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ESA contest Belmar, NJ May 2016 |

Locals Shine in Big Surf!

By Peter Pan

New England’s top Eastern Surfing Association competitors put out outstanding performances this past weekend, at the 2016 ESA Northeast Regional Surf-Offs, held in Belmar, New Jersey. This year’s 3-day contest featured storm surf with waves up to 12 feet, along with strong rip tides and current. Conditions became so sketchy during the last day of final heats, the Belmar Lifeguards sent out a special water patrol team to the line-up, in case a competitor got in trouble during the contest. The biggest and nastiest conditions occurred during the youth events, and our local girls team were the ones who charged it. Despite getting hit by her board while paddling out in the bone crushing shore break, Lilly Gartner managed to grab two right hander bombs for a hard fought 3rd place finish in the Junior Women Longboard Under 18 Final. Maria Barend found that one big barrel off the south jetty, and vaulted her from 6th to 2nd place in a tight Girls Under 16 Shortboard Final. Page Hedde caught two big left handers, and back-sided her way into a 4th place in the Girls Under 14 Final. Jayden Parry had an exceptional day, as he made the big drops in the steep waves, and rode to a 3rd place finish in the Menehune Longboard Under 14 division. Noah Gartner and Joe Doherty Jr. just missed advancing the finals, finishing in 4th place in their respective divisional semi-finals. Several longtime ESA directors watched the wild surf, and noted that this was probably the biggest and roughest conditions they had seen, since the inception of the regional championships, in 1984. Several of our local adult competitors excelled in the rough conditions as well, although most of their contests were held on the previous two days in tamer waves. Kevin Roy tore his way through many rounds of tough heats, to win the Senior Longboard, get a very close 2nd in the Senior Men’s, and a 5th in the most difficult division of all, the Open Shortboard. For his outstanding achievements, he was awarded the “Adult Iron Man.” The always consistent Jamie Kelly showed his frontside best, to advance to a 4th place in the Men’s Longboard and 5th in the Men’s Short board divisional finals. Sara Procaccini nose rode her way to a solid 2nd place performance in the Women’s Longboard Final, while Andrew Marsden finished up in 4th place in the Master Longboard division. Kitty Pechet advanced to a 4th place in the semi-finals of the Grand Legends Shortboard division. Peter Pan managed to advance to 4 finals, taking 4th in the Grand Legends Shortboard, 4th in the Open SUP, 4th in the Open Bodyboard, and 5th in the Legends Longboard divisions. Pat Redmond finished 5th in the Open Bodyboard Final. The next ESA event will take place in Nantasket, Massachusetts, on June 12th. It is the Annual New England Longboard Classic and will feature both rated and non-rated competition in longboard and SUP categories.

Lilly Gartner

Page Hedde

Peter Pan himself

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