Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Swamis Meeting

Linda Benson gave an inspiring presentation. The contest is going to be good fun, and there is little doubt her contest won't trash Swamis. She is doing it for the community and is not taking a salary for her efforts.

The contest will be combined with a festival on K-street with 50 or so vendors. They will mitigate parking issues and she is going to have an Olympic village atmosphere. Coastkeeper is helping to green the contest and will be there to make sure the place is improved by the contest.

Benson said something close to, "Many worry about more contests at Swamis. It is not a good place for a contest unless it is were very small." The WWLC contest won't be big because there will only be 64 contestants. According to Benson the contest normally draws only a small crowd and its a very congenial group.

Commissioner Goad had a good comment, "It's really a contestant's event and not a spectator's event."

A bunch of people who know the promoter validated the claim that the contest was going to be small.

The contest will cost $130,000 to run and if any extra revenue comes in that goes to charity.

Tim Fields, a lawyer type, did a good job of supporting the contest. He also said that the number of contests should be limited, provide a public benefits, and go beyond serving just the local community by drawing people into the neighborhood.

Scott Bass spoke too. He spoke about how the absence of contests at Swamis made it a gem and that contests displace citizens from the beach. But a contest will bring more people to the beach and give people an opportunity learn about Swamis and its history.

Michelle X made a great case that Cardiff would be a great venue for a surf contest, but Cardiff is not a world class longboard break and you can't turn it into an Olympic village.

The goal of the contest is to provide opportunity for women surfers and to provide economic stimulus to the community. The whole thing will be a celebration of the spirit of women's surfing and beach culture.

The contest will be open to ALL women surfers, but there will be limited openings. Qualifying rounds will be at Moonlight.

Commissioner Valios asked Benson if her contest would truly be a world championship. I was convinced by Corri Schumacher that the pros would accept the WWLC winner as the true world champion even if the ASP crowns a world champion too.

Commissioner Greene asked a pressing question about the possibility of getting the genie back in the bottle after allowing nonreservable spots to be reserved. She asked Benson how many contests should be held at Swamis. I think this was the most troubling aspect of their presentation. Benson didn't really justify a number, but said that places like Malibu and Trestles have 3-4 contests a year.

Benson also noted that when two groups want the same permit slot at those surf breaks they are selected on their merit. As to the number of contests, she said there should definitely be a limit on the number of contests. Why limit or ban more contests? If one can be justified why not more? What if we can find sponsors for 5, 6, or 7 contests? If one helps the community why not help the community 7 times?

I think the whole community could get behind the contest. First, let's decide if we should have contests at Swamis, the criteria for issuing permits, and then issue permits based on a competitive approval process. I'm certain that all the supporters of the contests have no fear that the WWLC can come out on top. Going that route would win over the community, which is critically important to the success of the contest.


  1. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. I was there tonight and Benson never really answered any questions with any specifics. This whole thing is ass backwards. She hasn't even filed for a permit and Parks and Rec. had to listen to a bunch of crap. So she has a nice name and is recognizable in the community. She made that clear. Also, DEMA supports it which automatically makes me suspicious. Who is behind this? Swami's is not reservable and until the City comes up with guidelines as to when that should be broken, take this stupid contest an to Malibu.

  2. BAN, BAN, BAN


  3. No, on holding any contest at Swami's.

  4. Linda's a sell out... sell out Encinitas surf breaks for pure profit.

    Her event is harmful for the true joy of surfing and enjoying the beach.

    Linda's a SELLOUT!!!

  5. If permits are issued for swamis the community will be banned from surfing at a public beach for 4 days.

    Danny will also get up on the stage in front of 100s of go girls and be their knight, right before the election, and his years of sexism will be washed away.

    What a great campaign stop for Danny. The Chamber of Commerce is putting on a campaign kick off for Danny too with clowns and babysitters.

  6. What a shame. Leave Swamis alone.

    Swamis is not Trestles or Malibu.

  7. No contests in any encinitas public beach. Public beaches should be for the public not a select group of professional surfers.

  8. Just another LeucadianJanuary 20, 2010 8:48 AM

    I think Commissioner Green had it nailed. If we allow Linda to get her way, it opens the floodgates (no pun intended) for anyone to have a contest at Swami's. And, ANON is right about Danny boy. What a field day he could have with this. Elections are right around the corner from this event. NO on Swami's Longboard Contest.

  9. But Kevin-Linda said her only goal was to give back to the community.Yea, right. If she meant that, then why did she chose to divide the community? She has lived here long enough to know that was what would happen. She is an old woman who wants her final glory and if we are not careful she will get it.

  10. CobblestonecornerJanuary 20, 2010 10:05 AM

    Why must this happen?

    There are 3427 miles of tidal coatline in California.

    Why this one?

    Is it to drive the last stake thru the heart of southern california surfing? For pageantry? For a championship? Competition? Compete? To Win? To Beat other people? To be Better than other people?

    Ban Ban Ban, Hate Hate Hate?


    Preserve Preserve Preserve


    Do we always have to have a (blanking) winner? Over it...

  11. Dr. Lorri, as a P&R board member, this comment is for you.

    It's disturbing to me is that supporters cite "Linda's a great person, we support her" as their main reason for backing the contest. In reality most of these people are going along to get along. There are a mere handful of people that actually want it at Swamis -- the rest just want it somewhere in California. Read the comments on the petition, they say so in their own words.

    Speaking of their own words, quoting Linda from the Reader article (http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2009/nov/07/sacred-surf/)
    "If this happens,” says Benson, “we [intend] to raise the bar to such a high caliber that most promoters won't want to hold a contest there unless they are willing to make the same types of changes."

    I can't help but interpret this as Linda revealing her true feelings: that Swamis is a bad place for a contest. Unless it's for her, then it's OK.

    More of their own words:
    Last night at the meeting Cori said the surfers would accept the winner as the world champion (sorry Cori but you don't speak for everyone)...If you follow/know anything about women's surfing it's a given that Kassia Meador is the "face" of women's longboarding. She doesn't support this contest. Neither does current world champ Jen Smith. Like other girls who have worked hard to get where they are, they favor the ASP sanctioned contest -- the REAL contest with entry criteria. They oppose Linda's contest -- the world championship in name only with no entry criteria because it diminishes their hard work.

    Linda's contest is basically a big get together for her friends. Would the city lease out Swamis for any one else having a big get together? No, of course not, Swamis is NOT RESERVABLE.

    So, if the city lets this happen because of "who Linda is" and her personality, that not only sends the message that some people are more equal than others, but also lets the genie out of the bottle and sets the precedent that Swamis is fair game for events. It would be a shame to open Swamis up like that for a glorified beach party.

    Continued below.

  12. I know the city is concerned about revenue generation. I can say with certainty that the controversy surrounding this contest deters many vendors from participating in the beach fair. I, for one, will not be having a booth based solely on the fact that doing so would show support for this debacle and mark me and my business as "part of the group that ruined Swamis." There would be substantial long term loss and animosity from local customers that my business can't afford. If the contest is held elsewhere with no uproar from residents, I would be happy to reserve a booth.

    Another thing regarding city revenue.... These girls won't be staying in hotels in Encinitas. The majority of contestants who live in So. California live in Oceanside and outside Encinitas. Those who don't will be staying with friends. After all, according to the contestants, there's such a wonderful sense of camaraderie, they're all such good friends, etc. So not staying in hotels means not eating out and shopping in Encinitas, which means no city revenue. And since this is a "small event" doesn't that mean "small revenue"?

    Linda has flip flopped so many times. First we need a contest to save Swamis. Then we need it at Swamis because permits elsewhere are to expensive. Then we have a MAJOR sponsor but we still need it at Swamis even though now we've got the money. Now it's going to cost $130,000 so if anything is left over after that, maybe we can give it to charity. Sheesh! Pick something and stick to it. Bottom line is this is about, well, the bottom line. Linda's bottom line.

    If this is "for the women longboarders" why has Linda already thrown them under the bus by dragging out this controversy? When a major sponsor signed up why didn't she give up on Swamis and move it somewhere agreeable to everyone? The mere hint of any public backlash would be enough to make a reasonable person reconsider.

    It makes me laugh out loud that supporters of the contest accuse opponents of localism and greediness. Read the comments on Linda's petition. The gist of so many is, "The beach is for everyone. You can't deny these girls their contest."

    I agree that the beach is for everyone -- that's precisely why we don't want the contest!!! How is closing if off for 4 days to a small group while opening the door to future events/closures keeping it public? Residents want the beach to be open 24/7 to EVERYONE.

    We don't need this contest st Swamis and we don't want any events there either!!

  13. Excellent Post. Diddo.

  14. When the city gets sued by Americans with Disabilities over lack of access the goons at City Hall will see the NEGATIVE impact this contest really has.

  15. JP -- this is worth a post:

    This links to Cori's online journal & chronicles some interesting going ons like:

    Concerns and topics we brought to the table and/or were discussed:

    1.Women competitive longboarders desire a sense of coherency and consistency
    a. 6 year history with an event that has remained uncontested until this year

    2. Conflict of interest with two world championships
    a. What do we need to do to prevent this in the future?

    3.Involvement of the ASP
    a. Criteria
    b. Expectations
    c. Least possible involvement

    4.Growing our sport
    a. Tour possibilities
    b. ASP vision of our sport

    Definitely an interesting read!

  16. Anon 11:16 and Anon 12:20- Thank you both for the information. I always attempt to get as much information as possible and you raise some good points. I raised two points at the meeting. One was 12:20's concern about the Americans With Disabilities Act. I take this Act seriously. I believe that everyone who wants to get somewhere in this City should be able to do that. Living in a wheelchair, or living with any other challenge is hard enough. We do not need to compound it by making our City "user unfriendly". I think the City has done a good job on this, although perhaps I have not heard of everything. I am also concerned, as Kevin pointed out, about reversing the "non reservable" policy with regard to Swami's, or any other non-reservable site for that matter. I am not on the subcommitee, so I will wait until they have given us their report before I make my final decision and vote. Either way, it will most likely go before the City Council. If you are for or against the contest, make your voices heard when it is on the agenda. I am not sure what the date of that Council meeting will be, but I am sure J.P. or Kevin will keep us all posted.

  17. There may be other forces at work here. The city's Parks and Rec Director, Chris Hazeltine, is responsible for anything that happens in his department. Why hasn't he demanded that his staff prepare a full report on the proposed Swami contest? Why didn't he say NO in the very beginning?

    On a scale of 1-10 for his level of power and influence he is a 10. He has more power than the Council. The three Councilmen may think they are in power, but they sign off on anything that is placed under their noses.

    Did Linda Benson's surfing business also get the exclusion city right to use Swami's? When Solana Beach prohibits those businesses, how did 9 surfing businesses get the exclusive right to use the public beaches to make money?

    Chris Hazeltine is the #1 figure in getting and giving the exclusive use of public facilities to these people.

    It is Chris Hazeltine's DUTY to say NO when an individual or group ask to reserve a public beach that is NOT RESERVABLE.

    Chris Hazeltine's salary is at least $140,000 a year. He is pulling the strings. It's not just Dalager.

  18. backoff crackov,

    Chris did say no. That is why Linda went to the council to override Chris.

    Linda said she looking for sponsors and feeling like she had it in the bag until chris said no. That is when she stopped looking for sponsors, she says.

  19. She has a huge sponsor. That is why she is pushing so hard. This whole thing makes me angry. Why do some people think that they can get their way just because they are a local and have made a name for themselves? I don't see Rob Machato asking to use Swami's. Maybe he has more respect for the community. If this happens, I say we all surf and do some active civil disruption. If we get arrested i bet Marco would bail us out. Enough cronyism Dan and Maggie! Yes, we know you are in on it to.

  20. anon 2:24 --
    Something stinks in Chris Hazeltine's department of which he is the grand poobah. Where is his No, no, no a thousand times no report to the Parks and Rec Commission and to the Council?

    This is how the $140,000 paid director of a major city department protects the public beach? If you believe his no story, there's a bridge up for sale that you could buy into.

  21. Dalgher and Maggie are saying YES, YES, YES. That is why Hazeltine can't say NO.

  22. anon 3:05
    Not true. Hazeltine can say no. The whole Swami thing has been orchestrated to make it look like no one is responsible.

  23. Then how come I saw Danny and Maggie having coffee with Linda at the Lumberyard a few weeks ago? Were they just "chattin it up". catching up on old times?

  24. Maggie and Dan may be chatting it up, but they would have a hard time of refuting a hard no from the $140,000 Parks and Rec Director.

    Hazeltine isn't an innocent bystander.

  25. I thought this event was supposed to draw the community together. Isn't that what Linda said?

  26. Swami's is a state beach. Has Benson or her LLC or the city talked to the state about getting a state permit for the contest?

  27. Benson wants the sweetheart deal and exclusive use of Swamis that she can get at city hall. She is a crony capitalist. Danny is George Bush and Houlihan is can't tell when she is being manipulated.

  28. Swami's is not a State beach, that is one of the reasons Benson wants it there. If it were a State beach the cost to hold the event is about $7000.00. In Encinitas it will cost about $300.00 for the permit. Quite a difference.

  29. $300 bucks a day to rent out the entire point at Swamis? Are you serious? A small booth at the streetfair cost $300. This doesn't make any sense.

  30. "More of their own words:
    Last night at the meeting Cori said the surfers would accept the winner as the world champion (sorry Cori but you don't speak for everyone)...If you follow/know anything about women's surfing it's a given that Kassia Meador is the 'face' of women's longboarding. She doesn't support this contest. Neither does current world champ Jen Smith. "

    I was at that meeting and Cori didn't say that the women would accept the winner as THE world champion. Nor did she say she was speaking on behalf of anyone besides herself. She didn't say anything about accepting anything in regards to the ASP vs. Linda's event except that it would be more open to local surfers. She clarified a question for one of the board members when he asked about how many women would be allowed to participate and how that differed from the Roxy Biarritz contest. Not sure how this blog entry and Anon got that Cori was pushing one Champion (independent) over another (ASP)?? And knowing that Cori is a rep to the ASP (and has qualified for the Biarritz contest in France 2010) puts these comments even further into WTF?? territory.

    Of course Kassia and Jen Smith would publicly support the event in France and not Linda's event! They are both sponsored by ROXY! They can't afford to disagree with ROXY... they pay the bills! Kassia's the "face" of women's longboarding FOR ROXY. Surfing is so insular that it is easy to assume that the "face" you see the most of is the one that is representative of the majority... but I'm sure anyone into politics will understand what a load of BS that is.

  31. Follow The MoneyJanuary 21, 2010 6:23 PM

    If this contest must be held, please take it to a venue that can support it and where it is welcome. Swamis doesn't have enough parking and in not accessible under the ADA. The last thing Encinitas needs is another street fair. Ask Don Hansen how much the street fairs "help" his business - they don't! Regular retail customers stay away in droves and fairgoers are looking for something free to do.

    Monopolizing such a popular public beach for the benefit of so few is absurd. And beware of sponsors who neither abide by contracts and nor their bills.

    The only thing "green" about this proposed boondoggle is the color of money.

  32. Kassia is the face of womens longboarding for more than just Roxy. To girls worldwide she IS womens longboarding. Regardless of Roxy's marketing putting her in that position or not.

    Kassia is a draw for both her surfing ability and public persona. The fact that she does not support this contest speaks volumes. Why would any legitimate "pro woman longboarder" support an event that fragments an already fragile "sport"? This contest and two world champions diminishes the achievements of the few legit pros.

  33. Cori has been outspoken about being a representative for the women longboarders.

  34. The event won't fragment the sport. It didn't back in 2005 when this exact thing happened. The sport was bolstered then and it will be bolstered now. Having two events of this size in one year will do much for women who don't get much. They win if both events go on. Who knows, they may even get a tour next year instead of having only one event to crown the champ!

    There are many instances in other sports of parallel tours occurring at the same time, one sanctioned by a corporate run conglomerate (i.e. the ASP) and independent events. It's naive to think that there is only one direction to go with pro surfing. Look what Kelly Slater is doing with his tour.

    We can argue all day about Kassia. It's a matter of opinion but it is a lot easier to get your face known when you have a huge corporation throwing your face all over the place and paying your travel expenses and your talent agent and your acting classes.

    It is important to make the distinction between a person who is speaking for herself and a person who is stating they are speaking for others. Cori never once stated that she was advocating on behalf of female longboarders in this situation.

    It is an act of propaganda to leap from "Cori represents women in particular situations" to "Cori represents women every time she opens her mouth and gives her opinion". I'm positive a lot of chicks would disagree with that assertion!

  35. Take The Contest ElsewhereJanuary 22, 2010 5:25 AM

    Anonymous 8:34

    Fine, let's agree that dual contests won't fragment women's longboarding, life is unfair because some publicly held companies back a chosen few to promote their businesses and anyone who doesn't agree with you is guilty of spreading propaganda.

    Now take your contest SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    How come the only people who want it are the same ones who stand to gain money/glory?

  36. Does the city require a Coastal Development Permit for the surfing contest?

  37. Congratulations – the Swami’s surf contest is on hold. Another thing that Encinitas activists have stopped. We are so good at stopping things! All of you who actually like to do things – move along.

    As they say – “critics never build”.


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