Malibu Invitational


Annual surfing contest held in early fall, from 1962 to 1968; regarded as the second-biggest event on the West Coast competition calendar following the United States Surfing Championships.

The Malibu Invitational was conceived and developed by the Malibu Surfing Association, a local club, and co-sponsored by the Malibu Chamber of Commerce. Scores were kept for both team and individual entrants. Four five-man clubs competed on October 20, 1962, in small but smooth-faced waves, with local rider Dave Rochlen winning individual honors and the Malibu Surfing Association taking the team award. Over the next five years, waves for the Malibu Invitational ranged from two to five feet. The 1966 event drew more than 1,000 spectators, a medium-large turnout for a '60s-era surf contest. In 1964 and 1967, the contest was broadcast by Los Angeles–based TV station KHJ.

At least three episodes from the Malibu Invitational contests became small but cherished surf history footnotes. In 1963, the newly formed Windansea Surf Club pulled up on the morning of the event in a rented bus containing groupies and hangers-on, a generator-powered rock trio, a Dumpster's worth of empty beer cans, and a stumbling drunk all-star lineup of surfers including Butch Van Artsdalen, Joey Cabell, L. J. Richards, and Mike Hynson—Windansea found their legs as the day went on and ended up placing five men in the six-man final for an easy, boozy victory.

The 1965 contest was "The Day War Came to Malibu," as Surfer magazine described it, with longtime rivals Mickey Dora and Johnny Fain hustling, shouting, and shoving their way through the finals; Dora at one point whipped his board into a kickout that missed Fain's head by inches.

In the semifinals of the 1967 event, Dora dropped his trunks and mooned the assembled judges and spectators. The surf magazines, having spent the previous seven years trying to convince the nonsurfing world that the sport had cleaned out the rowdies and hodads, couldn't bring themselves to describe Dora's ride ("he took the lotus position" was the best Surfing magazine could do); the Malibu Invitational was cancelled after the following year's event.

A women's division was added in 1965 and 1966. An updated version of the Malibu Invitational was launched in 2007.

Winners from the original Malibu Invitational events are as follows:

1962: Dave Rochlen, Malibu Surfing Association

1963: Joey Cabell, Windansea Surf Club

1964: Bobby Patterson, Windansea Surf Club

1965: Buzz Sutphin, Charlie Tarusa, Malibu Surfing Association

1966: Steve Bigler, Joey Hamasaki, Windansea Surf Club

1967: George Szegetti, Malibu Surfing Association

1968: Angie Reno, Malibu Surfing Association