April finishes fast with surfing, bed racing and more

Pawleys Island surfer Luke Gordon

While the water temperature remains in the chilly 60s, the biggest surfing competition to be held in the Charleston area in eight years starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The Eastern Surfing Association is hosting its 30th annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Surfing Championship, presented by Liquid Shredder, on Folly Beach.

The nonprofit ESA, established in 1967, is the largest amateur surf organization in the United States and the contest is expected to bring about 300 competitors, along with spectators to the area for four days of surfing and stand-up paddleboard contests.

The only local competition that comes close to that is the Governor's Cup of Surfing in August. It typically draws about 200 surfers, mostly locals and others from southern South Carolina.

This weekend will draw not only more surfers but families from as far away as Tybee Island, Ga., to Ocean City, Md.

Unlike most surfing contests on Folly Beach, which are held at The Washout, the regionals will be held near the pier and The Tides hotel.

The last time the Mid-Atlantic regionals were held on Folly was 2006. The contest qualifies competitors for The Easterns championship held in Nags Head, N.C., on Sept. 14-20.

"We are stoked to be back in Folly Beach ... for the fourth time since 1991," says Harry Purkey, the ESA's Mid-Atlantic regional director. "The outpouring of local support for our championships has been incredible and beyond compare. Folly Beach and the ESA-SSC District always deliver for the ESA in the surf and on the beach - first class all the way."

And this is a first-class surf contest, as they go.

The Mid-Atlantic regionals will feature professional judges, computerized scoring and a live, streaming webcast on the ESA website, as well as an array of other events.

Weather permitting, the surfing movie "Chasing Mavericks, will be shown on an outdoor screen at The Tides starting at dark Thursday. The screening is free, but those interested should bring beach chairs or towels.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Ocean Surf Shop will host an outdoor "Surf Party" with music and food.


Long billed as "the second most fun you can have in bed," the Charleston Bed Race has established itself as one of the truly best silly events for a very serious cause, helping kids battling cancer in South Carolina.

In its fifth year, Sunday's bed race involves teams of five racing decorated beds on wheels, two teams at a time, the distance of about two city blocks on Mary Murray Boulevard in Hampton Park.

Besides Fastest Bed, other categories include Best Decorated Bed, Most Outrageously Decorated Bed, Best "What Were You Thinking" Bed, Slowest Bed and the People's Choice Award.

Spectators have almost as much fun as participants and have access to a beer garden with two food trucks.

The event starts with a parade of beds at noon and races starting at 1 p.m. The cost per team to participate is $125. Registration takes place up to the start of the parade.

The event benefits Camp Happy Days, a summer camp and other programming for children with cancer in the Palmetto State.


One of the oldest, fastest and smallest races in South Carolina is the Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative Rice Run and Walk 5K, part of the Colleton County Rice Festival, which runs through Sunday.

The run and walk starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, while a 1-mile fun run stars at 9 a.m.

The event draws talent, often including Kenyan graduate students, because of a relatively generous purse for top finishing overall male and female ($200, $150 and $100) and top male and female masters runners ($100). The late registration fee for the Rice Run is $15 (no T-shirt included).


Where do wild things run? On Saturday, they will run on the trails of one of the wildest parks in the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's system: Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel.

PRC hosts its third annual Where the Wild Things Run 5K Run and Walk at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Caw Caw, a 654-acre site rich in natural, cultural and historical resources.

Though the 5K run and walk is for ages 10 and up, youths ages 10-15 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. For parents running, children ages 6-12 are invited to try out a wild things-inspired yoga class, make a monster mask and cast tracks of wild things in the park. Activities are offered between 8:30 and 10 a.m. And while kids are welcome, dogs are not.

Registration fees are $28-$34.


Want to get a little wilder? The Santee Birding and Nature Festival, based out of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Summerton, will feature an array of nature walks, paddling trips and photography workshops Friday through Sunday.

The keynote speaker will be noted local naturalist Richard Porcher, who will talk at a banquet dinner on Friday evening.


Charleston's March for Babies, a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, will take place 9 a.m. Saturday at Cannon Park in Charleston.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit committed to reducing the toll of premature birth, which touches more than 9,000 babies in South Carolina each year, by funding research to find the causes and preventions of premature birth and providing comfort and information to families with a baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"Family teams are the heart and soul of the March for Babies and they demonstrate first hand why it is so important to raise awareness and funds to support vital research that will help prevent premature birth" said Jason Alexander, CEO of East Cooper Medical Center and the walk's chairman.

The walk goes from Cannon Park down toward The Battery and then back to the park. Participants can park for free at the MUSC Courtenay Drive garage. Other paid parking is in the MUSC Ashley Rutledge garage.


More than 400 Charleston area Zumba enthusiasts and nine instructors will work up a sweat 10-1 p.m. Saturday at Trident Academy gym, 1455 Wakendaw Road, in Mount Pleasant.

Registration for participants is $10. Students can defray their entry fee by getting pledges.

The student earning the most pledges will win an iPad mini. All proceeds benefit the Lowcountry Autism Consortium's annual forum on Oct. 4 at the College of Charleston.