For those of you new to SDMC, the Surf ‘N’ Safari title means nothing. To those of us old timers, it has great significance of fun, driving, spending time together, AND FUN.
For historical purposes, the first SNS was in 1999; sponsored by a fairly young club (ours) held in October at the now Doubletree Hotel in Carmel Mountain Ranch. It was a long anticipated event that turned out to be arguably the best Miata “party” known to date. With an intimate venue, great food, lots of out of town guests and good weather, we had a four day Miata Party recognized by nation- wide guests to be the best there was.
Because the aftermarket Miata accessories scene was very hot at the time, we had a significant vendor “jungle” that included Moss Motors, Flyin Miata, Crazy Red etc. Many of us got great deals on parts and accessories. We also had numerous runs and group activities to participate in based on your preferences: short driving events, all day driving events, a welcome reception, a trip to the Wild Animal Park (Safari) and a luau on the beach in Coronado (Surf ).
Bill Wilner , VP of SoCalm wrote in Twists and Turns, Nov. 1999: “Congratulations to SDMC on their first production of this scale (read: awesome!). The events were so well planned and all ran seamlessly; the runs to the forest-village of Julian and around the orchards and wine country of Ramona were spectacular. The Friday night Luau on Coronado Island was a relief from the heat inland. There were so many great vendors to shop with and get installs from in one place. There were cool freebies like a canvas deck bag with a copy of the 5th anniversary Miata book for every registrant; the food was all terrific and there was plenty for everyone! The raffle prizes it seemed like everyone won something (I know I did). The attention to detail was amazing: even the graphics on all the handouts were stunning!”
After that beginning, Co Chairpersons Sue Hinkle and Barb Templeton worked together to have an even more spectacular event at Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, in 2004 and again in 2010. One of the highlights in 2004 was the “Murder Mystery Rally” which took us all over San Diego to solve a crime. In 2010, with economic depression interfering, our vendor section was smaller but again, we pulled it off as a club, everyone worked harder at controlling costs and making it special. Our signature rally was “Surfin’ San Diego” a rally that took you all over San Diego with a musical cd to highlight the drive.
In the November 2010 newsletter Sue Hinkle said: “Once again we rose to the occasion and put on another great event. I recall when we were planning our very first Surf ‘N’ Safari what Steve Waid considered Success and these same three things resonated with me throughout the entire planning of Surf ‘N’ Safari 10. (1) SDMC members would have a great time, (2) Those who traveled to Surf ‘N’ Safari would have a great time, and (3) SDMC would look good. We definitely accomplished all three. The measurement of Success was also evidenced by our participants and their comments about how much fun they were having and how organized we were. A couple of comments in particular stand out in my mind . . . Kim Neal, MAZDA USA. . . “I’ve been to many many Mazda events and have never attended one that was so organized and so much fun.” Teri Cardell, Flyin’ Miata. . .” Everybody was wonderful to us from the moment we walked into the room to the time we left. We received welcome hugs and greetings and we feel as though we are a part of your extended Miata family.“
Surf N Safari 2015 was held in a beautiful venue right on the beach at Carlsbad, the Hilton Garden Inn, which gave us a great venue with open spaces and plenty of parking, as well as a ballroom for our Saturday party. We enjoyed a sell-out crowd from Canada, New England and South Carolina. Again, great venue and great events superseded everyone’s expectations for a great Miata party.
Now Surf N Safari 2020 is being planned. This year we are returning to “Safari” roots and the event will be held at the beautiful Singing Hills Resort at Sycuan, where we have beautiful amenities, great food and easy access to the most scenic and fun “twisties” in Southern California. We hope to occupy the entire resort, so everywhere you go there will be Miata friends to get to know and enjoy. Please make your plans NOW to join us in October 2020.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Read our newsletter accounts of the three previous Surf N Safaris: