Big Stick Surfing Association to Host 3rd Annual SurfAid Cup, Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz Waves is once again providing media support for the SurfAid Cup Santa Cruz. We recently sat down with SurfAid Founder, Dr. Dave Jenkins to talk about the success of the SurfAid Cup global event series, and how it’s grown from a small morning paddle out to SurfAid’s signature fundraiser. 

The SurfAid Cup will be returning to Pleasure Point as part of Big Stick Surfing Association’s Logjam! contest over the weekend of April 28-29  

SurfAid Cup Profile with Dr. Dave

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Photo: Nelly

SW: We’re hearing a lot about the SurfAid Cup events around the globe. How is SurfAid using the stoke of surfing to save lives?

DJ: It started as a breakfast paddle out with corporate surfers where we’d give an update on SurfAid’s work then head out for a surf. We invited people like Occy and Tom Carroll to join us and the concept evolved into our first SurfAid Cup in Manly in 2011. It was such a hit that we now run 7 SurfAid Cups globally.

Since our first event in Manly, the SurfAid Cup Series has raised just under $2.5 million dollars globally. To put that into perspective, it costs SurfAid approximately $25,000 to run our full-scale Mother and Child Health program. This equates to thousands of people gaining access to clean water & sanitation, improved nutrition, and basic healthcare. All accomplished through a day of surfing!

SW: What makes the SurfAid Cup unique?

DJ: There is a special energy that comes with working together as a team to save lives. Adding in your favorite surfing legends and the camaraderie that stems from people coming together for the welfare of others makes this a rare and meaningful opportunity that you’ll never forget.


SW: How are you getting some of surfing’s biggest names behind your event?

DJ: They’ve heard about or seen our exceptional results in reducing maternal and child mortality rates in places they all love to surf.  Surfing in a SurfAid Cup is their way of giving back. They get caught up in the energy of the event and that explains why so many of them come back year after year. Your local boy, Nat Young surfed with us for the first time last year and he was amazing. He stoked out our competitors by hanging out all day and thanked us at the end for the opportunity.

We are also really lucky to have the support of long term friends like Tom Carroll, Shane Dorian, and Kelly Slater who are simply stoked to help out and leverage their hard work and success on behalf of our families. Shane and Kelly took their support for SurfAid to a new level by partnering with us on their Omaze project that raised $75,000 for our Mother and Child Health Programs. Shane surfed with us in the SurfAid Cup Malibu and is a great ambassador of our work.


SW: Is the SurfAid Cup only open to pro level surfers?

DJ: Definitely NOT! The surf is secondary to the stoke on the beach and the impact it makes to our program in the field. This event is for surfers who give a damn no matter what level they are. We have a grom team in Malibu that started when some of the kids were only 8 years old! There is no doubt that part of the fun is being in a competition and the adrenaline that goes with it, but at the end of the day no one cares how well you surf – the focus is on giving back. I wiped out on both of my waves in last year’s SurfAid Cup Santa Cruz – earning me the Wild Card trophy for my custom “Founder Flounder.” It’s all part of the fun and we’re here to surf and save lives.


SW: Since the comp is open to all levels of surfers, is there a restriction on the type of board you ride?

DJ: No—it depends on the location, but most comps are open to long and short boards. The judges are well versed in scoring all styles and judge accordingly. Part of the fun is seeing the various styles compete. Lat year’s event in Santa Cruz came down to an epic battle between long and short boarders. The winning team, the Pleasure Point Life Savers, all rode longboards and had World Longboard Champ Joel Tudor as their Pro. They battled a team made up of some of the areas hottest shortboarders, the Santa Cruz Syndicate. Your own Tyler Fox was their pro and both styles were incredible to watch.


SW: What if you can’t surf, are there other ways to support the event?

DJ: There are lots of ways to help both in and out of the water. We’re always in need of volunteers to help on the beach, run our merch tent, and help with silent auctions and securing raffle prizes. This is a great way to involve your business and we are always looking for event sponsors.

If you can’t surf, you can join us virtually as a Soul Surfer and raise funds for the event in the US or Globally. Same as all our competitors, you’ll be given a personal fundraising page and you can skip the surf and join us for the party on the beach.

These events are also a great way to donate your services. We’ve been lucky to have a variety of photographers, videographers and other talented people donate their services. You can contact our US Director, Erin Miserlis to learn more.


SW: Where can we expect to see the SurfAid Cup Series in 2017/18?

DJ: Last year we added our newest cup over in Oz in Queensland and this spring we’ll have our first SurfAid Cup Encinitas as part of Shaper Studios Self Shape Surf Festival in Cardiff, CA.


SW: How do you register for a SurfAid Cup?

DJ: Again, you can contact Erin or visit us at The events typically fill up so it’s good to get your name on an early interest list.


SW: SurfAid has hosted this event since 2011 – you’ve got to have some great stories, can you share a few of your favorite SurfAid Cup memories?

DJ: There’s a few times I recall in Margaret River and Newcastle where the surf was big – much bigger than some of the surfers usually surfed in. They pushed themselves and paddled out for their team and they were so stoked they had done it. A few told me they were going to start training again and start surfing bigger waves.

A recent memory was here in Santa Cruz. Occasional 6 foot sets were coming in so I decided to wait. I was surfing alongside Nat Young and he was creating quite the buzz. A Bomb came and I just blew the take off and did a rather spectacular tumble down the falls. Bad enough to win the wildcard award for my spectacular wipeout.


SW: Dream big – if you could add another SurfAid Cup anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would make your team roster?

DJ: My dream would be to have an event as part of the triple crown at the home of surfing Hawaii. I’d love to see an event with many of the long time legends who no longer compete professionally but we miss seeing in action. Pair them with some of our big-time fundraisers in the US and AU for a global competition. I would also love to see my hometown Auckland have an event and then we could hold our own triple country crown. In all honesty, our events are our way of bringing our villages to our supporters. We try to share some of the impact that’s being made in the field and it’s a great way to show our thanks for your support. SurfAid is happy to bring a SurfAid Cup wherever our supporters want us to be. That’s what is most important – giving back and sharing the stoke for our programs.


SW: What’s the best way to learn more about the SurfAid Cup?

DJ: Contact our team in the US or check out our SurfAid Cup Events Blog – even better, come surf with us.


Looking for an opportunity to surf and save lives? The 3rd Annual SurfAid Cup Santa Cruz will be hosted by Big Stick Surfing Association (BSSA) as part of the Logjam Classic on Sunday, April 29th.

The Logjam is one of the longest running, vintage longboard contests in the world and is known for its “old boards, no cords” format. Participants in the SurfAid Cup are welcome to follow this format, or they can ride a leashed long or short board of their choice. The event is open to surfers of all ages and abilities and is a tag-team format.
Each team of 4 raises funds for SurfAid and the team’s 5th member is a pro or local legend provided by SurfAid. The order for the pro selection is based on each team’s fundraising totals. Past pros include the legendary long-time SurfAid Ambassador Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, hometown shredder Nat Young, and big wave chargers Shawn Dollar and Tyler Fox to name a few. Tyler will be supporting the event both in and out of the water as Santa Cruz Waves covers the event as a media partner.
Last year’s clean, 2-3- foot west, northwest swell with occasional bigger sets made for perfect contest conditions and helped raise over $46,000. Funds support SurfAid’s Mother and Child Health Programmes, which bring clean water & sanitation, basic healthcare, and improved nutrition to some of the most remote locations in the world. Locally, a portion of funds are given back to BSSA to help support their scholarship programs.
“Everyone here at Big Stick jumped at the chance to have SurfAid back to be a part of the LogJam! contest for the third straight year,” said Michael Matkin, Big Stick Surfing Association President. “The SurfAid Cup adds a great dimension to our contest and helps kick all of our charitable work into a higher gear. On top of that, their whole crew brings an infectious energy to their work that we love to be around. Most importantly though, we know that our contest is
helping SurfAid save lives on the other side of the planet every day.”
The SurfAid Cup is a legendary day of surfing that supports SurfAid’s life-saving programs in some of the most remote and impoverished villages in the world – all close to places surfers love to go. This is your opportunity to surf and save a life. Done while mingling with the pro’s and being one of the lucky few to have Pleasure Point all to yourself.


Contact to sign up for a team or learn about sponsorship opportunities. For
more information about SurfAid and their life changing work visit


About SurfAid:

SurfAid’s core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas of Indonesia – areas connected to us by surfing.  We specialize in working in very isolated villages where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high.
Many in our communities suffer from preventable causes. SurfAid implements a “hand up, not a hand out” philosophy toward aid. Local staff provides advice, training, and expertise, but it is up to the community to implement and embrace change. We educate communities on simple things like washing hands before delivering a baby, sleeping under a mosquito net, exclusive breastfeeding, and improved nutrition. All of which have enormous positive impacts on the health of women and their families.
In Nias Indonesia, working with a population of 10,000, SurfAid has helped to reduce maternal deaths from 8 annually to zero for two years in a row. During the same timeframe, the mortality rate for children under five has all but disappeared with only one death reported last year. That is down from an average of 22 per year at the start of the program in 2012.
In the past 17 years, in addition to building award winning health programs, SurfAid has helped communities re-build their lives after five major natural disasters – earthquakes and tsunamis in the area.

For further information or to learn more about the SurfAid Cup Global event series please
Erin Miserlis
US Director of Development & Global Communications, SurfAid
Phone: 619-723- 0222


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