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NBVC Surf Contest a Swell Event

Both military and civilian competitors rode the waves

All branches of the military were presented at Naval Base Ventura County competition.
All branches of the military were presented at Naval Base Ventura County competition. (Naval Base Ventura County)

Some 100 service members and civilians battled it out on the water as Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) hosted its annual surf contest Aug. 19-20. More than 40 of the competitors were military, representing all branches of the service and traveling from as far away as Florida to compete.

Conditions were fair but challenging with waves in the 2-4-foot range with a south- southeast swell, and overhead waves in the 6-8-foot range in the sets of a south-southwest swell, according to Dan Alpern, marketing director for Fleet and Family Readiness, NBVC.

The U.S. Coast Guard competitors nearly swept the military division, taking three of the four top spots.

First place went to Operations Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Johnson of Deployable Communications Support Forces West, second to Aviation Survival Technician Kris Grimm of Sector San Diego.

They were followed by U.S. Naval Aircrewman (helicopter) 2nd Class Kevin Broadwater of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 in third, and Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Spencer Hayes of Station Golden Gate in fourth.

Demi Boelstermi took the women’s division title, followed by Makenna Burke, Sophie Simon, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Mary Hays, commanding officer of USS Decatur (DDG 73), and Hannah Reynolds, respectively.

The top four spots of the men’s open competition went to Tim Curran, Cory Arrambide, Skip McCullough and Jake Kelley.

Winners of the junior’s division are Tommy McKeown, Dimitri Poulos, Ryder Alves and Van Bush.

Chief Naval Aircrewman (tactical helicopter) Nick Barringer of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71 in San Diego participated in this year’s contest, and despite not winning, said he relished the opportunity to surf at Point Mugu.

“I've surfed many waves around the world and Point Mugu is one of the best waves on the planet; it's challenging and humbling on the bigger days. I had no idea a wave like that existed in Southern California when I first saw it,” said Barringer.

“I look forward every year to surf in the event," he said. "The military is a tight knit family and community, but military surfers share an even more special bond bound by the ocean. Not only do we get to surf great waves but we also get to share stories with each other.”

NBVC has hosted the surf competition since 2008, with a brief hiatus between 2012 and 2105. It is open to the public to allow local surfers access to a prime surfing spot that is otherwise closed, and to share information about NBVC’s mission.

“It allows us to showcase and highlight our environmental stewardship of the wetlands and beach area that we protect,” said Alpern. “It’s also recreation for the over 40 military surfers who competed. They came to us from all the services, from as far away as Florida.

"It also gives the public a chance to access the base.”

The event is coordinated by NBVC’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program, with sponsorship from several local and regional organizations.

Surfers and visitors were treated to live music, a beer garden, military static displays and various food and retail vendors. This year, MWR secured a big screen to display the live action and Alpern hopes to get a bigger screen next year.

“It’s great outreach, because we only do one or two open base every year, and it gets people out here to see what a beautiful base we have; they can see how we are good stewards of the environment, and also see a great surf contest,” said NBVC Commanding Officer, Capt. Chris Janke.

Alpern is hopeful for next year’s event, not only for the opportunity to engage with the local community, but also because of the great camaraderie and supportiveness of the surfing community, that mirrors that of the military.

“The most memorable moment was seeing the absolute display of sportsmanship that we saw amongst competitors in the women’s division," he said.

"We gave the Micky Clarke Sportsmanship Award to Demi Boelstermi this year, who won the women’s division.

"During her time in competition she took time to help the junior women that were in: helping them out through the rip current, when to take off on waves, backing off on waves that she could have had to give them a chance to score,” Alpern said.

“It’s just class like that, I really appreciate seeing in the water,” he said.

— Theresa Miller for Naval Base Ventura County.

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