When we first heard that Team Kaha Nalu Hawaii was traveling to California in late August for the World Bodysurfing Championship, we immediately crossed our fingers for swell. We hoped that for all competitors traveling to Oceanside. We wanted to show off our home break.
After a slow start to August, a bump showed up on the long range forecast and sure enough the weekend of the contest saw one of the best swells of the summer.
Here is their perspective on the contest and their time in Southern California.
Team Kaha Nalu founder Sean Enoka:
“This year, the World Bodysurfing Championships really changed my outlook about the whole thing. There is always talk about it being more of a swim contest, and that the waves aren’t good or whatever. But this year there was highly challenging but very good surf, and by the time it narrowed down to the finals it was very clear that the talent level was world class, and ALL of the competitors in the finals were killers…and are in shape.
I think that this year the name World Championships fit the bill because people showed up from all over the world. France was in. Brazil was in. Australia in. California and truly bodysurfers from all over the world. I sat and watched some of the finals on Sunday and it was super impressive how hard everyone was working to get the victory. This year was awesome and I’ll definitely be back in years to come.
We just got lucky with swell and hopefully we can get blessed the next time. On a personal trip, I was disappointed that I didn’t make it out of the first round, but the current + cold + beach start and 15min heats did me in. But I got a chance to surf the North side of the pier and figure it out a little.
But for the contest itself, I think that all of the organizers and volunteers were awesome and it was a great contest. But I would change a couple of things like having the judges view from the beach, water starts from designated buoy markers, electronic scoring, and some other production stuff but mainly where you start and what the judges can see. I watched Kai’s heat start right as some sets were rolling in and by the time some of the guys made it out, there was like 9 mins left in the heat! I think the judges are really overloaded and view from the wrong angle. They can’t see anything once you pass them or if you are riding away. Plus, they have to write and look away for that split second that someone could be doing something incredible. Of course bodysurfing isn’t the NFL with replay, but I think that the number of competitors and world title designation justifies a bit of an upgrade. The back to back heat starts and early starts at 6:30am are just necessary in order to process that many people and it goes like clockwork right on time.
We were so lucky to arrive just at the same time as a decent Southern hemi swell. Thursday Wedge was about 2-4 and fun sized with the side wave working and then Friday got a little bigger and the main peak was working. It was great to all be together with the Wedge Crew and also the Frenchmen. That wave is definitely one of the best in the world for bodysurfing.
Team Kaha Nalu teamrider Kanealii Wilcox:
The contest was amazing! Things that really stood out to me include how many people it draws annually from all over the world and how efficient it runs with 370 competitors in 2 days. The bodysurf community never falls short of top notch camaraderie with everyone sharing the stoke.
Team Kaha Nalu teamrider Keali’i Punley:
The WBC was a great experience and a blessing to be a part of. Coming from Hawaii, we are not used to used to cold water. To be honest, I had a difficult time breathing and getting used to a full wetsuit. So I had to adapt and adjust. Fighting the strong current in just a 15 minute heat was hard but we managed. But we know our ability and what we can do on wave. When we got on set waves we ripped them with style. I learned a lot during my first time at the World Bodysurfing Championship. It was great uniting with bodysurfers from all over the world at one location and seeing different styles and techniques.