My Name is Linda Benson. I would like to hold the Women's World Longboard Championships (WWLC) at Swami's in October of 2010. I was born and raised in Encinitas. I first surfed Swami's in 1956. I was 12 years old. It was a time when you would see the trucks of Dale Velzy and Hobie Alter parked in the lot. Phil Edwards and L.J. Richards often surfed the point and surfers came from up and down the coast to surf the world-class waves. We were happy to share. There was a true sense of a joyous camaraderie we shared surfing Swami's.
Since 1999, women longboarders have been gathering to compete in a world longboard championship. This event began in Costa Rica and has traveled to different parts of the world. Women's longboarding has carried with it a sense of a joyous camaraderie that has not changed as I have watched it grow. It is for this reason that in 2005, I decided to acquire the rights to the Women's World Longboard Championship (WWLC). I asked women longboarders for their blessing and they agreed. I wanted to create an event that celebrated the spirit of friendship that this sport exhibits.
In 2006, this event moved to Biarritz, France. It had grown to attract the ASP's attention and women longboarders wanted to pursue an ASP sanctioned title. The event has been locked in Biarritz, France for the last 4 years. As a part of my continuing commitment to women longboarders, I recently reached out to see if this location was still desired by the majority of women longboarders. What I discovered was that there was an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with the expense of traveling to France for the event. We want to bring the event back to the U.S., minus the possibility of an ASP sanction, to renew the spirit I remember in the water from the 1950's at Swamis with the spirit of what women's longboarding is today.
As a longtime local of Encinitas, I felt that this event would be a great opportunity for Encinitas to celebrate with women longboarders as we continue to honor the spirit of our sport.
Swami's is a world-class wave, arguably the best wave in the area; a truly perfect venue for a World Championship. It is also a coastal sanctuary sometimes at odds with its community. Every full moon, hundreds of people walk the beaches, gazing into tide-pools as they enjoy the low tides. This traffic damages the reefs. There are also concerns about the impact on the fragile sandstone cliffs. While I respect the current no-impact philosophy of environmental preservation, I believe that it is time to actively impact the surrounding environment of Swami's.
It is our intention, with the proceeds from this event, to create a foundation that will positively impact this beach we all love. The non-profit Swami's Foundation will focus on the education of the community about these specific environmental concerns, amongst other valuable contributions. We intend to work closely with the Foundation, as it grows to be an integral part of the health and history of Swami's beach.
The WWLC places a heavy emphasis on giving back to the community. All net profits will go to the Keep a Breast Foundation (October is Breast Cancer Awareness month), the Swami's Foundation, and other non-profits spanning the health, environmental, social and historical fields that will be supported at the event. There will also be a beach clean-up the Monday after the event.
Concerning the event itself, we want to keep the contest set-up at Swami's small and "garden-like", respecting the sanctuary feeling and vibe of Swami's and the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). We want to incorporate the community in the event through a surf festival that would be on lower K Street, on the other side of the SRF. A shuttle would run between Moonlight Beach and K Street, in order to alleviate some of the parking concerns. The contest and festival would be designed to draw cross-generational families and visitors while consciously respecting the venue.
Regardless of the size of the prize purse, the WWLC has traditionally been a relatively small, respectful event that has encouraged healthy competition and provided a venue for female longboarders the world over to come together to celebrate the spirit of their sport.
We believe that not all competitions are created alike and that there is room at Swami's for the modest 4 day event we propose.
We believe that healthy competition vitalizes not only competitors, but the community that hosts the event.
We believe that we can leave a positive, lasting impact on a site that many, including us, respect and revere.
We hope that you will join us in supporting this endeavor.
"On, on, untiringly came Rajendra's horse, oblivious to all but the joy of competition."
-From Autobiography of a Yogi, written by Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship at Swami's Point, Encinitas
5X U.S. Champion
International Surfing Hall of Fame
Two-time World Champion
2x U.S. Champion