It was a perfect combination of great waves, perfect beach weather, and outstanding surfing performances. That is the best way to describe the 6th Annual “Battle of the Beach,” held at Matunuck Point, on September 23rd, 2017. Contest organizer and director, Conrad Ferla outdid himself this year, amassing thousands of dollars in prize merchandise, including a stash of new surfboards. The spoils were evenly distributed among the top 4 finalists in each division.

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Unidentified from Final. Photo: Lisa Haase.

“We had a tremendous turnout this year,” said Ferla. “More entries and more prizes,” he continued. “The lure of the big money prizes does it every time.” Ferla, whose grandfather owned and operated the world famous Rocky Point Park in Warwick, is no stranger to working the crowds, and hustling to get things done right. This contest was his most successful venue thus far. With live music, good food and drink, courtesy of the Ocean Mist Bar and Grille, the throngs of spectators enjoyed a great show.
The contest was intense, with 41 heats that ran from 9 AM to 7 PM, and up to 8 contestants in each heat. The good thing was that there were plenty of waves to be had, thanks to swells from Hurricane Jose and Maria.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

Competitors could spread out among the perfect chest to shoulder high peaks at the point, the inside reef, and the “Mary’s Bar” break closest to the judges stand. Surfers from as far away as Florida and Canada came to compete, hoping to bring home some of the big prizes.

In the end, after numerous rounds of quarter finals, semi-finals, and finals, it was veteran competitors of the Eastern Surfing Association that dominated in almost every division. Braydon Bennett had been riding Matunuck Point all week, tuning up for the event. He picked off the two best peaks of the final, to top another ESA ripper, Northeast Regionals finalist Sophia Martino, for the Grom Shortboard title.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

Noah Gartner rode the tip on a screaming left inside wall that reeled off into the inner sandbar, to top a determined Page Hedde in the Grom Longboard Final. Hedde did catch the biggest wave of the final heat, but could not find another high point ride to catch Noah.

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Maria Barend. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The big winner of the event, and outstanding surfer of the contest, was double winner, Maria Barend. Barend, and ESA All-Star and 2016 East Coast Girls Champion, wowed the crowds with her smooth surfing and fluid cutbacks on her favorite kinds of waves. She feasts on left point breaks and showed up the field by winning both the Open Twin Fin division and the Ladies Open Longboard finals.

The closest competition for her was her mother, Ana (7-time Ladies East Coast ESA Champion), who charged the lefts in the Ladies Longboard final, but could not catch her daughter in last few minutes of the final. “I guess I taught Maria well,” chuckled Ana, when they announced the results.

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Matt Nota. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Maria wasn’t finished yet, as she nearly won her third title of the day, in the toughest division of all, the Open Shortboard. This was a tight final, with ESA South New England All-Star Josh Hedde and Barend trading perfect lefts on the outside point. Both goofy footers were tied on points until Hedde picked off a slightly overhead set wave and made the inside section that bowled up. Maria could not find a matching wave as time ran out, and Josh grabbed the title.
In the Men’s Longboard Final, it was another close call, as James Contreras edged out Matt Nota for the win on a great nose ride at “Mary’s Bar.”

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James Contreras. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The last heat went out at dusk and finished in the dark. “I guess we will have to start earlier next year,” said Ferla.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

The next ESA rated contest scheduled is the Annual Northeast Championships, at the Narragansett Town Beach on October 21st. Interested surfers can find out more information by going to the ESA South New England Facebook page.
Final Results of the 6th Annual “Battle of the Beach,” held in perfect waist to shoulder high waves at Matunuck Point on September 23rd, 2017.

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Ana Barend. Photo: Lisa Haase.

GROM SHORT FINAL-1.Braydon Bennett
2.Sophia Martino
3.Kai Sorlien
4.Page Hedde
5.Justin Parilla
6.Reuben Siegel
7.Chris Synott
8.Max Cute

GROM LONG FINAL-1.Noah Gartner
2.Page Hedde
3.Jake Carbone
4.Jim Robbin
5.Sophia Martino
6.Bodhi Parks
7.Pat O’Hara
8.Ian Lupoli

LADIES LONG FINAL-1.Maria Barend
2.Ana Barend
3.Lily Gartner
4.Kate Imswiler
5.Medelise Reifsteck
6.Chrissy Bee
7.Rachel McCarty
8.Jessie Vandenberg

MEN LONG FINAL-1.James Contreras
2.Matt Nota
3.Kevin Langevin
4.Joe Hedde Jr.
5.Jeff Matucci
6.Ryan Furay
7.Derek Lodico
8.Paul Bennett

OPEN SHORT FINAL-1.Josh Hedde
2.Maria Barend
3.Jack Jones
4.Ed Traniello
5.Joe Hedde Jr.
6.Jamie Kelley
7.Ana Barend
8.Dylan Latham

TWIN FIN FINAL-1.Maria Barend
2.Allen Santucci
3.Scott Hayward
4.Jamie Kelley
5.Ryan Furay
6.Josh Hedde
7.James Contreras
8.Leah McGlynn

Big swells were predicted and they arrived just in time for the 6th Annual “Catch A Curl” contest, held in the tricky Westerly Town Beach shore pound, not too far from Taylor Swift’s estate in Watch Hill. Contestants had no choice but to commit and go for it, hoping to find an elusive section that did not launch them into the shallow sand bars. While it was quite entertaining for the judges and spectators to watch, some of the wipe-outs proved to be quite spectacular.

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Tiago Freites. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The big winner of the day was Jack Morron, who consistently took off on the most hopeless close-outs, flying down the line before launching either into the beach, or off the back of the board. He was outstanding in both his preliminary and final heats, easily charging to the title in the kid’s BIG KAHUNA (18 and Under Age Group)“pro” event. Aiden Faubert, who finished 2nd in the final, did grab one nice right that hollowed out into the beach, but it wasn’t enough to catch Jack. Let it be noted that big respect was given to Ella Fontenot, who was the only girl who surfed up in the advanced group, and finished a very respectable 5th.

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Ella Fontenot. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Jake Caron’s last ride proved to be the ANKLE BITER (10 years and Under) winner, as he picked off an inside section that held up long enough to make a few turns. Wendy Flanagan took a couple of spectacular wipe-outs, but also nailed one heaving left barrel, to top Emily Brinton for the WAHINE GIRL (11-17 years/novice) crown. Sam Meyer battled Cal Gibson for the coveted MENEHUNE BOYS (11-17 years/novice) crown, finally edging him out on the final ride of the heat, with a hair raising right slide into the shorebreak.

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Dylan Holtbakk. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Special thanks to the New England Science and Sailing Institute of Stonington, Connecticut, for sponsoring the annual event, and giving out a great selection of prizes to the top finalists. Contest organizer, Lauren O’Donnell, acknowledged the contest sponsors at the awards ceremony, which included The Eastern Surfing Association, Narragansett Surf and Skate, Avie’s, Civil, Tidal River Clothing, Parree Coast, the Town of Westerly, and the Connecticut and Rhode Island Chapters of Surfrider Foundation. All ESA members who competed were awarded 250 points for their effort.

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Jack Morron. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Jack Morron. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The next big event takes place this coming Saturday at Mary’s Bar, at Matunuck Point, Rhode Island. It is the annual “Battle of the Beach,” which features thousands of dollars in prizes, including over one dozen brand new surfboards. The contest will offer several divisions of both long and shortboarding, along with a special “Twin Fin” competition. The affair will continue into the evening, with live Reggae music at the Ocean Mist Bar and Grille, located right on the contest site. Contest Director Conrad Ferla promises a great time for all entrants, and the ESA will be running the show with a veteran judging panel and tabulators. All ESA competitors will receive 250 points for participating.

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Sam Mayer. Photo Lisa Haase.

Final Results of the 6th Annual “Catch A Curl” ESA Grom Contest, held in early Hurricane Jose swells at the Westerly Town Beach, in Westerly, Rhode Island, on September 16, 2017.

ANKLE BITERS-1.Jake Caron 2.Nate Frisbee 3.Cooper Mott

MENEHUNE BOYS-1.Sam Mayer 2.Tiago Freites 3.Cal Gibson

WAHINE GIRLS-1.Wendy Flanagan 2.Emily Brinton 3.Louanna Kelley 4.Lena Voss

BIG KAHUNAS-1.Jack Morron 2.Aiden Faubert 3.Rob Darling 4.Jayden Parry 5.Ella Fontenot 6.Graham Ray 7.Dillon Moran 8.Wells Michael 9.Dylan Holtbakk

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

For the first time in over two decades, the ESA managed to run five consecutive surfing contests during the middle of the summer, with not only no postponements, but with actual ridable waves. The string of success began with the Annual New England Longboard Championships, which was held in clean waist high surf at Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts. The venue moved to Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island for the next four events, and each one featured solid waist to chest high waves. Veteran surfer, Peter Razza, ESA Newport surf prognosticator, made the call for every contest, predicting ridable surf. "Our beaches our situated better to catch those summer wind swells," said Peter. "It might be flat everywhere in New England, and we are surfing fun stuff at both Second Beach in Middletown and First Beach in Newport."

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Jayden Parry. Photo: Lisa Haase.

As has been the case all summer, the kids put on the best show, as they ripped up the Middletown beach break, despite dealing with some very heavy seaweed laden shorebreak. The main event offered the best surfing, when Narragansett's Jayden Parry battled Nantasket's Jamie Kelly for the title. Parry began the heat with two long right peaks that came his way on the far end of the contest area. Kelly, a goofy-foot, moved to the opposite end of the contest zone, waiting for the perfect left. By the time two left peaks come through, Jayden had nailed yet another perfect right slide, this one the biggest of all three. It was a close one, but Parry pulled off the win by a whisker at the buzzer.

Sophia Martino continues to dazzle the judges with her wave selection and stylistic moves. She put all the boys to shame in the Menehune Longboard Final heat, after dominating the preliminary rounds. Her winning waves were all backside, and the high pointer was a solid waist high peeler that she nose rode both switch foot and backside. She switched to a short board to win the Girls Under 14 Final and take a 4th in the Open Shortboard division.

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Kaeley O'Connell. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Newcomer, Tristan Aitkenhead pumped his way to a big win in the hotly contested Boys Under 14 Final, edging out Ryan O'Connell for the title. Dylan Moran continues to dominate the Menehune category, as he easily won both the shortboard and SUP Open Finals. Another new female ripper was Kaeley O'Connell, who pulled off some nice cutbacks and lip bashes to win both the Girls Under 16 Final and the Junior Women's Longboard Final.

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Tristan Aitkenhead. Photo: Lisa Haase.

South Shore's Jamie Kelly tuned up the East Coast Championships in September, taking both the short and long versions of the Men's events, while another champion headed for the Easterns was 2017 Northeast Regionals winner Pat Redmond. Pat dazzled the spectators with his usual championship form, as he won the Open Bodyboard category.

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Jamie Kelly. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Competition heats up in the next few weeks, beginning on September 16, with the Annual "Catch A Curl" ESA event for groms only! This popular contest, held at the Town of Westerly Town Beach, will offer a large array of merchandise prizes for the winners, sponsored by the New England Science and Sailing Institute. On September 23, The Annual Battle of the Beach will take place at Matunuck Point, which will feature both long and short board events for all ages. This event will also offer a huge selection of prizes, including over one dozen new surfboards.

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Ray Way. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Ray Way. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Final Results of ESA New England Summer Series Contest #4, held at Second Beach, in Middletown, Rhode Island on August 20, 2017 in 2-3 foot surf.

Menehunes-1.Dylan Moran 2.Ian Aitkenhead 3.Ryan O'Connell 4.Tiago Freitas 5.Gabe Donegan

Boys Under 14-Tristan Aitkenhead 2.Sean O'Connell 3.Jack Grzebien 4.Mason Soboleski 5.Henri Boneau 6.Ian Aitkenhead 7.Dylan Moran 8.Jackson Cocivern 9.Jaiden O'Connell

Boys Under 16-1.Jayden Parry

Girls Under 14-1.Sophia Martino 2.Sydney Aitkenhead

Girls Under 16-1.Kaeley O'Connell

Men-1.Jamie Kelly

Masters-1.Ray Way 2.Andre Freitas

Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan 2.Kitty Pechet

Menehune Longboard-1.Sophia Martino 2.Sean O'Connell 3.Gabe Donegan 4.Dylan Moran 5.Jaiden O'Connell 6.Ryan O'Connell 7.Henri Boneau

Junior Women Longboard-1.Kaeley O'Connell

Junior Men Longboard-1.Jayden Parry

Men Longboard-1.Jamie Kelly

Masters Longboard-1.Ray Way

Legends Longboard-1.Peter Pan

Open SUP-1.Dylan Moran 2.Peter Pan

Menehune Bodyboard-1.Jack Grzebien 2.Henri Boneau 3.Dylan Moran

Open Bodyboard-1.Pat Redmond 2.Peter Pan

Open Shortboard-1.Jayden Parry 2.Jamie Kelly 3.Tristan Aitkenhead 4.Sophia Martino 5.Jaiden O'Connell 6.Mason Soboleski 7.Sydney Aitkenhead 8.Dylan Moran 9.Kealey O'Connell 10.Ryan O'Connell 11.Sean O'Connell 12.Jack Grzebien

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Dylan Moran. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Jaiden O'Connell. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Tristan Aitkenhead. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Jack Grzebien. Photo: Lisa Haase.

 

Contact Details

Address

New England

Email Address

[email protected]

Phone Number

508-834-SURF (7873)

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