Wave riding history was made this summer. Slyde Handboards hosted the mainland’s first ever competition devoted exclusively to the sport of handboarding. More than 50 contestants competed in four different divisions (groms, teens, men over 20, and women over 20).
As an offshoot of bodysurfing, the contest drew a mixed bag of lifeguards, water polo players, swimmers, and ocean lovers. The swell held strong while a crowd of over 100 waveriding enthusiast excitedly watched.
Talented watermen and water women were everywhere, but fun was the overriding theme of Slydefest. Stealing the spotlight was the Tandem Floatie heat, a crowd favorite where duos shredded on an inflatable pineapple, cactus, lobster, pizza, and a banana.
Novelty entertainment aside, ultimately one waterman and one water woman topped the headlining event. Mark Cunningham, a retired lifeguard from Hawaii and a bodysurfing living legend, and Makena Magro, the grand champion of World Bodysurfing Champions in Oceanside, were the winners of the first ever handboarding contest held in California. The good vibes of the day and the future of handboarding were best captured in Mark’s acceptance speech.
“I’m stoked to be a part of this event,” he said. “I’d like to salute all our fellow competitors and especially their parents for bringing their kids down here and getting them stoked in the shore break. Mahalo to all you moms and dads out there for turning your kids onto the ocean.”
Editor’s Note: Next on the handboarding contest circuit are Copa Slyde in Inquique, Chile (8/27/17) and the UK Bodysurfing Championships in Cornwall (9/16/17)