CEO Leslee Gaul. “Surfing is a strong tourism attraction and source of community pride. Oceanside is home to some of the world’s greatest surfers, as well as renowned surf brands, surf shops, board shapers and manufacturers.”
“Oceanside’s tourism, water safety, and surf community knows firsthand that everyone who swims in our ocean and walks on our sand becomes part of our family. We’re all connected by water,” said documentary film writer and California Surf Museum’s Jim Kempton. “Surfers and lifeguards are both ambassadors of the beach lifestyle and therefore feel a joint responsibility in keeping waters safe and fun. Together they have been responsible for critically important advances in lifesaving techniques, tools, and training.”
“The growing, surfer-led ocean safety education movement taking place in our state is such a powerful part of the solution. More than half of all drownings occur in open water. Often, in the ocean it is a surfer in the lineup that gets to a swimmer in distress before the lifeguard does,” said Prevent Drowning Foundation San Diego (PDFSD) President Nicole McNeil. “Oceanside and other southern California communities already have the lowest drowning rates in the state. We are stoked to partner with USA Surfing and Oceanside to give even more surfers the skills and knowledge to keep the ocean safe and fun.”
The four organizations will be raising awareness about the lifeguard/surfer relationship and ocean safety throughout the week.
Thanks to the leadership of the Prevent Drowning Foundation and California Water Safety Coalition, California is the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive strategy to raise awareness and engage more people and organizations in ensuring everyone is safe in and around the water.
USA SURFING CHAMPIONSHIP JUNE 13-17
USA Surfing’s elite Championship competition runs June 13-17 at Oceanside Harbor. The world’s best surfers from multiple disciplines – para surf, longboard, adult shortboard, stand-up surf and SUP paddle distance racers – will compete for national titles and potentially qualify for the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Championship and pathway to Pan Am Games. The schedule is as follows:
June 13-14: para surf competition, featuring surfers with a range of physical disabilities (classification takes place June 12)
June 14-15: longboard competition with ISA trials
June 15: SUP & Prone Distance Race (ISA Trials)
June 16: Adult shortboard and SUP surf
June 17: SUP Age Group Races, SUP Tech Races (ISA Trials)
*all heats are expected to run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm throughout the event.
USA’s para surf team won an unprecedented third world title in the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) World Para Surfing Championship and is aiming for even stronger performances in Oceanside.
For the first time, surfers from around the world in the para surf discipline will compete in the annual USA Surfing Championship, offering a preview of surfing’s highly anticipated Paralympic debut in LA2028. The Paralympics follow the Olympics and feature the world’s largest sporting stage for athletes with a range of physical disabilities.
Corporate philanthropist and sub franchise, Jersey Mike’s sponsors USA Surfing and New Jersey lifeguard race. Oceanside’s Jersey Mike’s will supply the competitors with subs for the entire competition week and will provide subs for the first 200 people attending the screening of “Big Wave Guardians” at the pier. Jersey Mike’s “believes in the power of surfing to transform lives in and out of the water,” and applauds the teamwork promoted by both USA Surfing and lifeguard organizations. Jersey Mike’s founder Peter Cancro credits his business success to being involved in team sports with caring coaches.
Oceanside Parks and Recreation Director Manuel Gonzalez was part of a San Diego County Aquatic Council volunteer force of swim instructor trainers that certified 63 new swim instructors this month with a goal of having each of the 63 new swim instructors teach 100 children, adding up to 6,300 kids in San Diego County that will be safer around water.
“Drowning is preventable, but we need to look at it from an epidemiological lens and invest resources to make swim lessons and water safety instruction available broadly,” Gonzalez said. “Until then, drowning is a puzzle, and we can all contribute a piece that makes water safer. The City of Oceanside is proud to offer a venue that celebrates how lifeguards and surfers create synergy to add a couple more pieces to the drowning prevention puzzle.”
About USA Surfing
USA Surfing is recognized by the International Surfing Association as the exclusive national federation for surfing in the United States with a mission to advance the sport of surfing in all its disciplines, empower future generations of champions, and share the many benefits of the surfing lifestyle in the United States.
About Prevent Drowning Association of San Diego
Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego believes that drowning is preventable and it is our mission to engage the community in a continuum of water safety programs and initiatives that provide access to the life-saving skill of swimming. Since 2009, our purpose has been simple: we do everything we can to prevent drowning by spreading awareness and funding swim lesson programs for targeted individuals who have limited access to gaining the life-saving skill. With our local school, community, and aquatic partners, we have impacted tens of thousands of young people in San Diego County and made their lives safer and more enjoyable.
About Visit Oceanside
Visit Oceanside Conference and Visitors Bureau is the trusted travel authority for Oceanside, California. As Oceanside’s official tourism marketing organization, Visit Oceanside promotes travel to the city for both leisure and group visitors. The organization influences about one-third of the $415 million that is generated by visitor spending in Oceanside each year, which supports nearly 3,500 jobs. Visit Oceanside also operates one of the state’s official California Welcome Centers. With just one stop, visitors can find local, regional and state maps, purchase discount tickets to major Southern California attractions, make hotel reservations or shop for the perfect California keepsake. The Visit Oceanside CVB and California Welcome Center- Oceanside are conveniently located just off Interstate 5 at 928 North Coast Highway. For more information, please call (800) 350-7873 or visit www.visitoceanside.org
Media Contacts: becky (at) boardwalkpr (dot) com or shae (at) visitoceanside (dot) org
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