46th Annual New England Midwinter Surfing Championships
by Peter Pan
A nasty New England winter snowstorm dumped over two feet of snow on the scheduled day of the 46th Annual New England Midwinter Surfing Championships. This turned out to be a good thing, because on the following weekend, after the postponement, a coastal storm provided some of the best surf of the entire winter for the contest. Despite the icy cold 35-degree water and cold air temperatures, the waves stayed a consistent 3-6 feet with moderate offshore winds for the duration of the event. This set up the stage for some great competitive surfing, with fast, well formed left and right peaks pumping through the contest zone.
For the first time ever, there was open competition in the kayak category, which turned out to be a big hit with both the surfers and spectators. Ron Johnson, local professional kayaker, coordinated the kayak event, and assisted with educating the judges on the kayak moves in the surf. "It turned out to be a real close one," said Ron. "Bert Dubois was surfing the waves, but James managed to pull off some great tricks on the faces, especially the Blunts and Flat Spins, which put him in first place."
Surfing competitors got a chance to mingle with the kayak surfers, and realized that they were not that much different than themselves. "The idea of having us compete in the contest, will hopefully give surfers a better attitude toward the kayakers, when they are out in the line-up with them," said Ron.
Another new division growing in popularity was the Men's and Women's Stand-up Paddleboard event, which drew some great competitors. In the Men's Final, John Pariseault had the lead going into the last minute. Jim Blakeney picked off the best right slide of the entire heat just before the horn sounded, edging him out on the last ride. In the Women's final, it was veteran Stacey McLoughlin grabbing a long right to top Sarah Prince for the win.
Corran Moore had the left peak wired, as the goofy-footer had an outstanding day, picking off the biggest set waves and ripping them to both the Men's and Open titles. Local veteran John Pariseault was also tearing up the place, and showed his versatility with top showings in every category. Working both the inside and outside right walls, John won the Senior Men and Senior Longboard Finals. He then proceeded to take a 2nd place behind Moore in the Open Shortboard and 2nd place in the Open Stand-up Paddleboard Final.
Katie Zullo found some nice hollow barrels to win both front and backside in the Women's Shortboard and Women's Longboard divisions. Sara Procaccini picked off a perfect right peak to beat out Sarah Prince in the Ladies Shortboard Final.
In the youth events, Joe Doherty had a big day, winning both the Boys and Menehune Longboard Finals, as well as finishing 6th in the Open Final. Braydon Bennett was ripping up the insiders, taking the Menehune and Menehune Bodyboard titles with ease.
In the older categories, it was Peter Pan winning the Legends and Legends Longboard divisions, picking off the biggest right walls in the middle of the beach. Kitty Pechet rode the inside sections to win the Grand Legends title. In the Open Bodyboard division, it was another successful day for Pat Redmond and his 360's.
BOYS-1.Joe Doherty 2.Dylan Holtbakk 3.Sean McDonald 4.Rigby Bennett
MEN-1.Corran Moore 2.Sam Levine
SENIOR MEN-1.John Pariseault 2.Jose Galvez 3.Andy Marsden 4.Jim Blakeney 5.Kai Holtbakk 6.Paul Bennett
GRANDMASTERS-1.Claudio Paolino LEGENDS-1.Peter Pan 2.Mark Preece
GRAND LEGENDS-1.Kitty Pechet WOMEN-1.Katie Zullo
LADIES-1.Sara Procaccini 2.Sarah Prince
MENEHUNE LONGBOARD-1.Joe Doherty 2.Dylan Holtbakk 3.Braydon Bennett
SENIOR LONGBOARD-1.John Pariseault 2.Andy Marsden 3.Kai Holtbakk 4.Jose Galvez 5.Paul Bennett
LEGENDS LONGBOARD-1.Peter Pan 2.Mark Preece 3.Claudio Paolino
WOMEN LONGBOARD-1.Katie Zullo
LADIES LONGBOARD-1.Sara Procaccini 2.Kitty Pechet 3.Sara Prince
MENEHUNE BODYBOARD-1.Brayton Bennett 2.Dylan Holtbakk
OPEN BODYBOARD-1.Pat Redmond 2.Dave McLaughlin 3.Peter Pan
OPEN SUP-1.Jim Blakeney 2.John Pariseault 3.Mark Preece 4.Kevin Turco 5.Peter Pan
WOMEN SUP-1.Stacey McLoughlin 2.Sarah Prince
OPEN KAYAK-1.James Legare 2.Bert DuBois 3.Tom Chase 4.Dave Rawson
OPEN SHORTBOARD-1.Corran Moore 2.John Pariseault 3.Jose Galvez 4.Sam Levine 5.Katie Zullo 6.Joe Doherty 7.Andy Marsden 8.Kai Holtbakk 9.Dylan Holtbakk 10.Sean McDonald
By Peter Pan.
The ESA's first contest of the 2014 season is ON call for February 14th, after 6 PM. Email updates will be sent and the ESA hotline 401-789-1954 will be updated as well.
There will be rated competition in all age group and specialty categories, and a special open kayak surfing event. Head judge for this event will be world-class surf kayak rider Ron Johnson of Narragansett. There will also be an open stand-up paddleboard division.
Entry fee is $25.00 and includes all events. Trophies will be awarded to all finalists.
Sign-ups are from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Narragansett Town Beach. You must be a member of the Eastern Surfing Association to compete, but you can join on the beach.
Early indications are for a coastal snow/sleet storm to come through and give us surf in the 2-3 foot range for Saturday.
Winter 2014 Photos by Ryan Chartrand
When you grow up and live on the Cape year round you get to see what most others don’t see: Cape Cod during the winter. Winter isn’t ideal for every one, but for me, well, I get to absorb all the beauty these cold days have to offer. Whether it’s taking a taking stroll on the empty beaches where surfers in 6mm suits are charging head high barrels or hiking through conservation lands, there’s always a picture to capture. -RC