Ben Bourgeois, Shea Lopez and Dean Randazzo didn’t just wake up one day on top of the surfing world. No way! It was a long road between gromhood and the Dream Tour.
There were years and years of amateur events leading up to their pro careers (and in Randazzo’s case, a lot of riding his bike to surf in a beavertail in April.) New Jersey is home to dozens of amateur surf events ever year.
In 2010, MC and entrenched event director, Scott Goodwin, decided to give some of the younger and more local guys and girls a chance to shred without all the pressure of the event.
The result was the first Belmar Amateur Weekend, which was held the weekend before the big show. Goodwin’s rolling out the big Am Weekend again this year, Septmeber 10-11.This will give younger surfers a nice warm up at the same break, with the same scaffolding, and same feel as the Pro without having to draw Kyle Garson or Jamie DeWitt. The Am event will offer six divisions – Mens, Boys, Juniors (under18), Longboard, Girls, and Bodyboard.
Last year saw a host of rippers from Hawaii and California who were in town early, looking for hurricane swell. Young Kalani David won the boys over Nic Hernandez. But Stone Harbor’s own Mikey Ciaramella beat him out in the Juniors. Monmouth County surfer, PJ Raia took third.
Hawaiian Nathan Carvalho won the Mens. The Girls title went to super-talented local female, Kim Kepich, who won a close one over Caroline Duerr. Corey Kisiel edged out JJ Egan in the Longboard and not to be left out, Rob Mack won the Bodyboard.
And don’t think because it’s an amateur event there aint some money being thrown around. The Boys, Jr. Men, and Mens division offer $200 for first place. That can do some damage over at T.R.’s Food Court. Second, third, and fourth place will get you $75, $50, and $30 respectively. Even the Longboard, Women, and Bodyboard Division have $100 on the line for first place!