Monster Surf for Halloween Classic
By Peter Pan
It was certainly appropriate that monster surf would appear for the ESA Annual Northeast Titles, just before Halloween, this past Sunday. After a week postponement, surfers were greeted by massive and challenging swells from the passing remnants of the hurricane system that went by on Saturday. “This is without a doubt, the biggest surf we have ever had for a contest at the Narragansett Town Beach,” said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade. “Surf contests have been going on here since the early 1960’s, and I am fairly certain that there has never been swells like this to content with.” Despite the adverse conditions, the seasoned competitors decided to paddle out.
ESA officials employed a rarely used format to make things easier for the contestants. Due to the long and hard paddle out, the contest was set up as a 45-minute extended heat, with the best two waves scored. Because of the powerful undertow and relentless walls off white water, most of the competitors chose to run along the sea wall, and paddle out off the rocks near the Coast Guard House Restaurant. The current pulled the surfers right into the line-up, once they got out past the breaking waves.
The best formed waves broke on the inside. Unfortunately, if you waited for one of the good waves, you left yourself open to the huge outside close-out sets that shut down. Competitors had to scramble in and out of the line-up, moving up and down the beach, to get one of the good ones. The heat began with Ella Fontenot swinging around half-way outside, and nailing an overhead right that reeled off into the shorebreak. This ride had her in solid first place until New England’s #1 men’s competitor, Jamie Kelley dropped into a left bomb that put him into an overhead barrel. Although it shut down on the inside, this pushed him into the lead.
Meanwhile, off to the right of the main peak, Sophia Martino picked off one backside right and one frontside left closer to the inside, moving her into the first place spot. Kelley found another huge left bomb to seal the win, as the heat finished. “There were certainly some scary moments out there,” said one competitor after the heat. It could not have happened at a better time of the year.
For their efforts, all competitors received 5mm Hyperflex wetsuit gloves, instead of trophies. The next ESA contest, the Holiday Surfabout, will be the final event of the year, scheduled for November 17th, at the Narragansett Town Beach.
Final Results of the Northeast Titles, held at the Narragansett Town Beach, on October 28th, 2018 in very big surf. Menehune Girls-1.Summer Lukens Menehune Boys-1.Dillon Moran Girls Under 16-1.Sophia Martino 2.Page Hedde Boys Under 16-1.Ian Lucht 2.Charlie Krause 3.Dylan Holtbakk Junior Women-1.Ella Fontenot Junior Men-1.Jayden Parry Men-1.Jamie Kelley Masters-1.Colin Walker Senior Men-1.John Martino Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan
Here’s some photos
Jamie Kelly, Sophie Martino, and Colin Walker.
Pics by Lisa Haase