By Jake Howard

The schools are out and summer is at hand. Now what? Well, there’s not much we can do about the June gloom and sharks, but there’s plenty to look forward to over the next month. There are surf contests, surf camps, musical jams, historical celebrations and all kinds of good stuff to stoke out the soul. For those organized types that keep a calendar and don’t live life based on the surf forecast, here are the key dates to pencil in.

June 13-17: Surfing America 2017 USA Surfing Championships

This is the big one! For all the under 18 surfers out there, the USA Surfing Championships have become one of the marquee contests. Taking place in Oceanside this year, San Clemente and Dana Point have a number of rising talented surfers who will vie for a national title. As of press time, Cole Houshmand, Kade Matson and Crosby Colapinto are all sitting in the top 10 of the under 18 rankings, and Matson and Colapinto are sitting first and second in the under 16 division, respectively. If you want to see what the future of American surfing looks like, this is the contest to check it all out. For more information, visit www.surfingamerica.org.

June 17: International Surfing Day

This is the best excuse you’ll have all year to blow off work and go surf. The Surfrider Foundation has beach cleanups and events set up around the country. Over the last decade, the movement has helped clear more than 20 tons of trash from beaches. Their goal this year is to get 1 million people to the beach on June 17, and you can be one of them. More information is available at www.surfrider.org.

June 17-19: NSSA National Interscholastic College, High School and Middle School Championships

Going down at Salt Creek, the NSSA National Interscholastic Championships is where academics and surfing meet. San Clemente High School, Shorecliffs Middle School and Saddleback College all enter the contest as favorites to win the title. All three schools are packed with talent and a proven success record. In the words of the Beach Boys, “Be true to your school.” More information is available at www.nssa.org.

June 21: Surfers Healing at Doheny

This year, Surfers Healing celebrates 20 years of stoke. Their stated goal is “to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing.” Founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz, the work the organization does is truly life-changing. The camp at Doheny this summer is already full for participants, but if you’re keen to lend some moral support, cheer on some real heroes and bask in the sunshine. It’s well worth the effort. For more information, visit www.surfershealing.org.

June 24: Harbour Surfboards Retrospective, Surfing Heritage and Culture Cultural Center

To have a resource like the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center right in our backyard should be taken advantage of at every opportunity. Kicking off their summer exhibitions is a retrospective look back at Seal Beach’s Harbour Surfboards. One of the oldest surf brands and surf shops still in operation, in 1959 Rich Harbour started building boards and the tradition continues to this day. Also, SHACC offers ukulele classes on the third Tuesday of every month. More information can be found at www.surfingheritage.org.

June 24-25: Doheny Surf Festival

Billed as a “menehune” contest, the Doheny Surf Festival will have a little something for everyone. In addition to a contest for the kids, they’re bringing a classic woody car show to the beach, as well as live music, great food, healthy living demonstrations and a beer garden, sponsored by Kona Brewing (ages 21 and up only). Proceeds from the event go to Doheny State Beach, which is nice. More information is available at www.dohenystatebeach.org.

June 26-July 3: NSSA National Open and Explorer Championships

For the hordes of grommets that toil away on the NSSA circuit all season long, the effort comes to a culmination at the annual National Open and Explorer Championships. Stationed at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier, the week-long contest draws kids in from around the country. The brightest talent from Hawaii, the East Coast and all up and down California shows up in hopes of claiming a national title. Last year San Clemente’s Cole Houshmand won the open juniors title, and Kirra Pinkerton finished runner-up in the open girls. If you’ve kept an eye on the Grom of the Week updates you’ll notice that this year the South Orange County competitors are especially savvy. Support the next generation by spending a day or two in Surf City. Find out more at www.nssa.org.

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