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By Daniel Ritz
Small surf, a heavy marine layer and mostly light southerly winds did nothing to dampen holiday spirits during the 8th Annual Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Surfing Santa Competition at Salt Creek to benefit Surfers Healing on Nov. 18 and 19.
Having expanded to two full days of competition, this year’s events included seven stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) divisions in addition to three surfing divisions.
Everyone from groms to grandpas arrived at Salt Creek in their Santa outfits, elf ears and reindeer antlers; their beards and bellies seeming to have no negative impact on their surfing or SUP performance.
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Surfing Santa Competition benefits Surfers Healing, a surf camp founded in 1996 by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz to take kids with autism surfing. This came after an experience where their own son, Isaiah, had a healing experience after being taken surfing with his father in Hawaii.
Abraham Paskowitz, Israel’s brother, was excited to see the Ritz-Carlton Surfing Santa Competition continue to expand.
“It’s so good to see it grow, to diversify and allow more people to have fun; to enjoy each other.”
More photos from the 2017 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Surfing Santa Competition can be seen in this story online at www.danapointtimes.com.
2017 Surfing Santa/ SUP Competition Winners
Surfing Rudolph- Men’s Shortboard 18 and Older
- Namor Cayres
- Geoff Brack
- Yoisis Delgado
Santa’s Elves-Men’s Shortboard 17 and Under
- Grant Richey
- Bryce Mattox
- Noah Albrect
Kris Kringles-Men’s SUP Surf 18 and Older
- Daniel Hughes
- Yahn Louletta
- Ryan Pieropan
Mistletoes-Men’s SUP Surf 17 and Under
- Tyler Bashor
- Conrad Rojas
- Elijiah Schoenig and Burke Hammond (tie)
Tobagganners-Men’s SUP Race 18 and Older
- Rob Rojas
- Jason Watson
- Paul Panowski
Sleigh Riders-Men’s SUP Race 17 and Under
- Tyler Bashor
- Elijiah Schoenig
- Thomas Nilsen
Yule Loggers-Open Longboard
- Rick Fodor
- Bucky Barry
- Ben Kappes
Snow Angels-Women’s Shortboard
- Bethany Zelasko
- Elle Emery
- Kailey Skelton
Candy Canes-Women’s SUP Surf
- Marley Grosher
- Lexi Alston
- Kitsey Nipper
Holly Berries-Women’s SUP Race 18 and Over
- Maggie Adams
- Tiffany Tudyk
Sugar Plums-Women’s SUP Race 17 and Over
- Erika Benitez
- Kitsy Nipper
- Goff Stetien
- Jett “Rocket” Prefontaine