CRESCENT CITY READY FOR THE NOLL LONGBOARD CLASSIC

September 30, 2008 11:00 pm

By Kurt Madar

Pilot Staff Writer

Longboarders, wax your board, suit up, and prepare for a three-day extravaganza of surfing, family and fun, because the 13th annual Noll Longboard Classic is paddling out beginning Saturday, Oct. 4.

"We're very excited," said Event Coordinator and Noll Surf & Skate owner Beverly Noll. "We can't wait for everyone to come back. It's like one big family."

Surfers of all ages and skill levels make their way to Crescent City's South Beach each year to take part in the two days of festivities. The only requirement is that their boards must be 9 feet or longer.

The annual competition kicks off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3-4. And there is a new wrinkle this year. Friday, Oct. 3, will be the first Noll Stand-Up Surfer Classic.

"Stand-up surfing is very popular in Southern California and up here," Noll said.

Stand-up surfing, while being a relatively new take on wave riding, actually hails back to surfing's Polynesian roots.

"The roots of stand-up surfing reach back more than 100 years ago when wave riders in Hawaii used paddles and wood planks for transportation," reported the Christian Science Monitor.

The modern stand-up paddle surfer rides a board that is big enough and stable enough to stand on in flat water. Instead of lying on boards and paddling with their hands, stand-up surfers actually have a paddle on a long pole that they use to move through the water and catch waves.

The Noll stand-up surfer competition starts at 10 a.m. Friday with a race around Muscle Rock, which is off the coast near the Beachcomber Restaurant at 1400 Highway 101. Then, at 11:30 a.m. the first of three 20-minute stand-up surfing heats begin, followed by an awards ceremony.

The Noll Longboard Classic, which starts the day after the stand-up surfing competition, is dedicated this year to "Kapunas."

"In the Hawaiian language Kapuna means respected oldtimer," Noll said. "Our heaviest entered category is The Dukes."

The Dukes category is full of Kapunas. It is comprised of surfers age 50-59.

The first Noll Longboard Classic was in 1996 and it was started by the Noll family.

"The reason why we started the contest was out of competitive spirit," said Rhyn Noll, Beverly's son. "We simply wanted a local venue we could compete in. Over the years our focus changed, and the contest became more of a family event. We started to see the young surfers growing up in our midst and we realized what a huge part we were playing in in these young surfers lives. The old adage is true, it does take a village to raise our youth, and the Noll Longboard Classic is doing its part."

The competition is sponsored by more than 37 area businesses spanning everything from tires and radio stations to liquor stores and restaurants.

"We have a lot of people that keep coming back year after year," Noll said. "It's very popular and we get lots of great comments."

One 9-year-old boy who had been involved in the contest in previous years even drew a picture of himself riding an enormous wave in the company of a shark.

"I'm going to be a millionaire," the thought bubble read.

The longboard contest begins with the Super Heat, a competition of last year's Longboard Classic winners in honor of students at Del Norte High School who received a Noll Scholarship.

Noll Scholarships are sponsored by All-Star Liquors, GB's BBQ and the Chart Room Restaurant.

On the beach for the whole weekend, participants and spectators can purchase food, coffee, clothing and jewelry.

Raffle prizes will be given out each day, and the contest ends Sunday with Wipe Out Night, a no-host, buffet-style dinner held at the Chart Room Restaurant.

People interested in competing or volunteering can contact Noll Surf & Skate at (707) 465-4400.