Isla Blanca to host 22nd annual South Padre Island Open surfing contest

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Surfers are expected to be “hanging 10” this weekend at the 22nd annual South Padre Island Open surfing contest.

“We’ve got 75 to 80 contestants that will be participating in the event,” said John Blaha, president of the Texas Gulf Surfing Association.

The two-day event will be held at Isla Blanca Park near the South Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is a free event to watch, but entrance into the park is $5 per car.

The Island’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is sponsoring the event.

Organizers postponed the event last weekend due to wind and surf conditions and rescheduled it for this weekend.

“We are excited to get it done,” Blaha said. “Everybody loves to get to South Padre to surf.”

The South Padre Open is the organization’s final event of the season before its state competition scheduled for next weekend in Corpus Christi at Bob Hall Pier.

“In order to qualify for state, you have to surf in at least one contest,” Blaha said.

Today’s event will have 17 different divisions in surfing competition.

The top four winners from each division will receive an award. The finals will be on Sunday.

Blaha said the youngest competitor is 5 years old and the oldest contestant is 62.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and beach entries will only be accepted for open slots and no additional heats will be added, with the exception of Open Shortboard and Open Longboard events.

TGSA is the official member-based governing body of Texas and was established in 1988. TGSA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

The organization’s mission is to promote the sport and spirit of surfing on the Texas coast through healthy competition while promoting good sportsmanship, supporting education and environmental awareness.

The TGSA all-star team will be at today’s event.

“Everybody wants to go to South Padre Island for surfing,” Blaha said. “We’re expecting waist high waves, according to the forecast.”