Surfers enjoy good vibes, waves at Ratopia Classic - Palos Verdes Peninsula News : Peninsula Newspaper - Sports

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Surfers enjoy good vibes, waves at Ratopia Classic

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Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 1:05 pm | Updated: 1:14 pm, Wed Dec 20, 2017.

Over the last few years, it seems not only the conditions, but the turnout at the annual Ratopia Surf Classic is continuing to get better.

The 13th installment of the event was held Saturday morning at Torrance Beach, and with more than 70 participants competing, conditions were favorable for those not only enjoying the water but those taking in the event from the beach.

“The waves were a lot better (this year) than last year,” said Palos Verdes High sophomore Savannah Scriven. “It’s almost like a summer day. The weather is a lot calmer, too.”

In 2016, windy conditions proved to make the waves not nearly as rideable as they were Saturday morning, where conditions were four-to-six feet with clean offshore winds.

With all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, surfers were ready for the 7 a.m. start, not only to compete against friends but to enjoy another morning in the water.

“This event is a lot of fun – it’s definitely laid back,” Scriven said. “I do it to have fun and it’s for a good cause. There’s a lot of good vibes overall.”

While Scriven was one of two females to participate Saturday morning, she was part of a horde of PV High surfers to partake in one of the five water events. The two contests that did not take place in the water were the pie-eating contest and the inaugural 6K.

“It’s great to see (the kids from PV High) are excited to do this event,” said event director and 2002 Peninsula High alumni Nick Weber. “Their surf team has a big presence down here.”

That presence was also noticeable when it came to the winners circle.

Scriven took the top spot in women’s longboard, and Will Allen out-surfed several of his PV High teammates to take the top spot in the mens shortboard final. Rodney Buck took second, Briggs Peus placed fourth and Shane Gherardi finished fifth.

In the longboard final, PV’s Leonardo Monticello earned a first-place finish while Hayden Gunson placed second. Teammate Trevor Kahn took fourth and Buck came in fifth.

“This event is a lot of fun – you get to surf with a bunch of your friends from the (South Bay) area,” Buck said. “It doesn’t really get competitive until the final.”

The laid-back feel at the event was on full display during the inaugural body surfing competition. The judges from the South Bay board riders stepped aside, letting five surfers from PV High judge the competition.

Weber, who put his wetsuit on for the first time in a few years at Ratopia, competed against his father, Rocky Weber, in the bodysurfing event.

“I’ve never bodysurfed against my dad. It was a lot of fun,” Weber said. “He use to be a good body surfer in New Jersey.”

While Weber kept things simple over the first 12 years of the event, the addition of the 6K and the bodysurf event were part of an attempt to inject some new ideas into Ratopia.

“(Adding some) variety has helped the contest grow, Weber said. “If we have as good of a year (next year) as we have this year, it would be a success. But I’d definitely like to see more females participating.”

Karsten Wanke took the top spot in the 13-and-under groms event, while Tim Ecker took first in the bodysurf event.

To date, Ratopia has raised $13, 000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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