Loosley translated from Hawaiian, "Kahuna Kupuna" means "Big Chief Wise Elder" which is a good name for the only amateur surf contest in the world that is specifically designed for older surfers age 40 and over. This year's contest will be the 20th Annual (Can you believe it?!?!) Kahuna Kupuna and will take place on Saturday, July 13, 2019 from 7:00 AM until 5:30 PM at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, CA with the post-contest dinner and awards celebratioin taking place at the Pacifica Moose Lodge, 776 Bradford Way, Pacifica from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
This unique event offers separate subdivisions for both men and women all the way up to age 80 and beyond for longboard AND shortboard surfers. Many contestants choose to surf in multiple divisions. As a result, we hand out a lot of trophies at the post-contest awards dinner at the end of the day. More information about the many different types of sub-divisions can be found in the FAQ section.
In addition to the many kupuna sub-divisions, we offer the Intergenerational Team Division - to provide an opportunity for younger surfers under 40 to join the over 40 surfers in the contest as part of an Intergenerational Team. Kupuna surfers are encouraged to form Intergenerational teams that include surfers under 40. These teams are comprised of 6 members each and must represent three generations. One generation = 18 years. More information on how to form teams can be found in the FAQ section.
The Kahuna Kupuna is the primary fundraiser for Pacifica's Environmental Family, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization in Pacifica, CA whose mission is to promote the discovery of and caring for the wealth of natural resources in Pacifica. Net proceeds from the contest underwrites PEF's annual operating expenses. PEF is the official sponsor of the Kahuna Kupuna. More information about PEF can be found below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where will the contest take place along Linda Mar Beach? It’s a big beach!
It depends on where we think the waves will be best on 7/13/2019 based on the surf forecast and our local knowledge. A decision on where to set things up is made at 4:00 PM the day before the contest. We usually set up somewhere near the north parking lot or south parking lot. (i.e. either side of Taco Bell or the Pumphouse at the north end of the north parking lot.) If the waves are forecast to be big, we’ll set up between Taco Bell and the Pedro Creek mouth. If the waves are running small, we’ll set up anywhere from the north parking lot to the portion of the beach near Crespi Ave. When you get to the beach, look for a bunch of shade tents and a judge’s stand. That will be the contest site. Come join us.
Transportation and Parking Information
Car pool as much as possible. Parking will be scarce after 7:30 AM.
For those without an annual beach parking pass, parking in the main south or north lots (either side of Taco Bell) closest to the beach costs $7.00 for 4 hours and $9.00 for the whole day.
Please don’t park in the Safeway shopping center’s lot or the Pedro Point Shopping Center’s lot. You’ll probably get a ticket or, worse, towed.
Free parking is available in the Cal Trans lot across the street from the Safeway Shopping Center along Linda Mar Blvd. It’s a short walk to the beach but watch out for drivers who are not paying attention to pedestrians. Make eye contact with them. Cross all intersections with thoughtful awareness. And stay off your phones!
Free parking is also available along Crespi Blvd. or Linda Mar Blvd. but it’s a bit of a hike from there – about a 1/4 mile or so – from these free parking zones to the contest site.
We will have drop off/pick up zones set up near Taco Bell and the Pump House for those who need to drop off your beach stuff and then find parking somewhere besides the beach parking lots. The time limit will be 10 minutes to unload your stuff. You’ll need to arrange for someone to watch your stuff when you leave and go find parking.
For local bus transportation, go to www.samtrans.com/schedulesandmaps.html
BART: The Colma BART station is the closest station to Linda Mar Beach. SamTrans buses, taxis, LYFT and UBER serve this station and can drop you off close to Linda Mar Beach. Or get a friend to pick you up.
What are the Age Requirements for the Kahuna Kupuna?
The Kahuna Kupuna is a contest primarily designed for older surfers; hence the age range for the many different Kupuna divisions is 40 and up. The youngest kupuna sub-division from 40 to 49 is known as the “Junior Kupuna”, by the way.
With that said, there is one way for a surfer under 40 to get in on the action:
Intergenerational Team Division: This division was created specifically to provide surfers under 40 an opportunity to participate in the Kupuna. The best way to get onto an Intergenerational Team if you’re under age 40 is to be invited to be on a team by a Kupuna surfer. So, if you want to be on an Intergenerational Team, ask your favorite Kupuna surfer to form a team that includes you on it or find someone who already plans to form a team and ask them if you could join their team.
If you want to be put on a list of surfers under age 40 who is interested in getting on a team but don’t know anyone to ask, please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll see what we can do. No guarantees though.
Please don’t register for the Intergenerational Team division unless you already know you’ll be on an Intergenerational Team.
How many sub-divisions are there for men and women contestants age 40 and up?
The number of potential sub-divisions that a contestant age 40 and up can enter is three unless we add a SUP division pending available room in the contest. In that case, there would be 4 sub-divisions but let’s stick with the following sub-divisions for now:
Longboard Sub-Division for their age group in either the women’s or men’s category.
Shortboard Sub-Division for their age group in either the women’s or men’s category.
Intergenerational Team Division (all ages, all genders, all types of surfing vehicles) pending being invited to be on a team by a Kupuna Surfer who wants to organize a team)
Why isn’t there a SUP sub-division?
We most likely won’t have room for that sub-division in this contest due to all the other sub-division categories in this contest. Sorry! We love SUP surfers but we will likely not have enough room due to the way this contest is set up.
With that said, the Intergenerational Team division allows any kind of board to be ridden by a team member and that includes SUPs. It also includes body boards, kayaks and surf skis along with shortboards and longboards or anything else you want to ride a wave with.
If we find that we have room for a SUP division, we’ll announce that about two weeks before the contest and take beach registrations for those that want to compete in that heat. But, again, we’ll only do this if we discover we have room to do this as the date of the contest draws closer.
How long is a heat?
They are about as long as it takes to read this FAQ. All heats will be 15 minutes in length with a maximum of 7 surfers in a heat. Most heats will have 6 surfers or less in them, though.
How many waves can a contestant catch in their heat?
Four waves per heat per contestant. After your 4th wave, you’re done. Come in. Each additional wave will result in the elimination of that surfer’s highest score in the heat.
How much does it cost to enter the contest for surfers age 40 and up?
The base entry fee for all contestants age 40 and up is $80.00. So, if you plan in surfing in only one sub-division, then your total entry fee will be $80.00.
If an entrant age 40 and up wants to enter two sub-divisions they are eligible for, the total entry fee is $100.
If an entrant age 40 and up wants to enter three sub-divisions they are eligible for, the total entry fee is $110.
So, to recap, all surfers 40 and up can enter up to 3 divisions: Longboard, Shortboard and Intergenerational. If you just enter one of them, your registraton fee is $80, if you enter two of them, your entry fee is $100 and if you enter three of them, your entry fee is $110.
How much does it cost to enter the contest for a surfer under age 40 who has been invited to be part of an Intergenerational Team?
The entry fee for a surfer under age 40 who has been invited to be on an Intergenerational Team is $40.00.
By the way, if a surfer is age 40 and over and is invited to be part of an Intergenerational Team, their base entry fee is still is $80.00 even if they JUST enter the Intergenerational Team ... or more if they also surf in the other divisions for which they are eligible.
Why do surfers under age 40 only have to pay $40?
Answer: Because they can only surf as a contestant during their Intergenerational Team’s 15 minute heat.
What do I get for my contest entry besides being able to surf in the contest?
Each contestant will receive a t-shirt, a dinner ticket to the post-contest dinner and awards ceremony at the Moose Lodge and a unique handmade trophy if you place in the top 3 of your finals in your sub-division(s).
Are the women’s and men’s sub-division heats separate or do women and men surf together in the same heat?
We have separate sub-divisions with separate heats for women and men for the divisions that are limited to surfers age 40 and up. In other words, men will only compete against other men and women will only compete against other women. But, read on! Because there is an exception to the above…
For the Intergenerational Team division, we do not have separate heats for men and women. A team can include a mix of women and men as team members and are encouraged to do so. Each team surfs together in their own heat. Team members compete with one another rather than against one another. The team that scores the most points wins. For more information about Intergenerational Teams, see below in this FAQ.
Does it cost anything to just come and watch the contest?
Spectators are free and encouraged to be there. The more, the merrier. EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COME TO THE CONTEST AND WATCH AND ENJOY A DAY ON THE BEACH. This is a public event and great for the entire family. Some of the best surfers in the Bay Area and beyond surf in this contest, so the quality of the surfing tends to be quite high. We will be raffling great prizes all day long, including three brand new surfboards. In addition, we’ll have a DJ spinning some great surf and other types of music throughout the day. We invite you to take a day off and hang out with us at the beach.
Why does the Kahuna Kupuna contest exclude younger surfers except for the Intergenerational Team?
We would love to include sub-divisions for younger surfers under age 40 but there’s only so much time during this one-day event. Due to the format of five-year increments for most of the age 40 plus kupuna sub-divisions, there just isn’t enough room to include younger surfers.
If another community group wants to organize a contest for younger surfers under age 40 on the day after the Kahuna Kupuna - Sunday, July 22nd – or at any other time during the year, contact Contest Director Roy Earnest and talk with him. He would be happy to share information on how to set up a contest. This other group would need to organize a separate group of volunteers to plan and run the contest and be able to pay for all costs associated with putting on this separate contest for younger surfers. We’d love to see that happen.
Why have a contest just for older surfers?
Good question! We're glad you asked. The Kahuna Kupuna was created for several reasons:
1. For many years, there has been a steady increase of older surfers yet there has never been a contest specifically designed for them. Now there is!
2. Promote healthy aging.
3. Foster a more “aging friendly” community. We think that people, after they reach a certain age, shouldn’t feel compelled to give up doing something that they love to do that gives meaning to their lives. This is an important message to get out there. Unfortunately, the culture we live in too often encourages people to make decisions about what they can do and can’t do simply because of their age. Depending on what it is they want to do, that might be a good decision but, many times, it’s a bad decision rooted in the dim view that our culture has on growing older and not based much on anything else. If an avid surfer decides to stop surfing after a certain age, it shouldn’t be determined by baseless societal norms but rather on their physical ability or desire to continue surfing. It should solely be an individual decision. This contest is intended to promote that point-of-view and empower all older adults to keep doing the things they love to do for as long as they can.
4. Create a surf contest for older surfers that offers a fair format in which to compete. Apart from the Junior Kupuna sub-division for surfers age 40 to 49, all the other kupuna sub-divisions are in five-year increments. For example, the Masters Kupuna sub-divisions age range is 50 to 54 and the Grand Masters Kupuna sub-divisions age range is 55 to 59. This format is unlike any other surf contest in the world, as far as we know as is one of the main reasons it has so much support from the same surfers year after year. For more details on all the various sub-divisions, see below for the answer to the question, “What are the various sub-divisions?”
5. Provide an opportunity for the surfing community to get together and have a good time. In this contest, it doesn't matter what surf club you belong to, which surf shop you're loyal to, whether or not your a local, a beginner, intermediate or expert surfer and, of course, we don't discriminate against anyone for any reason. EVERYBODY IS WELCOME.
6. Raise much-needed funds for Pacifica’s Environmental Family, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
OK. You have me curious. What are the various sub-divisions?
AGE RANGE DIVISION NAMES
40 – 49 Junior Kupunas (Men and Women; SB and LB)
50 – 54 Masters (Men and Women; SB and LB)
55 – 59 Grand Masters (Men and Women; SB and LB)
60 – 64 Super Masters (Men and Women; SB and LB)
65 – 69 Legends (Men and Women; SB and LB)
70 – 74 Grand Legends (Men and Women; SB and LB)
75 – 79 Super Legends (Men and Women) > 80 – 84 and so on and so forth .
INTERGENERATIONAL TEAM DIVISION
Intergenerational teams can Include Men, Women, Boys and/or Girls who ride any type of board or surf riding vehicle. We’ll have up to 6 Intergenerational Teams in this year’s contest.
An Intergenerational Team must include 6 surfers that represent 3 generations. At least 1 surfer must be under 20 years of age who will represent the youngest generation on your team. One generation = 18 years.
Here’s an example on how to form a team that represents three generations.
Surfer representing the youngest generation on this team = age 16.
Surfer representing the oldest generation on this team = age 60.
Surfer representing the middle generation on this team = must be between ages 34 to 42, in this example.
The other 3 surfers on this particular team can be any age.
Please use this example as a guide to form your own team.
OK. I’m seriously thinking about forming an Intergenerational Team. Do you have any further information you can give me so I set it up right?
Here’s how to form an Intergenerational Team (IT):
We will have a limit of 6 teams. If you know you will be putting together a team, please send us an email asap to [email protected] with the words INTERGENERATIONAL TEAM in the subject line. We’ll reserve a spot for your team.
Choose a captain of the team. That person’s job is to make sure each team member has paid their entry and signed the waiver prior to the contest. In addition, a team’s captain should keep in touch with their team members as the date of the contest draws near and make sure everyone knows when the team’s heat will take place on July 21st.
Recruit your members ahead of time. Start early. Don’t wait until a few weeks before the contest on 7/21. Make sure you have their contact information and they have yours so you can follow up with them as the contest date approaches. It’s important to be able to confirm that they’ll be able to show up on the day of the contest and surf for your team.
Teams MUST be comprised of 6 surfers each. Teams can include both male and female members and each team member can use the wave riding vehicle of their choice: longboard, shortboard, body board, knee board, mat, SUP, whatever.
Surfers on the same team can surf a wave together. There are no interference penalties in the IT sub-division but interfering with another surfer on your team will reduce your scores somewhat. If you can share a wave and look good while doing it, there will be no reduction in scores.
Each team surfs together in their own 15-minute heat. The team that scores the most points during their heat wins.
Among the 6 surfers on each team, a team must be comprised of surfers from three different generations. Since a “generation” is equal to 18 years, this means that at least three surfers must be at least 18 years older or younger than at least two other surfers on the team.
Each team must have at least one surfer under age 20, one surfer in their mid-to-late 30’s or early to mid-40’s and at least one surfer in their late 50’s or older. You can then fill out your team with three other surfers from any generation you choose.
Here’s an easy way to put together an Intergenerational Team:
Recruit a surfer under 20 to be on your team. That member of your team will represent the youngest generation of your team.
Recruit a surfer in their late 50’s or older. That member will represent the oldest generation on your team.
After you have chosen the youngest (under 20) and oldest (late 50’s plus) members of your team, it’s time to do some simple math.
Add 18 years to the age of your youngest team member. For example, if the youngest member of your team is 15, then (15 + 18 = 33) 33 would be the youngest age that the “middle generation” surfer could be on your team.
Subtract 18 years from the age of your oldest team member. For example, if the oldest team member is 60, then 42 would be the oldest age that the “middle generation” surfer could be on that team.
Using the example above, then at least one surfer on this team would need to be between the ages of 33 and 42 in order to represent the middle generation.
Again, once you have at least one surfer who represents at least one of the three generations, you can then fill out your team with 3 other surfers of any age.
Last steps: Name your team (e.g. Team Cochran) and make sure everybody enters the contest. If your team members are under age 40, their entry fee is just $40 because it’s the only division they can enter. Surfers under 18 must have their parent or guardian sign their entry form. (Contact contest organizers for a waiver form and we’ll send one to you via email.) For anyone else on your team who is age 40 or above, their entry fee would be either $80, $100 or $110 depending on how many sub-divisions they will be entering. If they only surf in the Intergenerational Team division, their entry fee is $80. Please make sure your team members’ entries are submitted by no later than July 14, 2018.
A team who does not have all 6 of their team members fill out an entry form, sign the waiver form and pay their entry fee by the deadline of July 14th will be disqualified.
What are the rules for contestants who surf in the contest?
HEATS are 15 minutes. Final heats are 15 minutes, unless otherwise announced at the contest.
Each heat will begin and end with one horn blast and display of a green flag. A five-minute warning will be given with TWO horn blasts and display of a yellow flag. At the conclusion of the heat, competitors will immediately return to the beach as the next heat begins. If a competitor stands up before the beginning of the heat, he/she will receive a “0” score for his/her highest scoring wave in that heat. Exiting competitors must not stand up after the conclusion of their heat. Violation of this will result in a deduction of the lowest scoring wave of the competitor's heat total.
Water Starts: Competitors may enter the water for their heat five minutes ahead of time. This will be signaled using the five-minute warning (two horn blasts). Competitors waiting for their heat to start must stay clear of the heat in progress and must paddle to either side of the main contest area. Failure to do so will result in a paddling interference, with a loss of the lowest scoring wave in that competitor's wave total.
EQUIPMENT – Longboards are at least 9’0 or 3 ft over a contestant’s head. Shortboards are 18” or less over contestant’s head but cannot be over 7’4”. Contestants assume responsibility if not using a leash.
WAVE COUNT – Maximum wave count and number of scoring waves will be based on contest surf conditions. Contestants will be advised of the maximum total of waves they may catch prior to the commencement of the heat. Upon reaching the maximum wave totals, competitors must exit the water. Wave count is YOUR responsibility. If you don’t know, ASK what the maximum wave count is before you paddle out. If you don’t know, assume its 4 waves. A surfer’s best 3 waves count towards their score with their lowest score being disregarded.
INTERFERENCE & WAVE POSSESSION
The first rider up, closest to the curl, has wave possession. In the event that two riders stand up at the same time, the rider closest to the curl has possession.
In the event that two riders stand up on an unbroken wave, the first competitor up has possession. (A standard reef and beach break rule). The other rider may take off in the opposite direction. To have possession of a wave, the rider must be on his/her feet in front of or in the curl after the first turn. Any action which impedes a contestant riding or taking off on a wave by dropping in, taking off, or paddling in front of the rider in possession will result in a SURFING INTERFERENCE and the infringer will lose his/her highest scoring wave in that heat. In cases where a rider is in front of another unknowingly or so appears to judges and if the rider exits with no impedance, no interference shall be called. (No harm, no foul).
SNAKE RULE – Paddling in front, around, or behind a competitor to impede and take wave possession is known as snaking. This will be considered interference and will result in a loss of the highest scoring wave of the “snaking competitor's” heat. Don’t be a scumbag snaker.
JUDGING will be on a 10-point system with half points. Competitors will be judged on style, wave selection, length of ride and controlled functional maneuvers. Shuffling, hopping back and forth and flapping on the surfboard – unless it is deemed integral in staying in a wave that is backing off before reforming on the inside - will be considered poor style and will not be scored as high as walking or stylish flowing and/or radical maneuvers.
PROTESTS must be filed in writing and placed in a protest box or tin within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the heat in question. You must speak with a contest director or the head judge (Izzy) only.
SPORTSMANSHIP – All contestants must demonstrate good sportsmanship. Any contestant who argues with a judge’s decision, uses profanity, fights, is overly aggressive to the point where judges think that it is not in the best interest of the contest, that individual will be disqualified. If you show up with the aloha spirit, it will make the whole contest mo’ bettah.
The JACK HANSEN RULE: Use of words such as "geezers", "curmudgeons", "Old Farts" and other ageist, pejorative terms are strictly prohibited on Saturday, July 13, 2019 before, during and after the contest. Punishment is a lecture about how these terms spread the scourge of ageism from Roy. (Smile)
NO ENTRY FORM and/or NO ENTRY FEE = DISQUALIFICATION FROM THE CONTEST: For any contestant who does not fill out and sign an entry form and/or does not pay the proper entry fee, they will be disqualified from the contest.
Questions? Send an email to [email protected] or call Roy at 650-438-6378.
Have you ever had to cancel a contest in the 19 years you have held this event?
No. Thank God! We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had to move the contest location along Linda Mar Beach a couple of times due to conditions being better up or down the beach as the tide changed but we usually don’t need to do this. We do everything we can to hold the contest in front of the most contestable waves on the day of the contest. If you are so inclined, please join us in praying for fun contestable surf on July 13th. Our motto: If a wave breaks, it can be surfed!
How can I contact the organizer with any questions about anything having to do with this event?
Questions can be emailed to [email protected] and we’ll get right back to you. You can also call 650-438-6378 and leave a message. This is a personal cell phone, so please don’t call before 7:30 AM or after 8:00 PM.
What is the refund policy?
Full refunds, minus EventBrite ticket fees, will be approved if we are notified by July 6, 2019 at Noon.