Surfing in style

ZJ Boarding House hosts its third-annual Haunted Heats

For the innocent passersby, the scene near lifeguard tower 27 on Santa Monica Beach this past Saturday, would have been both strange and amusing.

The sun shone on clowns, bumblebees, skeletons, zombies, pirates, and other characters who surfed the waves in the third-annual Haunted Heats, a Halloween costume surfing event hosted by ZJ Boarding House.

“Weather-condition-wise, this was the best year,” said Victor Shaw, manager at Santa Monica’s ZJ Boarding House.

In last years' Haunted heats, the weather was not as good as this year, but for the surfers, the weather is not too essential for this special event.

“The participants make up for it all,” Shaw said.

“This year’s costume winner was dressed up as Rafiki from the Lion King,” said Shaw. The winner was dressed in a head-to-toe handmade costume of a wise and spiritual baboon from the Disney movie. He even wore a stuffed Simba around his neck.

The event requires no skill level, and anyone could sign up to surf before the Oct. 25 deadline.

“We try to cut it at 50, but every single year we end up with like 70 to75 participants,” Shaw said. “It's hard, how can you say no to someone who is dressed up as an ape from head to toe? You can't do that.”

“It's amazing what people put into it,” said Shaw about the amount of effort participants put into their costumes and into the event. “Not only do they come in costumes, they have to surf in them for 25 minutes!”

This year, over 50 surfers participated in five different heats that took place from 8 a.m. to noon.

Residents from all over Santa Monica and Los Angeles also came to watch the unique Halloween surf event.

Jenny Tumala, a California native, sat on the beach and watched her surfer friends hit the waves in their best Halloween attire.

“I participated last year,” Tumala said. “This year the weather is better, but it was awesome last year, too.”

Tumala, who claimed to feel under the weather, made the effort to come out to the event but unfortunately wasn’t able to surf.

“I just had a flu," said Tumala. "And my doctor told me I shouldn't surf just yet, since the water is so cold still, so this year I'm just another spectator.”

William Carlson, a Santa Monica resident, explained how he heard of the event through his surfing neighbor. Just a couple of months ago, Carlson moved here from Ohio, where surfing is almost nonexistent.

“I just thought I had to come check this out,” Carlson said. “Next year, when I've learned how to surf a little bit, I will definitely participate.”