West Coast Board Riders 2019-20 season gets underway this weekend

By Jake Howard

The West Coast Board Riders (WCBR) movement continues to gain momentum, and the 2019-20 season is set to kick off on Saturday, Oct. 12, at San Onofre State Park.

Last year, it was the San Clemente Board Riders Club winning the title. Coming out swinging with another stacked team, they’ll be looking to go back-to-back this season. But that’s obviously easier said than done. In their own backyard, the Dana Point Board Riders will be hoping to spoil San Clemente’s party, and there’s plenty of other incredible talent percolating up throughout the state of California.

Since its inception in 2017, the West Coast Board Riders has grown in leaps and bounds.

“The West Coast Board Riders has taken off as one of the most important movements in all of surfing,” said Don Meek, managing partner of the organization. “We are now 14 clubs strong, with over 1,500 members who will be competing in some of the best waves in California. With the amazing energy that all of our clubs are putting into their own communities, we are confident when we say, ‘The future is local.’ ”

This season, there will be a total off 11 events up and down the coast. The 14 clubs are broken into three regions. Representing the South is San Clemente. They’ll be joined by Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and La Jolla. Dana Point will be competing in the Central division, which includes Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach.

And beyond the regular-season rallies, the 2019-20 season will also include a specialty event in partnership with the Roland Sands Moto Beach Classic on Oct. 26 and the WCBR All-Stars in partnership with Jack’s Surfboards at the Jack’s Pro in March 2020.

The West Coast Board Riders is also continuing to build its base of sponsor support. Returning sponsors for the 2019-20 season include Banzai Bowls, Caliente Southwest Grille, Billabong and O’Neill. And new for this year, Clif Bar, Olloclip, Huntington Surf & Sport, Live Heats, Freesurf Magazine, Surfing Heritage & Culture Center and Zebra House Coffee have all jumped on board.

Considering where this endeavor started two years ago and where it is today, it’s impressive to see the growth, and it speaks to the grassroots passion that the surf clubs evoke.

The West Coast Board Riders is the brainchild of Huntington Beach surfers Casey Wheat, Chris Moreno and Ziggy Williams. Seeing a need to bring local communities together and share their generational histories and legacies, their mission has been to provide structure and support for city-based surf clubs to organize and compete.

“When we started WCBR, we were inspired by the board riders clubs in Australia and the way they’ve maintained their momentum and stoke, and united their local communities for more than 50 years,” said Wheat. “Talk to any successful surfer from Oz, and they’ll tell you that their local club has played a huge part in their success.”

The Surfline forecast for this week is calling for a mid-range southwest swell through the second half of the week that will bring wave heights into the waist- to shoulder-high range. That swell starts to drop off into the weekend, bringing things into the knee- to waist-high zone. Conditions look as if they’ll remain clean through the mornings before light afternoon westerlies add a little texture to the surface.

The contest this Saturday will be the season opener for the South division. It will take place at Church on Saturday, Oct 12.

The Dana Point Board Riders will take to the water for the first time this season on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Billabong At Newport contest.

The 2019-20 West Coast Board Riders season will culminate with the WCBR Championships, which are scheduled for Saturday, May 9, at Lower Trestles.

For more information and for the full schedule, go to WestCoastBoardRiders.com.

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