The typical test of nerves did not disappoint once again as “just enough” 2ft SE swell and light winds hung in there throughout the event, but not without throwing some Murphy’s Law style chaos at us.
The day started off with outgoing tide and sheet of glass 2 footers giving their best imitation of rideable rights and lefts. Then somewhere around 11:30 am a rowdy storm blew in quick from out of the south and hammered the contest area with torrential downpour and lightning bolts cracking everywhere with the beachgoers scrambling for cover and the staff in the scaffold scrambling to cover equipment and stop items from getting blown away, all while hoping not to attract a bolt from the heavens while grabbing on to the tent poles. Contest went on temporary hold.
Flash forward about 45 minutes later and it went right back to nice beach weather, heats resuming, and spectators making their way back on to the beach.
The Eastern Lines Legends Longboard saw a close final with George Melton and Gary Finnegan Sr going wave for wave with Finnegan winnin’ again (Say that fast 3 times! lol). The Pacifica Longboard Open heat happened during the heaviest part of the rain (see pics below) and was the victim of the temporary hold, but when the final horn sounded Jake DeMatteo edged out of a close battle with Ty Roach for the win. In the Cecil Lear Legends shortboard Open Gary Finnegan did win again, taking out Ron Belager. In the Creatures Masters Open New Smyrna FL’s in-form Josh Nicastro blazed past finalists taking out Jon Smyth for the win.
Here’s where things started heating up:
In the Joe’s Kahuna Sr Men final, although it was a 4-man heat, Jersey legends Jack Murphy and Pat “Surf Cat” Emery went wave for wave linking everything they could squeeze out of the 2 ft waves, with some quietly whispering they thought Murphy may have had the edge. In the end, Emery’s ride all the way up to the sand got .4 more from the judges stand, enough to take the win.
In the Playa Bowls Womens Open the winningest champ in Belmar Pro Womens’ 2-decade history, south Jersey’s Cassidy McClain battled past another event veteran and former 2-time champ herself Jessica Kwiecinski to rack up an astounding 9th, yes, NINTH Belmar Pro Womens title.
In the FINS Mens Open final it was the in-form surfer of the event, Costa Rica’s Alberto Muñoz taking the win from Jersey’s Tucker Collins.
As always, thank you so much to the competitors and spectators for their patience with mother nature, to the staff for the hard work, and special thank you to the sponsors that make this event keep running.
See you next year! 🤙
Below are photos from Finals day:
Some photos courtesy of Mark Sisom: