The 38th annual Memorial Day Classic presented by the Santa Cruz Longboard Union

The tradition lives on at the Santa Cruz Longboard Union’s Memorial Day Classic

By Neal Kearney
May 28, 2024

Riding waves, and doing so competitively, is a pastime that spans generations here in Santa Cruz. Just like a former ballplayer guiding their offspring into a childhood that includes curveballs and free throws, surfers are apt to get a kick out of watching their daughter or son paddle out for their first twenty-minute heat. 

At the 38th annual Memorial Day Classic, presented by the Santa Cruz Longboard Union, this spirit of family-friendly fun was on full display. Competitors, from the Grand Legends to the Menehune division, descended upon Steamer Lane last weekend for two days of nifty noserides, stylish soul arches, and stoke to spare.

Sunday was a beautiful day at Steamer Lane. Photo-Chachi

In the midst of a busy holiday weekend offering little breathing room on the beaches and byroads, hundreds of spectators chose to hangout at the Lane to take in the lively scene. They looked on and cheered as 192 surfers took to the water to show their stuff and compete for the win. 

With the deep longboarding talent pool ever-present in Santa Cruz, this was no small task. After gazing upon the gameplay in the ocean, attendees could peruse the many tents showcasing local vendors such as Tyler Fox’s Kapture Packs and Aylana Zanville’s Ola Chica clothing brand. 

Drool. Photo-Kearney

Volunteers were busy selling t-shirts and raffle tickets for huge swag prizes from brands such as Merge4 and Santa Cruz Skateboards. It was hard not to salivate at the ten beautiful, brand-new longboards donated by such legends as Bob Pearson, Ward Coffey, and Doug Haut for the raffle’s grand prize.

Although the waves and weather left much to be desired on Saturday, on Sunday the clouds parted and the surf kicked up a notch, providing fun, 1-2 foot waves that peeled playfully under sunny, yet windy skies.


Santa Cruz Longboard Union president Matt Freeman couldn’t believe their luck.

“I’m incredibly pleased with how the contest is going,” said the wide-smiling and mustachioed contest director as he came up from competing on Sunday afternoon. 

“Although I wish the surf was a little bigger, it’s really contestable and we’ve got a lot of great competitors here. This is a longstanding tradition and I’m so thankful for the community that came together to make this happen, from our vendors and sponsors, as well as the city of Santa Cruz itself.”

Spectators came out in droves to enjoy the organic amphitheater known as Steamer Lane. Photo-Chachi

Similarly stoked was Legends division competitor Tim Larkin, who made the trek from his usual haunts in and around Pleasure Point to show the judges what he’s made of.

“Steamer Lane has got to be the prettiest place to watch a surf contest, at least in California. It’s such a beautiful arena for spectating, from Triple A swells to marginal conditions like today, which is totally contestable. A terrific place to hang out on Memorial Day weekend with a bunch of good friends.”


The event, which was visited by local celebrity Otter 841 (much to heavy fan-fare), was far from just a good time for a bunch of surf rats. It was also an opportunity for the club to give back to the community.

“Our raffle, which is huge this year, generates funds for our beneficiaries, such as Save The Waves Foundation and the Santa Cruz Youth Surf League,” said Freeman. “Anyone can come donate some money and enter to win one the ten Boards we’re showing off here today!”

A competitor cuts back to avoid some pesky seaweed. Photo-Chachi

And what would any tradition-heavy event such as the Memorial Day Classic be without a little generational feel-good story? Competitor Nate Lindsay, who’s old man served as the President of the SCLU during the 90’s, was proud to being his own son, ten year-old Nathan Lindsay Jr., into the fold.

“I grew up surrounded by the club as a little guy,” Lindsay reminisced as we chatted along the cliffside. 

“Now with my son, there’s three generations of us down here today. I feel so blessed to experience this event in our local community and to be able share it with my son.”

Nathan and Nathan Lindsay Jr. Photo-Kearney

Lindsay Jr. was stoked to make the final competing only in his third surf event, and even if all the prestige and history involved in the contest might have gone over his head, he’s got his priorities in line.

“My favorite part about competing today was being able to surf without someone dropping in on me on every wave.”

Spoken like a true diehard surfer.




Fern Villanueva                 

Belle Paszkowski

Zachary Whaley

Harrisson Micuda


Kora O’Toole

Zoe Baxter

Zuri Marks

Luca Gigliotti

Warren Basford

Madison Werbe

Callen Olsen

Devon Olsen

Harvey Olsen

Hayden Kaiser

Menehune Girl 14-Under

1st place- Aleia Anderson

2nd place- Milly Horstman

3rd place- Ellie Sutton

4th place- Hazel Dixon

5th place Kelsey Rico

6th place- London Lorber

7th place- Elsa Villanueva

Junior Women 19-Under

1st place- Kylie Farrow

2nd place- Healey Skelton

3rd place- Mia Barton

4th place- Zoey Howland

5th place- Zoe Ann Watson

6th place-  Saga Espeland

Women 20-29

1st place- Nohemi Kawasaki

2nd place- Tiare Thompson

3rd place- Esme Brigham

4th place- Claire Perez

5th place- Sage Simms

6th place- Kiley Vogel

Senior Women 30-39

1st place- Tessa Timmons

2nd place- Lexi Thornstrong

3rd place- Coco Virostko

4th place- Sierra Partridge

5th place- Alyssa Paperniek

6th place- Katie Conley

Masters Women 40-49

1st place- Aylana Zanzille

2nd place- Ashley Lloyd

3rd place- Jessica Cassidy

4th place- Megan Eldredge

5th place- Lovelyn Ascuncion

Grand Masters Women 50-59

1st place- Shona Keating Anderson

2nd place- Amanda Harper

3rd place- Kim McCready

4th place- Phoenix Coverly

5th place- Melissa Mahoney

6th place- Sue Uchiyama

Legends Women 60-69

1st place- Joan Bush

2nd place- Jane McKenzie

3rd place- Karen Cochran

4th place- Denise Reppenhagen

5th place- Miranda Joseph 

6th place- Teresa Burdick

Menehune Boys 14-under

1st place- Kia Landers

2nd place- Connor Curley

3rd place- Samson Davis

4th place- Nathan Lindsay Jr.

5th place- Reed Skelton

6th place- MJ Harkins

Junior Men 19-under

1st place- Harper King

2nd place- Jonah Susskind

3rd place- Jack Snyder

4th place- Drake Harper

5th place- Ryan Wait

6th place- Wyatt Dixon

Men 20-29

1st place- Kearey Kennedy

2nd place- Quinn Comer

3rd place- Stephano Graciano

4th place- Raymond Sayles

5th place- Konrad Wallace

6th place- Noah Brigham

Senior Men 30-39

1st place- Chase Larue

2nd place- Table Woythaler

3rd place- Chris Chandler

4th place- Kyle Johnson

5th place- Kurtis Wooden

6th place- Chris Duran

Masters Men 40-49

1st place- Matt Collins

2nd place- Chuck Lynn

3rd place- Nathan Lindsay

4th place- Sean O’Toole

5th place- Andy Anderson

6th place- Ryan Devine

Grand Master Men 50-59

1st place- Minoru Nobata

2nd place- Matt Freeman

3rd place- Jiro Ikeda

4th place- Clark Brigham

5th place- Rocky Snyder

6th place- Jim Warner

Legends Men 60-69

1st place- Bobby Ledesma

2nd place- Mike Wallace

3rd place- Matt Mica

4th place- Bobbi Visalli

5th place- George Pop

6th place- Tim Larkin

Grand Legends 70-up

1st place- Frosty Hesson

2nd place- Joe Rigby

3rd place- Tim Hodgson

4th place- Rym Partridge

5th place- Joel Baldwin

6th place- Frank Morales


1st place- Leechy Surfboards

2nd place- Juicebox Surfboards

3rd place- Atelier Quaila Surf

4th place- Strive Surfboards

5th place- Benjmark Surfboards

6th place- Dixon Surfboards

Photo- Chachi