Day 1 of the 2016 FINS Belmar Invitational Open was a surprising and beautiful (and HOT) success! It was surprising because everyone was ultimately unsure what the waves would be with the marine forecasts changing by the hour and not looking too promising. … But this is home of the decade and a half long Belmar Pro … that ALWAYS gets lucky, even when the forecast calls for nothing, flat, ‘done deal’ right up till the day before!
… Then today happened: We were pleasantly greeted in the morning with chest high, exceptionally clean bowls with a little puff of offshore wind for 2/3 of the day till the wind went south and put a little texture to it. Kind of exactly like what happens at Trestles, ironic. Four different sandbars were working throughout the day and the swell not only pushed right through high tide like a champ, but even got slightly bigger as the day went on. Throw in some beautiful skies and hot, perfect beach weather and you have the recipe for a nirvana-like day for a surf contest. Smiles and good vibes permeated the beach scene today. Literally everyone was stoked on the surf. … Even Hawaiian legends Reno Abellira and Mark Liddell who are here were stoked on the waves!
Taking a different approach with the main Mens division this year, a 32-man WSL-style format with two initial “double-elimination” rounds was created, and the staff grinded the contest through both 16-heat double elimination rounds all the way to Round 3 Heat 5 before calling it a day!
With some of the regular Belmar Pro heavies like Michael Dunphy (is competing in the Azores Pro) and Ben Bourgoise (just got home from long trip) for example not making it to Belmar this year, it was a win-fest for many New Jersey locals today. Belmar Local Logan Kamen has won himself past Round 3 into Round 4 and NJ’s beloved legend and tour vet Dean Randazzo suffered an upset loss in Round 3 to NJ’s Jamie Moran. But the two high performance beasts on day 1 were NJ’s vet Randy Townsend and former Belmar Pro champ MD’s Vince Boulanger: Randy was the first to hold a lead for highest individual wave score and also highest total heat score … until Boulanger pulled out and insane, crisply executed inverted 360 air reverse that had the entire beach belt out a hoot and applause to award Vince the first perfect “10” of the event, and his advancement into Round 4.
Tomorrow we kick off at 8:00am with Round 3 Heat 6 – See ya at the beach!!
Below are some photos from today: