Teams Ola Grande and the SurfAiders successfully defend their titles in the 4th Annual SurfAid Cup Santa Cruz!

On Sunday, April 28th, seven teams competed to take home the Fundraising and Surfing Cup in the annual SurfAid Cup Santa Cruz, hosted by Big Stick Surfing Association (BSSA) as part of the annual LogJam Classic at Pleasure Point.

One of the first south swells of the year provided fun, rippable conditions for all competitors and mother nature saved the best sets for last, rewarding everyone who made it to the finals with a few chest to overhead high sets to close out the day.

Over $40,000 was raised to support SurfAid’s Mother and Child Health Programs, which help provide clean water & sanitation, basic healthcare, and improved nutrition t0 extremely remote villages in Indo as well as SurfAid USA’s two new partnership projects in Baja.

For the second year in a row, the winning Fundraising Cup went to team Ola Grande led by SurfAid Board Member, Stuart Gasner, who had this to say about the event, This was a special year to fundraise as SurfAid USA expands to Baja, making SurfAid’s work all the more meaningful to California surfers.  My main fundraising pitch is still that SurfAid delivers more bang for the buck than many nonprofits because it is staffed by a small group of incredibly dedicated people and aims at areas of extreme poverty where each dollar goes a long way.  But it helps that the lives being saved are now in a nearby place we love to surf.”

Stuart used his first-place fundraising positioning to pick none other than local ripper Austin Smith Ford. Austin was part of a stacked pro pool that included home town shredders Anthony Ruffo, Noi Kaulukukui, Ashley Held, Autumn Hays, and Shawn Dollar. This was Shawn’s fourth time surfing for SurfAid, “The SurfAid Cup was a blast. Fun waves and good people surfing and raising money for our neighbors and friends down in Baja.” Making the trek up from So Cal was none other than the legendary Joel Tudor. Joel’s classic style was on display, giving the crowds a firsthand look at what makes Joel one of the most iconic longboarders in the world.

For the second year in a row, Ashley was picked up by The SurfAiders, helping them defend their title and take home the Surfing Cup after a nail biting finish that came down to a one point lead ahead of the Pleasure Point Lifesavers (444/443).

The SurfAiders was led by Santa Barbara resident, Evan Casciatto who felt like a winner even before hitting the water. “You already feel like a winner after helping raise funds and surfing in such a fun event all while supporting SurfAid’s approach to positive change but winning for the second year in a row is an amazing bonus! Our team is made up of great individuals and it’s awesome to come together again to defend our title!” Evan surfed alongside hometown favorite’s, Jenny Bennet, Keenan Shaw, and JP Garner.

Event artwork was provided by SurfAid Cup competitor and Bay area artist Odi Schlossberg. Sticky Bumps Wax and Accessories used Odi’s art to create a custom contest series wax for all the competitors. Event media was provided thanks to generous support from Santa Cruz Waves, Tranparensea Media, Dave “Nelly” Nelson of Liquid Imagery, and Baker Carroll. 

Additional thanks go to Verve Coffee for keeping all the contestants caffeinated while their facilities manager Alex Thompson kept it flowing in the water as a contestant. Professional surfer, podcaster, and writer, Kyle Thierman shared his mic skills to call the contest from the stands and the generosity of all the event partners helped set the tone for an amazing weekend at Pleasure Point.

Congratulations to Team Ola Grande and The SurfAiders on retaining their titles, and well done to all the teams for surfing and saving lives.

Next up, the SurfAid Cup Surf Ranch on June 21.

Contact Erin for more info

Check out event photos


1st – SurfAiders (Evan Casciatto, Jenny Bennet, Keenan Shaw, JP Garner Pro: Ashley Held)

2nd – Pleasure Point Life Savers (Kyle Jouras, Colton Jeffrey, Bryden Montgomery, Merrin Torre, Pro: Shawn Dollar)

3rd – Surfing for Service (Gavin Comstock, Beth O’Rourke, Dash Dunkell, Sonder, Pro: Joel Tudor)

4th – Verve Coffee (Alex Thompson, Ashley Lloyd Thompson, Darshan Gouch, Pro: Anthony Ruffo)

5th – Ola Grande (Stuart Gasner, Ned Tannenbaum, Harry Tannenbaum, Ben Rubin, Pro: Austin Smith Ford)

6th – Fareharbor Surf Crew (Joey Hodara, Ricky Tucker, Colton Cruse, Zach Snow, Pro: Noi Kaulukukui)

7th – Internationalista (Kevin Brennan, Odi Schlossberg, Tim Martensen, Julia Guenster, Pro: Autumn Hays)


1st Place – Team Ola Grande

2nd Place – SurfAiders

3rd Place – Surfing for Service

4th Place – Fareharbor Surf Crew

5th Place – Internationalista

6th Place – Pleasure Point Life Savers

7th Place – Verve


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About SurfAid:

SurfAid’s core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas connected to us by surfing.  We specialize in working in very isolated villages where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high. SurfAid currently has projects in Indonesia on the islands of Nias, Sumba, Sumbawa and the Mentawai, and SurfAid USA just launched two partnership projects in the La Paz and Los Cabos regions of Baja.

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. 

For further information or to learn more about the SurfAid Cup Global event series please contact:

Erin Miserlis

US Director of Development & Global Communications, SurfAid

Phone: 619-723-0222



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