Back to the roots
In 1994, Surfer Joe had a nightmare. Too much Ahi and rice and too many lagers made him turn and toss through the night. When he awoke, the terror in his soul was unreal. The vision Surfer Joe had on that harrowing night is burned into his salty brain to this very day: The core surfers were being ignored by growing corporations that blossomed like mushroom clouds on the horizon. His kind were a neglected breed, being overshadowed by thirty-foot retro-pink banners and kids who plastered their moms' minivans with stickers bought from chain surf shops who sold skateboards and wakeboards next to their surfboards. The timelessness and passion of surfing had been eradicated by men in expensive suits who had convinced the masses that surfing was about everything but the emotion of riding a wave. Even the logo stamped on a leash meant more than how well the equipment held together. Surfer Joe longed for a return to surfing's ancestry: Small surf brands managed by core surfers and small surf contests with local sponsors whose establishments the surfers supported: Local restaurants, bars and shops.
Surfer Joe's vision was not fleeting and his dedication and perseverance paid off. In 2006, Surfer Joe held his twelfth annual contest at 9th Street in Sunset Beach. It has been held here since the beginning, just months after that restless night. Most of the 80 surfers present this year had competed here in the past and many of them surf together regularly. Sponsored by enthusiastic local businesses, the contest is held in four divisions: Women's, Amateur, Master's, and Pro with over $1000 and a sticker going to the winner in the Pro division last year. The contest drew a large crowd of Sunset locals as it does each year and was concluded with Surfer Joe's annual bikini contest. The crowd attending the awards ceremony packed TANTALUM in Long Beach and the consensus was that 2007's contest won't come soon enough. Maintaining the tradition, Surfer Joe will hold the contest at Sunset's 9th Street once again.