Torrance Beach ‘better than Pipeline’ for 13th Annual Ratopia Surf Classic
by Mike Purpus
The annual Ratopia Surf Classic was founded in 2005 to raise funds for 22-year-old local surfer Denny Bales was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Over the ensuing decade, the contest has raised $127,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which has recognized contest organizer Nick Weber with its de Villiers Society Award.
The contest includes longboard and shortboard divisions, body surfing, a one-mile run and a costume, pie eating and pushup contest.
Torrance Beach, where this year’s contest was held last Saturday, has not been good hadn’t had good waves since last spring. But it did for Ratopia. Pro Surfer and Ratopia veteran Alex Grey said, “Hawaii’s North Shore is blown out almost every day with too much sand covering the Pipeline Reef. I come down here and it’s perfect 3-foot, offshore tubes.” As he spoke, he pointed to Ron Sannes getting a long zipper all the way down the beach. The surf got peaker and more hollow as the tide went out.
Lucas Baroha and Danny Crawford came out of the gate and the tube, tearing up the first heat with impressive laybacks. Ben Oien blew everyone away in his heat. “The hollow offshore rights were fun,” he said. The kids were loving it, with big smiles in every heat. Will Allen came off the top with a big coaster. Heat 3 was won by Carson Wanke, despite Rodney Buck doing airdrops into outside bowls.
“This has been my favorite surf contest this year, with fun peaks and hollow tubes,” Bucks said.
As the surf got bigger, Briggs Reus and Gerard sliced some deep cutbacks. Tim Ecker got a big tube on the outside and Ford Timberlake sped down the line to land on the sand.
Chris Stimpfle was a high school surf league stand out before joining the the Navy Search and Rescue Team. He is still red hot and tore the lips off all the set waves.
In the 12 and under Grom Division, Will Allen shoved his 11-year-old next door neighbor Max Chaplin into some great bowls. Max hung on down the line but Karsten Wanke won with big lip smacks both ways.
Trevor Kahn was the longboard standout, hanging 10 before back peddling and then going off the top. The offshore wind got stronger and the waves faster at the start of the girls final. Jenna Newburg came all the way down from Santa Barbara to take second. “Our neighborhood has been evacuated because of the fire. This contest is a good way to help me take my mind off it. The waves are fun and I miss my high school surf sisters. I am glad I came.”
In the costume contest final, Ben Oien pulled off a stand up barrel and Tim Ecker got tubed before a big coaster. Then Ecker got another big barrel and fired off a string of lip bounces down the line to finish off the contest with a 9 point ride.
Contest director Nick Weber’s performance of the “Stars Spangled Banner”t had everyone on the beach standing and cheering. It was free donuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
Men (19+ yrs old). 1. Timmy Ecker, 2 Ron Sannes, 3. Chris Stimpfl, 4. Derek Weil, 5. Al Messina, 6. Chris Clave. Women’s. 1. Savannah Scriven, 2. Jenna Newburn. Groms (13 and under) 1. Karsten Wanke, 2. Max Kaplan. Boys (14-18 yrs old) 1. Will Allen. 2. Rodney Buck, 3. Ben Oien, 4. Briggs Peus, 5. Shane Gherardi, 6. Trevor Kahn. Longboard (all ages) 1. Leonardo Montiel. Bodysurfing (all ages). 1. Timmy Ecker, 2. Al Messina, 3. Alex Hooks.