Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s annual Surfing Santa Contest and Holiday Surfboard Auction returns, with both events benefiting Surfers Healing, a nonprofit that provides autistic kids the gift of surfing.

Surfing Santa and Stand Up Paddle Board Contest will be held at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24. After those events, the resort will host the Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction from Saturday, Nov. 23 through Dec. 31, featuring a variety of artistry surfboards by celebrated artists and iconic shapers such as Wyland, Firewire, and Chad Smith, lead drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the hotel’s commitment to supporting worthy causes, both seasonal events benefit Surfers Healing. In 2018, the resort raised more than $44,000 for the charity, with a total donation of $390,000 since collaborating with the nonprofit 11 years ago.

“Every year, we anticipate these special events, continuing to elevate our annual tradition by connecting with our local community in a meaningful way and raising more funds for Surfers Healing,” says Bruce Brainerd, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. “It’s an honor to see our mission of giving back to children with autism lived out for the past 11 years with so much support from locals, artists, and creatives. We could not make such an impactful difference without them.”

The contest features 10 divisions, inclusive of surf, stand up paddle board, and body board – available for both children and adults. Each heat extends prizes for placed winners, and all participants are eligible for a $2,000 Big Air prize, based on contestable air points throughout the day. A $500 1st Place Costume prize, a $200 2nd Place Costume prize, and a $1,000 Fastest Stand Up Paddle Board prize are also awarded.

Brainerd developed the Surfing Santa and Stand Up Paddle Board Contest, as well as the Holiday Surfboard Auction, as a way to connect and pay homage to Dana Point’s iconic surf history.

Contestants can register at www.surfingsantacontest.org. Registration ends on Monday, Nov. 18. Locals and guests are invited to attend and cheer on the contestants.

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