Joel Bishop’s day competing in the 2017 Still Frothy Surf Festival may have ended early after the Arroyo Grande High School graduate was eliminated in the first heat of the pro-am contest Sunday afternoon in Pismo Beach.
But the 20-year-old stuck around until the end of the contest – as he had for the past several years. It paid off this year in the form of a $1,000 scholarship, one of two prizes in that amount awarded at the event’s conclusion.
The other scholarship went to Ethan Marquis, another Arroyo Grande High School graduate. In all, Still Frothy gifted $5,000 total in scholarships as part of its Youth Scholarship Program.
The scholarship was just one reward in an event that has long been a highlight in Bishop’s surfing career, giving him the ability to compete on his hometown beach in front of family and friends.
“I love surfing here,” Bishop said. “This is my favorite place in the world.”
Bishop ran the Arroyo Grande High School surf club until 2015 when he left for college. During the awards ceremony, Still Frothy founder Walt Cerny mentioned that comments recently made by Bishop’s former high school surf club coach, Brad Osborne, “reinforced why we were going to pick Joel (for the scholarship).”
Osborne said that with the departure of Bishop, the club had gone awry due to the absence of his motivational spirit.
“Joel has just been a good kid around here,” Cerny said. “He’s helped us every year for the contest by coming down and volunteering his time. Helping us set up at 5:30 in the morning and helping us break down. He’s pretty much been here all day for the last three to four years.”
Bishop had the physical size and skills to potentially play college football, but a bone disorder prevented him from pursuing that avenue.
“The reward factor for overall life just didn’t make sense,” Bishop said.
But he’s going all in on his surfing career and recently made the decision to turn pro, hiring Kilian Garland as his coach. Bishop plans to finish up his general education at CSU Channel Islands before taking online business classes while competing in the Qualifying Series for the World Surf League.
“Both of my parents are educators, and I believe in education. I think education is the best thing you can do for yourself,” Bishop said. “But also I want to pursue my dreams, and my dream has always been surfing.”
Bishop will be competing in the Pismo Beach Open on Nov. 17-19, a WSL Qualifying Series event — the first of its kind to be held at Pismo Beach.
Still Frothy Surf Festival results
1. Sam Reichel, $3,000
2. Quinten Rubalcava, $1,500
3. Micky Clarke, $500
4. Jeremy Ryan, $250
Tow-At Air Show
1. Austin Neumann and Vinny Leonelli, $2,000 ($1,000 each)
2. Braden Jones & Micky Clarke, $500 ($250 each)
Best Individual Performance: Noah Wegrich
1. Tommy McKeown, $1,000
2. AJ Menna, $500
3. Eithan Osborne
4. Zane Booth
5. Mario Diaz
6. Myles Freeh
1. Hamilton Jacobs, $500
2. Pitas Higgens
3. Jak Ziets
4. Marley Sapp
5. Curtis Jacobs
6. Liam Osborne
Groms (10 & Under)
1. Jayce Headland, $100
2. Kash Ritchie
3. Reese Kelly
4. Ryder Eldridge
5. Makena Ermocida
6. Ava Beckett
1. Sydney Beckett, $100
2. Emma Higgins
3. Amelia Ermocida
4. Makena Ermocida
5. Caiya Mcallister
6. Ashley Monterio