Surf Season Amps Up

The 2018 summer surfing season promises to be a great one, with wave forecasters calling for a consistent season of ridable surf at area beaches and reefs. New England also is gearing up for the contest season, with competitions to be held in Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the next three months. The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), which is the largest organized surfing organization in the world, sponsors the majority of these events, kicking off with the 19th Annual New England Longboard Classic. This fun contest takes place on June 10 at Nantasket Beach, on the south shore of Massachusetts. Along with the great longboard and stand-up paddle board surfing events, there is a pizza party with a live band for competitors.

Middletown is the site of the four-contest circuit during the months of July and August, as top ESA competitors square off in the perfect summer surf of Second Beach. Local ESA surfers recently returned from competing at the 2018 Northeast Regional Surf-Offs, held in rough, turbulent conditions at Belmar Beach, New Jersey. Area adult winners included Men’s Open 6th place finisher, Luke Johnson, of Nantucket, Massachusetts; 7th place Open Men’s Longboard finalist, Jamie Kelley of Nantasket, Massachusetts; Masters Shortboard champion, Chris Herbert of Warwick; and Masters Longboard champion, Ray Way of Boston, Massachusetts. Ray also was the Senior Men’s champion. I was excited to compete and finished third in the Grand Legends Shortboard, second in the Open Bodyboard division and fifth in the Legends Longboard finals.

In the youth categories, Sophia Martino of Westerly finished seventh in the Girls and sixth in the Menehune Longboard finals. Dillon Moran of Narragansett placed seventh in the Menehune Final and fourth in the Menehune Longboard final. Page Hedde of South Kingstown scored in the Girls 16 and Under division, finishing seventh, while Jayden Parry of Narragansett placed seventh in the Junior Men’s division.

Local novice or veteran surfboarders or paddleboarders looking for custom work should head down to Narragansett this year. Dave Levy has been the area’s top shaper for more than 30 years, and hand shapes and glasses his own boards at his factory in Narragansett. Many of the area’s top surfers ride his models, and he can be contacted at his website, LSDsurfdesigns.com

There are several popular surfing camps that take place for novice and intermediate surfers. Narragansett Surf and Skate Surf Shop in Narragansett runs two 8-week camp sessions Monday through Thursday at both the Narragansett Town Beach and Matunuck Point in South Kingstown. Island Sports runs surfing camps at First Beach in Newport and Second Beach in Middletown. Former pro surfer Ana Barend runs a surfing camp in Little Compton, and northeastsurfing.com runs daily surf camps at Nantasket Beach. Former pro skimboarder Drew Bruno will run his annual skimboarding camp at the Town of South Kingstown Town Beach in July, and always has been popular with novice riders.

Keep track of the daily surf conditions at northeastsurfing.com or listen to 94-HYJ weekday mornings and afternoons. For surf camp information, go to islandsports.com, peterpansurfingacademy.com and narragansettsurfandskate.com. Surfers also can sign up at the Town of South Kingstown Recreation Department website for the Matunuck camps.

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