Category: Podcast

Alternative Surf Craft

Health & Swellness; California Bodysurfing Championships

The following article about the 34th Annual California Bodysurfing Championships first appeared in The Cabrillo Voice and was written by George Paul Scheppler

To listen to the audio report in episode 029 click HERE

Over 70 competitors from around the world came together for the 34th Annual California Body Surfing Championships at Laguna Creek Beach, hosted by the Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association, on October 6th. Conditions were perfect with four to seven foot south swell spewing barrels off the point break.  


Laguna Creek Beach home of the California Bodysurfing Championships

Located roughly four miles north of Santa Cruz, Laguna Creek Beach is a hidden crescent wash of sand with big western exposures tucked between two rocky points. The region’s topography creates a variety of wave shapes from one end to the other lending personality and character to each face. This remote water wonderland is accessed by parking off of Highway 1, crossing to a well-worn path that leads over the old train tracks, over a slope, and down to the park. 

Competitors prepare for their heat

The Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association was established by Tom Mader, Julie Davis, and Horst Wolf in 1983 to promote safety and fun in coastal environments. The California Bodysurfing Championships started a year later in 1984 were sponsored by Churchill Fins and hosted at Sunny Cove to further spread the sport and promote safe practices. It was not long before the California Bodysurfing Championships became a magnet for competitors from around the world. 

Bodysurfing is a sport that attracts the kind of rider that likes to feel as much a part of the ocean’s energy as possible, one that loves the sensation of sliding headfirst down the face of a wave that started its journey off the shore of Japan.  

“Be the board.” says John Chamberlin “that’s the feeling you get when you’re the plane, you’re on the wave feeling the water rush around you.”

Perfect take off from the peak


This elemental bonding enables these “torpedo people” to etch lines along breaks spinning, rolling, and somersaulting with gymnastic grace deftly avoiding the water exploding behind them.

These coastal athletes travel out of pocket without fanfare or publicity. “We are a subculture of surfing,” said John Chamberlin, affiliated member since 1985, “we don’t have large sponsors.” There are no multimillion-dollar contracts with Nike waiting at the other end, no auto manufactures asking to make the California champion the face of the brand. 

They compete purely for bragging rights, a potential wildcard spot in the famous Nazier contest, and the opportunity to spend their free time out amongst nature with others of like minds. Many slept in their cars to cut down on cost, others bunked up at local hotels, and some stayed with friends in the area. The event itself buzzed with positivity and enthusiasm. Everyone was stoked to be stoked for no other reason than to be stoked, a more meta scene you could not find in Surf City USA that day.

Bodysurfing is a niche sport that seems to attract people from all walks of life. At the pre-event meet up at Aloha Island Grill (700 Portola Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95062) people in fancy Patagonia fleeces chatted with folks in well worn oily t-shirts, Land Rovers parked next to old Toyota pick up trucks, and the newest tech debated against tried and true equipment of old.

Pushed to the margins, these people of the sea strip away the equipment, ego, and obstacles to participating in outdoor water recreation not only for health but for the community. One would be hard pressed to find a more welcoming and supportive group of athletes and fans.  

Event official briefs a heat before they took on the choice lefts


Julie Davis took home the women’s championship title. Bart Templeton won the junior men’s division. Dave Ford won the masters’ division title and earned a wildcard entry into the World Bodysurfing Championships at Nazier Beach in Portugal. 

For more information about the event please click HERE


All photos appear courtesy of Mike Crane


031 – Ellen Healy Talks Afloat Fitness

Ellen Healy (CSCS, PN1, TSAC-F, CF-L1) joins us to chat about her background in the fitness industry, and the time she spent as FITBOSS onboard the USS Carl Vinson. Ellen talks about working as a civilian contractor providing fitness to deployed sailors and the challenges that came it the unique set of conditions.


030 – Salty Water Rescue Crew Report From Panama…

In this episode of the podcast, we are joined by Zac James of Salty Water Rescue Crew. Zac is an EMT with a specialization in water rescue and remote emergency medicine and responded to Hurricane Micheal in the Panama Beach area with the NGO Salty Water Rescue Crew.  CAP is flexing its journalistic muscles by bringing our audience a first-hand account of the devastation and providing insight into what happens in the hours and days following a storm.

During a natural disaster, most people wisely try to get as far away as possible. A few brave souls move in the back through the fleeing throng of humanity to be ready to respond.  The first 24-48 hours following a disaster can be the most lethal. The demand is real.


Topics of note

  • Rapid response report from Mexico Beach in Panama City
  • The surgical precision of smaller NGO’s vs major NGO’s
  • Mission flexibility and its impact on gear selection
  • Sociological response patterns similarities between the Napa Fires and Hurricane Michelle
  • Opportunities to improve dispatch and distribution networks in crisis zones
  • Ways non-responders can support rescue efforts
  • The origin story of the Salty Water Rescue Crew
  • Ways CAP listeners can lead by example

Look for a follow-up episode going deeper in depth about ways to support the community.

CAP Class

026 – Brian MacKenzie Talks About Viewing Sport As…

Brian MacKenzie aka BMac joins Schep for episode 026 of The Coastal Athlete Program Podcast to talk about what went into writing Power Speed Endurance, breathing for success, and how to view sport as art.  BMac is another one of those guests who has found himself at key pivot points within the field of human performance and if you listen close enough the common themes are starting to emerge.

If you have been listening to us for a while a lot of stuff may sound familiar since Schep and BMac have little to no patience for things that detract from the goal of physical readiness. Train like your life depends on it because ultimately that is in fact the case.

Brian Mackenzie is an expert in the development and application of custom protocols to optimize human health and performance. His work harnesses and integrates respiratory, movement, strength and endurance-based training approaches to elicit unprecedented positive results. His protocols have been used to accelerate and raise both mental and physical performance in world-class Olympic and professional athletes, top exceutives, and elite military operators, as well as to improve the health for people suffering from various chronic illnesses. Everyday people have also used Brian’s tools to reduce pathologic stress and to vastly heighten their mental and physical well being and performance.

A highly unique feature of Brian’s approach is that he voluntarily and repeatedly subjects his protocols to rigorous 3rd party scientific testing, re-testing and improvement, at top institutions including Stanford University School of Medicine, Florida A&M University and The Center for Sports Performance. Few, if any, experts directly seek to apply unbiased laboratory and field testing to their craft as Mackenzie does.

Brian is himself a highly accomplished athlete. He completed the Ironman (Canada, 2004), completed both the The Western States 100 (2006) mile and The Angeles Crest 100 (2007) mile runs using adapted training protocols he developed to avoid injury and fatigue. Also a prolific writer, Brian co-authored the book Power Speed Endurance, The New York Times Best Seller UnBreakable Runner, and UnPlugged, which assesses the integration of emergent technology and human performance. His programs have been featured in Outside Magazine, Men’s Health, Runners World, Triathlete Magazine, Men’s Journal, ESPN Rise, as well as periodicals such as The Economist. Brian and his protocols have been featured in 4 of Timothy Ferriss’ New York Times bestselling books including: “The 4-Hour Body” and “Tools of Titans”.

Brian MacKenzie’s programs have been taught at more than 400 seminars worldwide and are used by thousands of athletes ranging from beginners to elite medalists and record holders via his “Power, Speed, Endurance” platform and by private consultation.

Currently, Brian is the Creative Director at Power Speed Endurance a company focused on the optimization of human performance, corporate performance and the delivery of science based protocols to optimize physical, emotional and cognitive performance for health.


025 – Ryan Masters Talks Bodysurfing Mavericks, The 2018…

We are joined in studio this episode of the podcast by Ryan Masters ( @ryanmasters831 ); poet, writer, and big wave bodysurfer. Ryan’s bodysurfing career has taken him around the world sharing breaks with THE biggest names in the sport. This is the first time we have interviewed someone who been down the face of Mavericks, and the story is harrowing. The tradition continues of guests bringing their A game when coming on the show. We really get into the whole spectrum of bodysurfing related topics; fins, food, fear, and injury.



The Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association 

“The Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association was established in 1983 by Tom Mader, Julie Davis, and Horst Wolf.  These three shared a love for the perfect “A-frame” wave at Sunny Cove Beach in Santa Cruz, and decided to host a contest to promote the sport, with Churchill Fins as the main sponsor.  With safety and fun as the main focus of the Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association, it didn’t take long for this contest to become a favorite event for bodysurfers from all over the world.  Soon, the SCBSA expanded to two contests a year:  the Cold Water Classic in the late fall (featuring ice cubes down your wetsuit!) And, the California Championships, usually held in the Spring.  Both of these contests were legendary in the bodysurfing world due to the FUN side of the competition. 

Events such as the Tandem and Pure were introduced as a way for participants to have as much time in the water as possible.  These events are still the favorites at SCBSA contests, sometimes drawing over 20 swimmers in the water at a time!  Also introduced by the SCBSA were new moves such as the “death cradle,” the “submarine,” the “Nixon,” and the “salute.”  Aside from contests, the SCBSA has taken a part in local events such as Save Our Shores, Surfrider Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The Association has hosted a Wave Festival, a Porch to Porch bicycle event, ski trips, group trips to international bodysurfing competitions, and more.  For information of the SCBSA contests and events, see the links above.  Most important, be safe and have fun in the water!”

California Bodysurfing Championships