This past weekend was ZJ Boarding House’s annual Haunted Heats Halloween surf contest. At this point in my life, ZJs is my local surf shop (but sorry ZJs, my loyalty still truly lies with Katin where I grew up). It’s a sweet little shop on Main Street in Santa Monica, and for residing in a “beach town” as “de-surf-ified” as Santa Monica, the shop is pretty killer. The guys (and girls) that work there are all cool and they have a good selection of quality stuff. If you’re in town, stop by and pick up a sweatshirt or something.
The annual Haunted Heats surf contest is probably one of my favorite days on the beach all year. Inevitably a few of my friends will “compete,” and it’s always a spectacle. Mind you, you don’t get points in the contest for ripping, the first half of a surfers score is established during the costume contest, where every participant must “act” out their costume. Watching grown men awkwardly parade around on the beach, and pre-teen kids painfully and awkwardly work through the routines their parents have helped them devise is entertaining. There are always numerous takes on local “celebrities” like the Venetian blind man and the big clown sculpture on the corner of Rose and Main. The second half of a surfer’s points are in fact collected during the “surf” portion – though again, smashing the lip is not key – it’s all about how well you surf “in costume.” For example, if you are a Mexican wrester, you better be practicing your pile driver off your nine foot log.
In LA it seems like there are fewer and fewer times that people are really brought together in a light hearted, playful sort of way. Somehow many social situations have this overarching feel that they are still about whose’s cuff in their jeans have the tightest crease, but ZJs continually brings the local community together for legit, entertaining, and fun events. 14 year old zombie cheerleaders and men wearing giant chicken suits help. Though it’ s not just their Haunted Heats suft contest, but things like their outdoor surf movie screenings on the lawn at the Victorian. Thanks, ZJs, for keeping it real. See you next year.
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