By Bernadette McCune

Triplicate Staff Writer

More than 200 surfers are expected to return this year to Del Norte County for the Fifth Annual Noll Longboard Classic during the weekend of Oct. 7 at South Beach.

Entries to this years event have come from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and all areas of California. And there are as many people entering as there is categories for them to fill.

There is one gigantic group for the women (The Gals) that covers all ages, and eight groups total for the males, spanning all ages from the Grand Dukes (60 and up) to the Menahunies with accompaniment (up to age 12). This years youngest competitor is 4- year-old Pasha Langford from Arcata, Calif.

Entry forms prove that there is a steady escalation in the amount of attendance each year, according to Bev Noll, operator of Rhyn Noll Surfboards.

Along with the contending surfers themselves, spectators, supporters and sponsors play a huge role in the success of the competition.

The surf contest is a big undertaking and there is tremendous support from the community. Theyve really claimed this event as their own, Noll said. There is an unbelievable amount of volunteers and this couldnt be done without them.

Local surfer and three year spectator of the event Rey Kleinsasser, said of the Longboard Classic: Its a great idea. This really puts Crescent City on the map as a major tourist attraction.

Noll said South Beach is ideal for longboard waves. A longboard wave is slower and pushier, she said.

And thats just what South Beach provides for surfers.

Theres not a lot of wind, the weather and the breaking of the waves is fairly consistent and theres a good swell, said four- year contestant of the Dukes category, Jim Nickels of Jacksonville, Ore., who drives down nearly every other weekend to South Beach just for the surf.

The beach is flat, its safe, easily accessible and parking is good, adds Kleinsasser.

A new competing division in the Noll Longboard Classic that began just last year, is the Super Heat contest scheduled to start at about noon on Saturday. This contest is open to all first place finishers from 1999s event.

Although the entry deadline was in August, the deadline for the beach entry is Friday, Oct. 6. A beach entry is for those who didnt meet the August deadline and would like a chance at entering the competition. The catch is that you simply wait for someone who has registered to either not show or get injured during the event. Beach entries are available at Rhyn Noll Surfboards at 1220 A, Second Street, in Crescent City. The fee is $40.

For those who dont care to surf, many events will be held on and off the beach. Beginning at 7 a.m., Saturday morning, beach concessions will be selling food, artwork, t-shirts, and other items.

Also for surfers and non-surfers alike, Surfing For Life, the highly praised award-winning documentary film, will be shown at 6 p.m., Friday in the Del Norte High School Library, and is being presented by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation. There will be a raffle with prizes including a signed lithograph portraying surf legend Duke Kahanamoku. Admission is $5.

The film was awarded the Audience Award and the Golden Maile Award for Best Documentary at the 1999 Hawaii International Film Festival. Surfing For Life is based on the lives of 10 extraordinary older surfers (ages 59 to 93) who, as models of healthy aging, emphasize the importance of passionate involvement in staying active through physical and mental activities; especially surfing.

Among the legendary surfers profiled is John Doc Ball, 93, who still skateboards and surfs. His great grandson Tyler Ingram, is competing in this years Longboard Classic.

This film was very important for surfers together as families, says Liz Barbee, clerk at Rhyn Noll Surfboards who saw the film in Arcata last year.

This is probably the greatest family movie. You walk out with a smile on your face; you just cant help it. I think the secret of aging and Im sure this goes along with the movies view is the maintaining of a youthful state of mind. Surfing helps you do that. Thats the mystique of surfing. You have to go out and do it to understand it, adds Barbee.

Her son Nick Barbee, 12, is also competing.

At 8 p.m., Saturday night, a live music dance featuring Northswell Stomp and Wonderland Avenue, a trio out of Humboldt County, will be at the Fairgrounds Arts andamp; Crafts Building to entertain all age groups. Along with the dance will be an Aloha Shirt Contest with comical categories of oldest, ugliest, gaudiest, most outgrown, and most elaborate collection. Admission to the dance is $5.

Progressing throughout the entire day of Sunday, Oct.8, beginning at 7:30 a.m. will be the semi finals with the Menahunies division scheduled to start about noon.