Hello Kitty Boardfest has upgraded the grand finale of its all-new, all-girl surf festival series to be held at the Huntington Beach Pier, October 15 to 17, 2004. The four-star, World Qualifying Series (WQS)-rated event will attract the world’s best short and longboard surfers battling for an overall prize purse of $21,500.
Led by all-stars like Serena Brooke (AUS), Heather Clark (South Africa), Holly Beck (Palos Verdes) and Jacqueline Silva (Brazil), 64 world-class women, representing America, Australia, Brazil, France, Hawaii, South Africa, South America and New Zealand will compete in the $20,000 shortboard division. Mary Osborne (Santa Barbara) and Maureen Drummy (San Clemente) lead the 32 women strong, $1,500 longboard division. In addition to a check and trophy, winners in each division receive an ultra-cool Hello Kitty television.
Hello Kitty Boardfest is the next to last stop on the 2004 Surfing America Tour and will play a critical role in determining the sport’s national champion. Along with the WQS season ending O’Neill Cold Water Classic (held the following weekend in Santa Cruz), Boardfest will help qualify competitors onto the elite 2005 World Championship Tour (WCT) since it is one of only four domestic events for women rated four-stars or above, the threshold required to impact the grand prix level.
“Hello Kitty Boardfest is a great opportunity for young American surfers to gain experience and valuable ratings points, said Holly Beck, who endorses Hello Kitty and helped define the Boardfest concept. “The combination of an amateur-level clinic with pro shortboard and longboard divisions is a dream come true for me and one step closer to achieving the goals of the International Womens Surfing (IWS) organization, as well as giving the sport something it has been missing.”
An added bonus of Boardfest’s October timeframe is the historically good weather and surf conditions at the famed Pier. According to Surfline.com’s Sean Collins, “The weather in October is typically warm with light Santa Ana wind conditions a distinct possibility. We also receive a combination of swells from the South and Northwest in October, which create clean and “peaky” waves at Huntington. This could create a scenario of epic conditions for the girls.”
Hello Kitty Boardfest at Huntington Beach follows on the heels of the inaugural Hello Kitty-backed extravaganza, August 28 — 29 at El Porto Beach (42nd Street, Manhattan Beach), won by Floridian Karina Patroni. A major hit with family members, friends and general beach-goers at El Porto — to be expanded at Huntington — was a variety of games and activities such as a rock climbing wall, moon bounce house, surf obstacle course, mechanical surfboard, sand castle building and hula-hoop contests open to the public, free-of-charge.
Helping bridge the gap between the top pros and America’s next generation of competitive surfers, Holly Beck headlines daily surf clinics and is among the top women playing hands-on roles, educating and instructing surfer girls on how to take their surfing skills to the next level. HB Wahine Surf School is lending its knowledge and talented staff. Each paid clinic participant receives an incredible Hello Kitty goody bag, souvenir T-shirt, lunch and refreshments.
Each “Hello Kitty Boardfest clinic will culminate with participants competing in an actual team event featuring the same judges, announcers and contest staff utilized in the pro event. In addition to Holly, Prue Jeffries (AUS), Siri Coto (Calif.) and Mary Osborne are expected to coach and compete. Participation in the surf clinic requires an entry fee and spaces will be limited (details available at www.boardfest.com).
“Sanrio (Hello Kitty parent company) wants to show our support for the girls and women who have made Hello Kitty the pop icon she is today, says marketing director Bill Hensley. “Boardfest, with its just-for-girls surf clinic and women’s ppro contests, is a great way to do just that.