Words & Photos by Nick King
Boards and bikinis were out in full force on Saturday as Switchfoot and other great bands took to the stage on Encinitas’ Moonlight Beach for the 11th annual Bro-Am surf competition and fundraising concert.
Over the years, the Switchfoot Bro-Am event has given to numerous children’s organizations around San Diego County, most of which are focused on aiding underprivileged and homeless youth. Switchfoot front-man Jon Foreman stated during the performance that he and his band became dedicated early on to giving back to the communities of San Diego. This year’s event focused on the opening of Switchfoot’s non-profit music school in Encinitas, Bro-Am Studios, in light of recent budget cuts to arts programs throughout San Diego County public schools. Foreman and his bandmates hope that their school will offer a creative outlet to children who lack the means to receive a musical education.
The Hurley-presented event kicked off with both amateur and sponsored surf competitions, followed by an extreme sport known as “Surf-Jousting” you may not have heard of. Geared up in colorful wetsuits and bicycle helmets, competitors fought bravely amidst the waves to knock their opponents off their boards with long padded batons.
Soon after, the first musical acts of the day could be heard playing an entirely solar-powered stage. Bands including Colony House and Needtobreathe maintained a folk-rock vibe while the other performers, Brynn Elliot and Drew Holcomb, graced the stage as eloquent singer-songwriters. After a raffle prize giveaway and a trophy ceremony for the surf competitors, Grammy-winning band Switchfoot performed to a lively crowd, galvanized by a strong sense of community and purpose.
The massively successful solar stage was just a part of the event’s “green” initiative. In addition to the entire event being “water-bottle free,” the Rob Machado Foundation provided volunteers to help manage proper recycling and composting efforts.
Other notable participants included the non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms, which offers support for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and thoughts of suicide, and Via-Sat, which employed students of Carlsbad High School to film and broadcast the event online.