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Surf zombies (and other swell costumes) compete for Halloween glory




A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Todd Roberts, ZJ Boarding house founder and MC of the hauted heats event pictured here with a man dressed as the Predator from the 1980’s Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Rich Mudge (Los Angeles), Gerg Delger (North Hollywood, CA), Nicos Batanides (Burbank, CA) dressed as human pinatas.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Mikey O’Keefe (Hollywood, CA), Marcus Hall, (Mar Vista, CA) and Alec Beck (Vista, CA) dressed as Jesus, Jimi Hendrix and Aladdin.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Carolyn Durkalski dressed as Tippi Hendren from the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
A surfer’s worst nightmare.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Shay Rocco (Venice, CA), Eric Smith (Venice, CA) and Debb Foster (Venice, CA) get into acting out their pirate costumes on the beach.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Rebecca Zlber (Venice, CA) Daniela Burza (West Hollywood, CA), Karen Stuhr (La Canada, CA) and Elizabeth Montgomery (South Robertson, LA) dress up as Kim Jong-un and his nuclear arsenal. They lit smoke bombs and ‘detonated’ a nuclear bomb during the Haunted Heats beach portion of the competition.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Todd Roberts MC’s the 10th annual Haunted Heats event. Competitors pose for a group shot just before the competition begins.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Pirates, Kim Jong-un and one of the ghost busters take a group shot before they hit the waves to compete.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Surfers in the adult heat group wade out into the water to begin the surf competition.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
ZJ Boarding House judges sitting and watching the surfers act out their costumes in the water while catching waves. Todd Roberts, one of the shops founders let’s the surfers know how much time is left in their heat.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
A pod of wild dolphins checks out the competition.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Nicos Batanides falls as he tries to hit a small piñata hanging from his body.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Two pirates catch a wave.
A group of this year’s Haunted Heats competitors.
Tourist and shark return to the beach after preforming in the water.


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Jimi Hendrix, Kim Jong-un and a hotdog were found milling about the beach in Santa Monica this weekend.  No it wasn’t a dream—it was the Haunted Heats event thrown by local skate and surf shop ZJ Boarding House. 

Todd Roberts, one of the shop's founders, hosted the event now in its 10th year. To compete,  surfers had to act out their costumes both on the beach and while riding the waves. There were some pretty spooky and cooky outfits this year, like 3 men dressed as human piñatas.

“Well…We’re inspired by birthday cultures, especially Southern California, Mexican American kinda mash; so we’re human piñatas, here to spread candy and joy to all the kiddes and adults.”

Many people spent weeks or even months planning their costumes and their acts in the water.

There was a turquoise shark:

“So! I plan on going surfing for a moment, I will have a thing of fake blood with me and at one point I may lose my board get some fins on me and go and attack all other surfers, and it may come out bloody.”

There was Tippi Hedren from Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Birds."  She wore a retro style dress with black feathers and fake crows stuck to it with blood splattered all over. 

“The birds! I don’t know what’s happening get them off of me! Ahh! Ahh!!”

Adults and kids competed in different groups, or "heats" in surfer terms. There was panel of three judges scoring the beach performances and another three judges scoring the action in the ocean.

Crowds gathered to watch from the sand. Even a pod of dolphins (real ones, not people in costume) hung around the surfing contestants, as if they, too, were gawking.

Human piñatas batted at smaller real piñatas hanging from their bodies while on another board a woman wearing a giant triangular cheese hat, calling herself the ‘cheese goddess,’ caught waves.

It was a contest but nobody really seemed to care about winning. Heres what one of the piñatas had to say:

“It’s just a privilege to dress up in this ridiculous outfit and share our joy of Halloween with the community and everybody here at the beach; so  just being in here is already a win.”

Winners were announced for best costume, best act in the water and best overall. This year’s prize was taken by a surfer dressed as Kim Jong-un and three women dressed as nuclear missiles. They used music, lit smoke bombs and stayed totally in character the entire morning. Proceeds from event will go to help victims of the recent wildfires in northern California. 

Listen to the full story by clicking the audio player above