Let The Games Begin

BY Mary Catherine Logan

When the competitive surfing season opens later this month Wrightsville Beach will solidify its position as the surfing capital of the East Coast. Contests abound and many of them offer significant prizes. Professional surfers can cash checks and the rest of us — whether we are in the water or watching from the beach — can just have a really good time. Herewith is a listing of the established contests. There are sure to be some new ones and organizers are encouraged to put their information in letters to the editor so that we can help spread the word.

SNC District 1 Contest

March 24

Crystal or Johnnie Mercer’s Pier

The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) holds numerous contests throughout the year and this unnamed contest kicks off the season. The closely contested competitions keep track of standings to send the highest-ranking surfers on to more advanced contests.

The ESA is the largest amateur surfing association in the world with a current membership of more than 7 000. Dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing the association was founded in 1967 by East Coast surfers to promote preserve and protect the sport on the East Coast. Surfers such as Kelly Slater Lisa Anderson and C.J. Hobgood have been involved with the ESA. Divisions are listed on page 34. For more information call (910) 452- 3033.

Cost: $20 $5 for additional division.

Registration: Download the entry form from www.sncsurf.com or pick up an entry form from any area surf shop.

SNC District 2 Contest

April 21-22
See above.

Red Dogs Pro-Am Contest

May 11-13

Crystal Pier

More than 20 local companies come together each year to support this family-friendly contest. The competition hosts wave riders in eight divisions including: Open Longboard Open Men Boys Jr. Men Open Women’s Longboard Open Women’s Shortboard Pro and the one-of-a-kind 200-plus Shortboard. This popular division is the only one made especially for men weighing more than 200 pounds and thus apt to fall behind lightweight shortboarders.

A skateboarding contest is also held on the Friday night of the contest in the Surf City parking lot.

Last year’s surf contest featured more than $25 000 in cash and prizes. This year’s prizes are yet to be announced. For more information call Sean O’Donald at (910) 622-0044.

Cost: $30 for amateur $75 for pro.

Registration: Pick up entry form from area surf shops.

SNC District 3 Contest

May 12

See page 30.

Wrightsville Beach Longboard Classic

June 2-3

Shell Island Access No. 2

One of the longest-running contests on Wrightsville the Wrightsville Beach Longboard Classic will hold its contest for the sixth year in a row. The contest is put on by the Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association founded by Bill Curry a long-time member of the surfing community.

The classic offers two $500 scholarships to chosen applicants who meet its criteria. The Friday night before the event a banquet is traditionally held at Katy’s Bar and Grill on Oleander Drive. The divisions are the same as ESA but include an additional Classic Log division and Supertanker division. A four-man relay race is also held. The top four winners of the contest receive a trophy. All contestants must enter with a longboard. For more information e-mail [email protected]

Cost: $30 plus $20 for each additional division entered.

Registration: For scholarship pick up an entry form in any local surf shop. For contest pick up an entry form from area surf shops.

Billabong 2007 Surf Rat Series

June 3

Oceanic Street

For the second year in a row Billabong will come to Wrightsville Beach on a promotional tour to give back to the young surfing community. The contest is just one of 15 around the country for this series. It is open to surfers under age 16 divided into two divisions: 16 and under and 13 and under. The winner from each division is sent to the Super Finals in California to compete for a chance to win a free trip to Tavarua Fiji. The top pro surfers from Billabong will accompany the winner.

The Wrightsville Beach contest is a one-day event with day-long giveaways from T-shirts to bookbags and shoes. For more information e-mail [email protected]

Cost: Free.

Registration: Sign up on the beach. A parent’s signature on safety waiver is required.

Reef/Sweetwater  Pro-Am Surf Fest

July 13-15

Oceanic Street

This growing event has quickly become one of the largest East Coast surfing contests drawing hundreds of surfers from across the country. Last year professional surfers Rob Machado Ben Bourgeois Brad Gerlach and Evan Valiere paddled out for a shot at the $20 000 purse alongside some of Wrightsville’s finest. “Endless Summer II” star Pat O’Connell also rode a few waves. Divisions include: Boys 15 and under Men 16+ Men’s Open Longboard Girls 17 and under Women 18+ and Pros.

The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday. This year the contest aims to have a $30 000 purse for the pro division. For more information call Tony Butler at (910) 256- 3821.

Cost: $40 amateur $125 for pro.

Registration: Download the form from www.wblivesurf.com or pick up form in area surf shops.

East Coast Wahine

August 25-26

Crystal Pier

The East Coast Wahine annually sweeps female surfers from all over the country to Wrightsville for a weekend of girls-only festivities. The contest is one of the two largest wahine competitions on the East Coast drawing visitors from as far as Hawaii and Washington. Special guests such as pro surfer Mimi Rogers occasionally join in unannounced.

The contest holds unique divisions of its own ranging from beginners with no experience to pros mostly mirroring ESA’s divisions. A banquet is held Saturday night followed by the finals on Sunday. For more information visit www.eastcoastwahines.com

Cape Fear Clean Water Classic

Oct. 6-7

Stone Street

Started three years ago by Sean Ahlum chairman of the Cape Fear Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation the Cape Fear Clean Water Classic was established to bring different Surfrider chapters and the public together for a common goal — clean water. Since then the foundation along with the UNCW Surfrider Club and O’Neill has held its annual contest to promote awareness about pollution litter beach preservation and protecting special places.

The two-day event offers four unique divisions: Open Grom (18 and under) Open Over 18 the Surfshop Team Challenge and the College Surf Team Challenge. The Surfshop Team Challenge includes a team comprised of members spanning generations of the surfshop team while the College Surf Team Challenge draws in college surf teams from up and down the East Coast. For more information or to register visit www.wbcleanwaterclassic.com or send an e-mail to [email protected].

SNC District 6 Contest (Halloween event)

October 14 or 27

Put on by the ESA this contest wraps up the season with a family-friendly fun event. The participants are encouraged to dress up and come out to get candy and to surf. There is a prize for best-dressed as well as for the winners of the competition. For more information call (910) 452- 3033.

Cost: $20 $5 for additional division.

Registration: Download the entry form from www.sncsurf.com or pick up an entry form from any area surf shop.

Cape Fear Cold Water Classic

1st or 2nd weekend of December

Oceanic Street

This contest was started three years ago as a result of Zach Hauser’s high school graduation project in conjunction with Christian Surfers. The contest has grown bigger every year. Last year the event raised $5 000 which went to the Hope From Helen Fund. This year the money will again go into the fund which donates to charities such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) the American Cancer Society and the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project.

The pro purse last year was $2 000 and organizers are eyeing more money this year. The divisions include: Grom 14 and under Jr. Men 14-17 Men 17+ Open Longboard Open Women and Pros. For more information call (910) 470-0087.

Cost: $35 for amateur $75 for pro.

Registration: Pick up an entry form from any area surf shop.

Schedule is subject to change due to weather or scheduling conflicts.

Eastern Surf Association Divisions

Open Shortboard (all ages M/F)
Menehune (boys & girls 11 and under)
Boys (12-14)
Junior Men (15-17)
Men (18-24)
Masters (25-34)
Senior Men (35-44)
Grandmasters (45-54)
Legends (55-64) Shortboard rules and equipment
Grand Legends (65 +) Shortboard or Longboard (no restriction of equipment)
Girls (14 and under)
Junior Women (15-17)
Women (18-29)
Senior Women (30+)

Menehune Longboard (14 and under M/F)
Junior Longboard (15-17)
Men Longboard (18-34)
Senior Longboard (35-49)
Legends Longboard (50+)
Women Longboard (under 29)
Women Longboard (30+)

Menehune Bodyboard (14 and under M/F)
Open Bodyboard (all ages M/F)