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North America’s finest bodysurfers make waves at historic Steamer Lane event

On Friday, January 5th, 2024, history was made at the renowned surf haven, Steamer Lane, as it hosted its inaugural USA Bodysurfing competition, marking the kickoff of the highly anticipated 2024 IBSA qualifying series. The event brought together the crème de la crème of bodysurfers from across North America, delivering an unforgettable spectacle to the shores of Santa Cruz.

With the steadfast support of a dedicated team of volunteers, sponsors, and enthusiasts, the day unfolded amidst perfect conditions: pristine 8ft waves and picture-perfect weather. From the exhilarating leap off the cliffside to the awe-inspiring rides, competitors showcased their prowess, captivating both spectators and fellow participants alike.

Meredith Rose jumping off the cliff to enter her heat. Photo by Kaili Reynolds (@kaili_reynolds)


The men's division was stacked with a roster of 48 talented athletes, including esteemed names such as former Olympian Tom Shields and local favorites Pat Malo, Ryan Masters and Craig Muirhead. In a thrilling finale, 26-year-old Frank Musso of Costa Mesa emerged victorious, alongside formidable contenders Greg Wilkinson of Del Mar, Craig Muirhead of Santa Cruz, and Tony Sholl of Ventura. Notably, Bryan Knowles and Ed Sweeney, the top-ranked North American bodysurfers from the 2023 season, shared fifth place honors.

Frank Musso in the Men’s Final - Photo by Sam Gill (@samgillphoto)
Olympian Tom Shields on a clean ride during a morning heat. Photo by Jason Rimmer (@seabrightphotography)


In the women's category, local favorites Marion Christensen and Claire Peabody showcased their skills amidst a competitive field. Noteworthy was Christensen's familial legacy as the daughter of one of the Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Association's founders. The event also featured standout performers from the 2023 qualifying series, with four athletes (Scotti Shafer, Michelle Urkov, Meredith Rose, and Sunny Chamblee) earning spots on Team USA for the upcoming World Tour Finals in Hawaii. Scotti Shafer, hailing from San Clemente, clinched victory, followed by Meredith Rose of Del Mar, Marion Christensen of Santa Cruz, and Sunny Chamblee of Oceanside. Additionally, local surf instructor and exceptional bodysurfer, Katy Collins, sidelined from competition, elevated the event as an engaging announcer, entertaining and enlightening the crowd with her insights.

Scotti Shafer, mid-spin, in the Women’s Final - Photo by Sam Gill (@samgillphoto)

Nothing but smiles from these ladies after their semi-final heat Photo by Kaili Reynolds (@kaili_reynolds)

The festivities continued with an exhilarating hour-long bodysurf expression session, transforming the Steamer Lane lineup into a playground of stoke and camaraderie. Participants also indulged in a sumptuous Hawaiian feast courtesy of Beer Dog USA, whose iconic truck added to the event's vibrant atmosphere.

Food by Beer Dog USA - Photo by Kaili Reynolds (@kaili_reynolds)

The inaugural bodysurfing contest at Steamer Lane, hosted by USA Bodysurfing, will be remembered as a watershed moment, setting the stage for future triumphs and camaraderie within the bodysurfing community. As the sun set on Santa Cruz, echoes of waves and cheers resonated, marking the dawn of a new era in the sport's storied history.

Announcers: Jim Booth and Katy Collins - Photo by Kaili Reynolds (@kaili_reynolds)


1. Frank Musso (USA) 1000

2. Greg Wilkinson (USA) 860

3. Craig Muirhead (USA) 730

4. Tony Sholl (USA) 670

5. Bryan Knowles (USA) 610

5. Edward Sweeney (USA) 610

7. Tom Shields (USA) 555

7. Cory Vo (USA) 555

9. Ian Moore (USA) 500

9. Scott Wagner (USA) 500

9. Wyatt Tillotson (USA) 500

9. David Curry (USA) 500

13. Ethan Ducker (USA) 450

13. Sam Gill (USA) 450

13. Thorsten Hegberg (USA) 450

13. Greg Hurst (USA) 450

17. Patrick Byron (USA) 400

17. John Morford (USA) 400

17. Matt Godar (USA) 400

17. Pat Malo (USA) 400

21. George Burtless (USA) 380

21. John Black (USA) 380

21. Brian Boyce (USA) 380

21. Aaron Dillon (USA) 380

25. Lake Schnick (USA) 360

25. Lance Cotton (USA) 360

25. Conor Mccain (USA) 360

25. Durdam Rocherolle (USA) 360

25. Jamie Schnick (USA) 360

25. Justin Bailey (USA) 360

25. Anthony Brown (USA) 360

25. Denis Bajet (USA) 360

33. Josh Harris (USA) 320

33. Bat Gustavus (USA) 320

33. Ryan Masters (USA) 320

33. Caspar Hendrickson (USA) 320

33. Paul Byrne (USA) 320

33. Eric Gustafson (USA) 320

39. Ken Johnson (USA) 290

39. Jason Hackforth (USA) 290

39. Hayden Gaona (USA) 290

39. Bill Osgood (USA) 290


1. Scotti Shafer (USA) 1000

2. Meredith Rose (USA) 860

3. Marion Christensen (USA) 730

4. Sunceray Rickard (USA) 670

5. Michelle Urkov (USA) 610

5. Clare Peabody (USA) 610

7. Jennifer Gallacher (USA) 555

7. Christina Gasparich (USA) 555

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