Scott Duerr Manasquan, NJ ~ Photo: Joanne O’Shaughnessy
While we’re talking Belmar, let’s take it back to the 1972 “BelMardi Gras” contest run by Cecil Lear. The late Jackie Wright took first, but taking second place was 13-year-old Scotty Duerr. Duerr grew up surfing Manasquan Inlet and has been featured in all the major surf magazines with photos by Dick Mez, John Ker, Ray Halgreen, and Bruce Chrisner. He won the 1978 State Championship in Seaside Heights over Mike Grassley, advanced into the main event of the Grog’s Seaside Pro in 1978 defeating the fourth ranked surfer in the world of that time, Chris “Critta” Byrne from Australia. Decades later, he still advanced to the semis of the Brave New World Pro Am in 2006 against some of today’s hottest local pros.Today Duerr is married with three daughters and the whole family spends a good deal of time by the ocean.
Dean Randazzo Somers Point, NJ ~ Photo: Sergio
“The Jersey Devil” remains the first and only surfer from New Jersey to have ever competed on the ASP World Tour. His list of competitive accomplishments are endless, including two X Games Gold Medals, X Games MVP, first place in the Red Bull Icebreak in 2004, the finals of the Belmar Pro that year, and two Smith Optics Garden State Grudge Match belts. But it’s the four battles he has won over Hodgkins disease, and the support he has given to others through the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundations that inspires us. After one such battle in 2009, his first surf session after months of recovery was his Belmar heat, where he advanced and went on to the semifinals. Randazzo has surfed a few star events in Mexico and Central America this summer and he is ready for Belmar.
Brian Dalton, Belmar, NJ ~ Photo: Stockdale
No one loves the Belmar Pro like Brian Dalton. After all, he competes during the day and makes money at night, bartending at The Columns, which hosts a Fosters Belmar Pro party each year.Dalton is a true-blood local boy, longtime friend and team rider for Eastern Lines Surf Shop. As a young man, he was driving down Ocean Ave., and was distracted watching a set break. This caused him to hit the car ahead of him. “She ended up getting out of the car and was hot looking, so we got married,” he recounts.Dalton competes in the Am and Pro weekends in both short and longboard. He has taken second place in the Am event several times. In big surf in 2010, he had the whole beach rooting him on to second place in the Longboard Pro to Tony Silvagni.
Jack Murphy Highlands, NJ ~ Photo: Dan Hapstack
Jack Murphy is a longtime member of the music and action sports-based apparel SRH family. From surf trips through the South Pacific to life on the road with the Kottonmouth Kings, he’s full speed ahead. He is currently working on the documentary “Still Flying High” about life in the counter culture. Born and raised in Monmouth County, he has surfed around the world and now resides in Highlands. He has surfed over 500 professional and amateur events in his long career. He’s looking forward to the Belmar Pro simply to show some of the world’s best surfers what New Jersey’s breaks are capable of.
Gary Finnigan Avon, NJ ~ Photo: Rick Barry
Finnigan started surfing competitively in 1969, with Cecil Lear taking him to all the ESA surf contests on the East Coast from Montauk to Cape Hatteras. Now he’s been surfing for 47 years, growing up just over the bridge from Belmar in Avon, NJ. Since then, he has surfed in contests all along the East Coast and California with some of the top competitors of his day including Rick Rasmussen, Jeff Aronsman, Billy McCudden, Buttons, Michael Ho, and more. Finnegan is a local surf artist and has been an accomplished harness horse trainer/driver who has won hundreds of races and over millions in prize money.
Hewitson not only has some history at the Belmar Pro, he also has some serious local roots. His father was one of 12 and his mother one of five children who all grew up in the Belmar area. Hewey is a former ASP East Mens Jr. Champ and surfed the ASP’s World Tour in 1999 among the elite 44 surfers in the world. He made the finals of Belmar in 2003 and came escaped a hurricane-ravaged Florida in 2004 with his family to come up and win the Fosters Belmar Pro. That year started as a slugfest in huge southswell and ended as a chess match in tiny windchop. These days, he’s a sales rep for Sanuk, Stance socks, Island Daze, and Ocean & Earth and has five children of his own. He enjoys coming back to Belmar every year to see family, surf punchy beachbreak, and maybe get a night in Atlantic City. He will surf both the Pro and the Masters.
39-year-old Mike Sarg and was born, raised, and still live in Manhattan. His last contest was in the Menehune division at the ESA New York State Championships where he came in first. That was almost 30 years ago and he hasn’t competed since. He is a real estate broker for higher-end properties in the city and travels as much as possible. Most recently he went to El Salvador for a few days and then on a Maldives boat trip. During the fall, winter, and spring he stays local to New York and New Jersey, hunting barrels with an occasional month in Hawaii mid-winter. He’s looking forward to regaining his competitive chops, a chance to meet some new people and get some good ones if it’s bombing.