By Andrea Swayne
For the eighth consecutive year, the Western Surfing Association is adding a gift collection drive to its December surfing contest.
Event No. 5 of the WSA Championship Tour set for Dec. 5 and 6 at the San Clemente Pier will include the organization’s annual Toys for Tots drive, in conjunction with Camp Pendleton Marines.
Toys for Tots is a program of the United States Marine Corps aimed at ensuring the country’s less fortunate children get to experience the joy of Christmas, to play an active role in their development and to unite community members in a common cause during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign.
“Our family of surfers has historically taken this opportunity to give generously, along with local surf-related companies that have made larger donations of excess promotional, returned or overstocked items,” MaryLou Drummy, WSA executive director, said. “We look forward to showing, once again, how generous our surf community can be.”
Along with competitors and spectators, members of the public are invited to bring donations of new, unwrapped gifts to the check-in area anytime during the two-day event and stay to catch the surfing action by competitors of all ages, from Micro Groms to Legends.
Marines will man the collection boxes both days from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Camp Pendleton drive has a particular need for gifts for babies and toddlers as well as items that appeal to tweens and teens, such as new sports equipment (skateboards, bodyboards, etc.), surf apparel and gift cards. Checks made out to “Toys for Tots North County” are also welcome.
Continuing a WSA tradition, competitors making toy donations will once again be presented with a special long-sleeve T-shirt commemorating the event.
Marines will be on hand on both days collecting toys and donations from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event is also the annual Midget Smith Memorial Pier Rat Challenge, in memory of Jeffrey “Midget” Smith, a San Clemente surfer, legendary shaper and acclaimed judge who passed away in 2008.
The event schedule and heat draws will be posted on the Western Surfing Association Facebook page.