With most live sports on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, watching an in-person surf contest might sound like something out of a dream. Yet on Aug. 15 and 16, residents and visitors to Wrightsville Beach will have an opportunity to do just that, as the organizers of the Wahine Classic received approval to hold the competition.
The eighth annual event is open to professional and amateur female surfers of all ages, including the Teenie Wahines, ages 10 and under. The impact of COVID-19 on travel is affecting some of the regular participants. One competitor who will not be able to make the trip is Delilah Hutchins, a homegrown talent who moved to Costa Rica to pursue her dream of becoming a pro surfer. (“The Future is Bright for Delilah Hutchins” WBM June 2020).
Two other Wrightsville Beach surfing events that are a fixture on the calendar had to be canceled because of uncertainty over the coronavirus.
The Surfers Healing camp, set to take place Aug. 17, fell victim to the virus. The annual camp, which teaches children with autism how to surf, has taken place for the past 13 years.
“We’ve put off making this decision for as long as possible,” Danielle Paskowitz, co-founder of the nonprofit, said in a letter to families and volunteers. “There’s not a whole lot of flexibility to our schedule. If we miss our window, it’s not so easy to open another one on short notice given the tremendous amount of planning and logistics.”
Brad Beach, organizer of the O’Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest that had been scheduled for Aug. 21-23, waited as long as possible before making the decision to bail.
“Putting safety first and seeing the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in Florida and North Carolina, we think postponing our event until August 2021 is the smart decision,” Beach said in a Facebook post.
This would have been the 15th consecutive year of the second-largest surf contest on the East Coast.