By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor
Top skimboarding professionals from around the world competed here last weekend in the 6th Annual Balboa Oktoberfest, held at the Balboa Pier.
Main Street Surf Shop and Exile Skimboards, along with many local and national sponsors, hosted the contest, the eighth and final stop on the United Skim Tour.
Bill “Beaker” Bryan entered the Balboa event in the lead for overall tour points, and locked up the tour championship with a win.
In addition to the approximately 40 professionals in contention, about 100 amateurs competed in several age groups as well as a girls division.
This is also the first time in the contest’s history that there was a professional girls division.
Professionals from all over the country and all over the world including Japan, Mexico, Germany, Holland, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, and France to name a few, made the trip to Newport to compete.
The total purse of the contest was around $7,500 with the winner receiving about $2,500 in addition to prizes from the sponsors including skateboards, sunglasses, wetsuits and more. Spectators even got in on the giveaways as towels, sunscreen and other prizes were randomly given away during the two-day contest.
The heats were broken up into three or four riders each and scores were compiled from the rider’s top 3 scored waves.
Skimboarding in Newport Beach has a rich history stretching from the Balboa Pier all the way to The Wedge at the end of the Peninsula. It’s still a sport in its infancy compared to surfing, but contests such as Oktoberfest are giving the sport more recognition and validity.