CARLSBAD — Carlsbad is gearing up for the “funnest-ever” summer kick-off beach party — the fifth annual State Beach Classic: A Tribute to Banning Capps.
Held at Tamarack State Beach on June 2, the surfing competition — limited to Carlsbad residents — aims to hail the beauty of everything Carlsbad while gathering families to celebrate each other.
Ulises Thomas, the event’s coordinator and “visionary,” will showcase Carlsbad’s “hotbed” of novice and professional surfing talent against a backdrop of “great” food, music, sand contests and overall beach fun.
The all-day revelry begins at 8 a.m. with the singing of the National Anthem by Anthony Cullens. The event is free with the exception of a nominal surfing fee.
“Family’s the word of the day,” Thomas said. “This isn’t a surf contest where you surf, you lose, you leave. Our State Beach Classic is a day of families and friends hanging out, eating great food, listening to awesome music, winning raffle prizes, running in sand contests and watching surfers. It’s a day of entertainment with surfing as an added bonus.”
Thomas described the festivities as organic in growth and legendary in production. Emblematic of local surf cultures, The State Beach Locals Surf Club began as a way to enjoy the sport and protect the ocean. The clique boasted their talents as the “best surfers in town,” as they did their reputation as “hardcore protectors of the ocean.”
“Back in the day Carlsbad had underground, bootleg surf contests,” Thomas said. “We’d surf and judge and heckle each other to the next level and then share a Hawaiian luau or barbecue. We were territorial with our beaches, our waters, and our town. No one was allowed to be disrespectful to our friends or the ocean.”
Upon the tragic death of cohort Banning Capps, their “angel of peace and love,” the event lay dormant. Thomas resurrected the day as a tribute to his beloved friend.
“Banning would be happy,” he said.
Thomas compared the event’s early years to Woodstock. Lacking sponsors, and therefore a budget, cloth signs served as banners and word-of-mouth provided an audience. The community responded in “droves.”
“I’ve watched the State Beach Classic grow from a poker table and eight chairs to sponsors the likes of Toyota,” said Tony Mata, retired pro surfer and longtime mentor. “Ulises brings a tour-quality event to Carlsbad.”
Thomas remained diligent in networking and cultivating relationships through “six degrees of separation.”
“I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who’s willing to be a sponsor,” he said. “People came on board as they saw what a great event — one of love and respect — we produced. Community involvement and sponsorships have grown every year.”
“The State Beach Classic gives the Carlsbad community so much,” Mata said. “The younger generation experiences more than a surfing contest. Kids watch and learn how to be a good sport. The sport’s kept in good light. Kids have a blast in contests that even includes a beach cleanup.”
Mata stressed the importance of delineating from a surfer’s reputation as a pot and drug head.
“Our message is to stay smart, stay healthy and stay strong,” he said.
Divisions include Push-In — a youth division that allows parents to “push kids into waves to have some fun” — Groms, Juniors, Men, Masters, Grand Masters, Women, and the Long Board.
The Clash of the Titans — the pro division — will crown the waters as winners from the previous four years prepare to “battle it out.”
Net profits will benefit The Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad and Carlsbad High School’s Banning Capps Scholarship Fund.
Thomas, born and raised in Carlsbad, acknowledged the importance of the services offered by the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club.
“The Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club has been a big part of our lives, now it’s time to give back to them,” he said.
“We’re thrilled to be a beneficiary for the State Beach Classic,” said Pat Maldi, director of events Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club. “The State Beach Locals are — and always have been — dedicated to our community and the social safety net that we provide. Despite our extremely low fees, we give over $500,000 to families as financial aid. Event donations, such as this, allow us to serve even more families. It’s a pleasure to work with an organization that supports our efforts as we support theirs.”
Sponsors include the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club, Carlsbad Juncal Realty, Seaworthy Boardshop, Breakwater Brewing Company, Fatal, Hurley, Helldorado, Vita Coco, Filtrate Eyewear, Digital Solutions Marketing, Vans, Hoven, Rockstar Energy Drink, Knockout Pizza, State Farm/Hugh Kollar, Body Glove, Farmer’s Insurance, Drop N, Sun Diego, New Balance, Eco Water, Toyota of Carlsbad, Sticky Bumps Wax, Pizza Port, Fay Neff Fabrications, Gnarly Wood, Zinka Suncare, Ray Neff, CBD for Life and “most of all, the people of Carlsbad. “
“The only thing better than spending a day with family is spending a day with family at a Carlsbad Beach,” concluded Mata.
“The fifth annual State Beach Classic: A Tribute to Banning Capps is fun day where everyone walks away with love,” Thomas said.
For more information, contact Ulises Thomas Ulises@stickybumps.com
Lucia Viti is a seasoned journalist, photojournalist and published author who covers all regions in feature and news reporting. Sporting a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of West Virginia, she spent 20 years in New York in the fields of Public Relations, Advertising and Medical Communications. Her love for outdoor sports landed her in Carlsbad in 1999 where she segued into news and feature reporting. Her photographs are sold locally in artisan shops throughout the County.