Shredding Plastic

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New Sport Combines Surfing, Skating and Big Blue Tarps

 

Local tarp surfer Amir Soleimany, 13, catches a wave.

 

It’s surfing, it’s skating, it’s the parachute game, it’s… Tarp surfing!

It’s a new sport, or hobby, or just something to do when the waves are almost nonexistent, and it’s been gaining popularity at coastal cities across the country, including Newport Beach.

“It’s brand new, most people don’t know what it is,” said local surfer, skater and tarp surfer, Parker Reposa.

It’s an alternative to surfing when the waves are small, said a few of the local tarp surfers.

Reposa, 15, along with friends Landon Knight, 15, Hunter Wetton, 15, Amir Soleimany, 13, David Karamardian, 14, Tyler Gaede, 15, Evan Schwartz, 15, and Max Kline, 15, are shredding blue plastic all over Newport Beach.

They usually do it at basketball courts, empty streets, parks or anywhere they can find a flat, hard surface.

A few other kids in the area have been tarp surfing too, they said, but not a lot. It hasn’t gained a lot of popularity in the area yet.

It’s only a few simple steps to go tarp surfing, the boys said.

First, get a huge blue tarp from the hardware store, lay it out flat and weigh it down with rocks or something heavy along the edges. Customizing the tarp with art is optional.

Next, pull one corner up and run in sync with the wind, so the wind is pushing at the tarp, toward the other corner, creating a “wave.”

As one person creates the plastic wave, or two if it’s a really big tarp, another skates through the tunnel.

Tarp surfing allows surfers to get the feeling of a tube ride, or something fairly close, when the real thing just isn’t happening out on the water.

“If the waves are bad, that’s the time to do it,” Wetton said. “You get the same feeling as if you were surfing.”

“The best conditions for tarp surfing is a little breeze and you want to make sure you’re pulling it into the wind, so it holds it up and makes the barrel a lot bigger,” Reposa said.

They learned about it after watching a Mountain Dew commercial on TV.

“They had a giant tarp,” Knight said.

According to surfertoday.com, tarp surfing is the new action sports trend born between the California surfers and skateboarders. It all started in the mid-90s, but has evolved over the years, according to the website.

The local Tarp Surfers (left to right) Landon Knight, 15, David Karamardian, 14, Hunter Wetton, 15, Parker Reposa, 15, and Amir Soleimany, 13.

The Newport group would like to push the trend further by trying bigger tarps, different locations, and maybe somehow do a snowboard version.

“It’d be fun to do it on a steep hill,” Soleimany said.

It would be cool to promote it and have competitions, they all agreed.

Videography and photography are a big part of it too, they said.

They use their regular skateboards, no need for any special equipment. They have put body boards on their skateboards though. Knight once used his long board and a broom, paddleboard style.

They sometimes do tricks while riding the tarp waves, from both the skateboarding and surfing worlds. Tricks and moves like the drop knee from body boarding and ollies from skateboarding.

There have been a few injuries while tarp surfing in this group of guys, but just minor injuries, they said.

“You don’t really get hurt,” Knight said. “You just fall off and get right back up.”

There are a few ways a tarp surfing accident could happen, they said.

The person pulling the tarp needs to do it just so, or else it could all come crashing down around the surfer/skater. Getting air under the tarp or wrinkles or folds in it can cause a crash as well, the guys said. Rocks can be problematic too, they added. And the surfer/skater has to be sure not to run into the tarp puller, Soleimany added.

“You [skate] in between the guy and the curling part of the tarp,” he said.

Skating and surfing is a lifestyle, Karamardian said. Tarp surfing is just a way to bring the two together.

Click here to see the first video the group made of them tarp surfing, and here for their second video. Both can be found online by visiting www.foundationphotography.com, click on blog/videos and then archive.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a much safer version of the old skateboard “wave” riding trick we used to do as kids growing up in Newport.

    Which was to use a garage door and an automatic garage door opener to create a wave as you “surfed” through it as it came down as it closes.

    Now with roll up garage doors the norm these days that old school skateboarding practice is gone.

    DON”T TRY IT AT HOME KIDS, IT IS/WAS DANGEROUS!