Surf Rodeo Continues its Comeback

Surf Rodeo in Ventura, California, July 12, 2014.

A surfer in the Pro Open category of the Surf Rodeo catches a wave off a Ventura beach. (© Aubrie Armstrong 2014)

On it’s second year after a 10-year absence, the annual Surf Rodeo event took over San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura’s Pierpont area from July 12-13, 2014.

According to a recent article by the Examiner, the event is the brainchild of J.D. Drury, a surfer and musician who wanted to give something back to his community. Drury started Surf Rodeo back in 1997, which combines a surf contest, a street fair with local artisans, food trucks and live music.

Drury recently explained to the Ventura County Reporter why he took the long hiatus away from the rodeo. “We stopped because I was challenged,” he said. “But I also lost [money] on the last one, I really didn’t think we would take off so long.”

Kat Merrick, of the nonprofit organization Totally Local VC, helped plan Surf Rodeo in the past. She feels the local merchants and vendors benefit from the exposure. “We do a walk around after these events, and check on businesses and ask how well they did,” she said.

Merrick didn’t have opening day statistics for this year, but he said that the opening day last year drew approximately 16,000 visitors.

The event closed the section of south Seaward Avenue at Pierpont Boulevard down to the beach, but many of the restaurants along the street were open for the rodeo, where the mechanical bull-riding drew attention from the crowd at the Surf Rodeo.

“They all end up raving,” Merrick said. For some, “it’s probably the best business they’ve done all year.”


Surf Rodeo in Ventura, California, July 12, 2014.

A mechanical bull draws attention from the crowd during the Surf Rodeo at San Buenaventura State Beach. Photo by (© Aubrie Armstrong 2014)

Surf Rodeo in Ventura, California, July 12, 2014.

Surfboards on display at the Surf Rodeo. (© Aubrie Armstrong 2014)