Two major water sport events that bring numerous surfers and jet ski riders to the Washington Coast and Grays Harbor County will not take place this year: the Clean Water Classic surfing event, and the Grayland Open, which is a jet ski free-ride competition.
The Clean Water Classic, a surf competition hosted by the Surfrider Foundation for 17 years in Westport and the largest surf event in Washington State according to organizers, has been cancelled this year after Surfrider decided to no longer host it.
In a news release from Surfrider, the non-profit group said the event drifted away from the organization’s mission of protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, and that it turned into more of a traditional surfing contest.
“The enjoyment of the oceans part of our mission is definitely being met by the contest, but the protection part has kind of gotten lost over the years,” said Brice Boland, Washington field manager for Surfrider. “It lost a little of the focus of why we’re there and raising the money.”
Along with the mission aspect, Surfrider said the event took up a lot of volunteer time and effort, pulling the group’s focus away from more mission-driven programs.
Boland said Surfrider is hoping another organization takes over the event to offer a more traditional surfing competition in future years. In previous years, the event was held typically near the end of September, and attracted approximately 250 people, including spectators, volunteers and about 110 surfers, Boland said.
“We’ve had a great run and cannot thank enough the countless volunteers and the hours they’ve put in, Washington State Parks, our sponsors, the judges, and of course the Westport community for being such a gracious host for the event for as long as some of our current contestants have been alive,” the news release states.
The other event, the Grayland Open jet ski competition, is going on a one-year hiatus according to organizer Dan Lindgren, who said he wanted to take a break from running it this year to spend time with family. But he said the event would be back next year.
“I’m considering relocating the event or adding another event or two to make it a tour next year, so I need time to plan to do that,” said Lindgren, who added that one of the added jet ski events could be in Grays Harbor County. He added that he’s run nine similar jet ski events throughout the Pacific Northwest this past year.
Lindgren is also the Grays Harbor County Assessor.
The Grayland Open is run through Lindgren’s group West Coast Surfriders, which is dedicated to ocean jet ski riders and is not related to the Surfrider Foundation.
For 10 years, the Grayland Open has brought jet ski riders from across the globe to compete in the ocean waves doing flips and other tricks. With the closure of another similar competition in Oregon, Lindgren said this will be the only such jet ski free-ride competition in the U.S. when it starts next year.
Lindgren, said he’s currently looking for sponsors for the event, and said those with inquiries can contact him at email@example.com.