Kings and queens of the beach

Hundreds turn out for 15th annual Unsound Surf Pro event


Nine-year-old Long Beach resident Michaelangelo Marino had never surfed before last week, when he attended the Skudin Surf camp and learned how to ride a wave.

“We really applaud the Skudins,” his father, John, said of the Skudin family, who have been teaching surfing for more than 30 years. “Not only was it a great learning experience for him, but they also focused on ethics, taking care of your friends and looking out for each other in the water — it was a family-oriented experience.”

Just days after Michaelangelo’s surfing lessons, the West School student decided to enter last Sunday’s King and Queen of the Beach contest for surfers 18 and under, part of the 15th annual Unsound Surf Pro event and presented by Unsound, Skudin Surf and the City of Long Beach.

Hundreds gathered along National Boulevard beach for Unsound’s professional surfing contest last Saturday and Sunday, in which 48 competitors vied for a $5,000 prize purse. The event featured assorted contests such as the King and Queen of the Beach and pro surfer Balaram Stack’s Strong Island Airshow, presented by Volcom.

“He thought he’d give it a try,” John Marino said of his son, adding that he not only made it through the first round, but also advanced to the semifinals.

“He was on a foam training board, not a fancy surfboard, and he caught some really good waves during the contest and he got through the first round,” Marino said. “He was up there against 12-year-olds who have been surfing for years, and he basically learned how to surf a week ago. He had a great day out there, and he really needed the confidence boost.”

Michaelangelo was among 180 competitors, girls and boys, in the King and Queen of the Beach contest, titles claimed by surfers Jared Bono and Erin Kohler. Most of the participants attended Skudin Surf camp, said Cliff Skudin, co-founder and president of Skudin Surf Inc., which, he said, helps build self-esteem and improves other areas of students’ lives.

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