The reason I like being a New Englander is because of the friendly, mellow vibe and how everybody is nice. I like how there aren’t a lot of big cities. In my home town of Kennebunkport, I have gotten to know most of the kids around my age. I like how it it is not always warm and not always cold in New England and I appreciate how beautiful it is. I love to surf when it snows in the winter. I also think its cool that I can go snowboarding one day and surfing the next. I love hanging with my friends all summer long at the beach I also love the seafood, especially the tuna
There are some New England surfers that just plain live for big, gnarly cold water surfing...and that's Eric. He is one of those "hardcore" surfers that would rather surf with pine trees than coconuts.
During the summer months you might see Eric longboarding his local breaks on Cape Cod. But when the surf gets big and monstrous, you will find him searching all over New England to charge some slab or big wave. He's that crusty guy who comes out of hibernation when the waves get big.
I usually start seeing more of Eric around September, when he comes into my shop to gear up with round pin step up boards for double-overhead barrels and to stock up on multiple 5mm suits for mid winter surf sessions.
I once asked him if he had plans to go away for the winter. His reply: "Why would I leave New England in the middle of our surf season? We wait all year for our back yard to fire! All these guys spend thousands of dollars to go to Indo and other warm places and surf with a thousand dudes. I stay home, get a day of work in, and make some money. Then I get barreled off my ass in bigger, gnarlier waves with no one around, and then go home to my warm wood stove."
Eric is the guy I call when I want to find a friend to go charge 20 degree double-overhead barrels. If it's closing out, he will still go out just to see what his body can handle.
I would say he is kinda nuts, but if you've ever seen him surf these conditions, well...you can tell he feels right at home.
By Peter Pan
When ESA officials came up with the idea of doing a Thanksgiving Day Standup Paddleboard Race in the Atlantic Ocean over one month ago, the air temperatures were in the low 60's and the surf was calm at the Narragansett Town Beach. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the race, from both local and out-of-state paddle boarders. Unfortunately, the unpredictable New England weather did not exactly cooperate, as raging seas with surf up to 20 feet forced postponement on Thanksgiving Day. Icy 11- degree air temperatures and stinging northeast winds greeted the small group of hardcore winter SUP racers on Saturday, the makeup day for the race.
"You have to outfit yourself with the right gear if you want to paddle board in the winter," said ESA Competition Director, Mario Frade. "It was so cold on the morning of the race, that anyone who had brought a drysuit with them, put it on. Everyone wore winter gloves and boots, because that strong side chop made it even colder."
Although the surf was small and easy to paddle through at the start of the race, the northeast winds kicked up a 2-foot channel chop that slowed paddlers down as they headed south to Monahan's Dock and around a buoy. The 2K race went from the south end of the town beach to a buoy off Monahan's Dock and back, while the second race did the loop twice.
In a strange turn of events, it was SUP speedster Mike Nunnery of Saunderstown beating the entire field, prone paddling on his stomach. Mike beat out the first SUP racer, to come across the finish line by nine seconds. "I have been prone paddling more during the past two months, because I felt that I was losing my speed and endurance when I surfed on a traditional surfboard," said Mike after the race. "Prone paddling up wind on the way back from the dock was definitely an advantage. Dealing with the northeast winds on a standup paddleboard was much harder than laying down and cutting off all the wind resistance."
From left to right: Nunnery, Grainger, and Preece
In the first race, the 2K course that went only one lap to the dock and back, it was Nantucket's Karen Alence wining the 2K Open Women's Division with a time of 25:05. Narragansett's Peter Pan took the Open Men's Title in a time of 24:05.
The Open Prone Division winner and overall champion was Mike Nunnery, with the fastest time of the day in the distance race of 40:32. Kim Gross of Narragansett won the 5K Women's Open Division in 59:55, while Jack Egan of Stamford, Connecticut won the Open Masters 5K in 40:41.
David Grainger of New London, Connecticut won the Senior Men's title in a time of 45:17. Mark Preece of Warwick, R.I. took second in 47:22.
As I'm walking on the beach on a flat and lazy Sunday, thinking that there hasn't been waves for a least a week, my phone rings:
"Hi Shawn, it's Lori from Surf's Up in New Hampshire…would love for you to come up and check out and surf my new wave."
"Ummmmm, who? Wave? Wait…..wave pool????" I ask, my brain buzzing with interest.
"Yes, we will be tiling the park all next week, but if you have time today please come on up and bring some friends." she says.
In less than an hour, Vec team ripper Eric Anderson, Andy Jacob, and filmer and best bro Justin Lynch are in the car with me and we're already over the Sagamore bridge. We couldn't get there fast enough! We had no clue what tyoe of wave we were going to see.
Like kids in a candy store, we were beyond amped when we walked in and saw New Hampshire ripper Jared Velstos and Boston shaper Jon Chino ripping up this stationary 3 foot wave. They had been surfing it for a few days and had figured it out, making it look like so much fun!
We all quickly put our wetsuits on (more for padding when wiping out) and listened to the tutorial, patiently waiting our chance to get pitted in New Hampshire chlorine tube.
My turn was up and within seconds of standing on the free flowing wave, I went down…hard. We all had the most humbling experience for the next hour. I would say that Eric, Andy and I are pretty damn good surfers, but you would never be able to tell: we all felt like beginners.
After an hour or so of watching Jon and Jared rip it up, it was time to add another 3 feet to the wave and make it barrel. I looked at Eric in awe and said "we have to figure this out; I'm not going home without figuring this wave out!!" The first wave I had with the 3 foot extension is when it all clicked. I think that wave gave me more tube time then I have had the last few months combined! Before we knew it, everyone was getting barrels. We had so much fun cheering each other on when we go tubed and laughing hysterically at some of the horrific wipeouts that day.
This wave will never take the place of the salty New England water that permeates my blood, but it sure is a cure all for a month of flatness. As a man who is all about natural things and tries to live as organically as possible, I'm so excited to have this wave within a few hours away to cure the insanity of a long flat spell. Thank you Surfs Up NH! Your going to make a lot of surfers here in New England happy with your chlorine tubes!
By Peter Pan
It is the middle of November and the sun is out, no winds, and air temperatures in the high 50’s. This was little doubt that as long as there was a bump out there, the ESA Holiday Surfabout was going to run. “We could have pushed it to next weekend,” said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade, “but we could have snow, ice, and blistering onshore winds as well. No one would have showed up, and those who did, would have had to put on full winter gear to compete.”
Although it was only 1-2 feet with some odd 3 footers popping up here and then, many competitors were still moving freely in 3/2 suits without boots, gloves, and helmets. Last week, the same surfers were riding in full winter gear, when air temperatures dipped into the 30’s and the winds made it feel like the low 20’s. There were joggers in tee shirts and shorts, and some crazy swimmers with just bathing suits taking dips in the ocean. Meanwhile, the surfers found ways to rip up the waves at the last rated ESA surf competition of the season.
For the first time ever, the Open Stand-Up Paddleboard Division was the most competitive event of the entire contest. The final offered spectators and judges the most spectacular action and the toughest competition of the day. It came down to a battle of who could find the best shoulders to work over, and local knowledge helped. Jeff Smith and Peter Pan moved to the far end of the competition area and picked off some long workable lefts, taking the top two spots with ease. The rest of the best included 3rd place Leo Campos, who grabbed some nice rights in front of the judges and Nick Curci, who hot-dogged it into 4th place. Head judge Pat Redmond commented after the final heat. “That was the most exciting heat of the entire event, and it was just too close to call. Everyone was ripping it up.”
The small, fast sectioning waves proved to be ideal for the Master Longboarders as well. Again, it was a close heat, with some long nose rides. Andy Marsden edged out Jeff Smith on a tie breaker 3rd wave to take the title, with Leo Campos finishing in the 3rd spot on the strength of one good left slider.
Braydon Bennett led the youth brigade with some solid rights for the Menehune crown, while Joe Doherty took the Boys title. Doherty came back in the Menehune Longboard to pick off the wave of the heat and his second win of the day.
Sara Procaccini continues to dominate the female ranks, as she won both the Ladies and Ladies Longboard titles, and took a 6th in the Open SUP Final. Janice Causey came back from knee surgery to win the Grand Legends division.
In the rest of the male divisions, it was David Giuseppone styling his way to wins in both the Men’s and Men’s Longboard finals, while Andy Marsden took the Senior Men’s crown. Claudio Paolino won the Grandmaster’s division, and Peter Pan continued undefeated in both the Legends and Legends Longboard categories.
In the final heats of the day, Pat Redmond “el rollo-ed” his way to the Open Bodyboard crown while Brandon Bennett captured the Menehune Bodyboard title.
This was the final ESA rated surfing event of the 2013 season. The next ESA contest is the 2014 New England Mid-Winter Championships, scheduled for February 15th at the Narragansett Town Beach. The next New England ESA event is the up and coming Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 2/K -5/K Stand Up Paddle Board Race. This is scheduled for the Narragansett Town Beach with signups from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM and the race set to start at 10 AM. Entry fee is $35.00 and open to everyone.
Final Results of the 2013 ESA Holiday Surfabout-held in 1-3 foot surf at the Narragansett Town Beach on November 16, 2013.
Senior Men-Andy Marsden
Grand Legends-1.Janice Causey
Ladies-1.Sara Procaccini 2.Sara Prince
Menehune Longboard-1.Joe Doherty 2.Braydon Bennett
Men Longboard-1.David Giuseppone
Senior Longboard-1.Andy Marsden 2.Jeff Smith 3.Leo Campos 4.Joe Doherty
Sr. Legends Longboard-1.Peter Pan 2.Mark Preece
Menehune Bodyboard-1.Brandon Bennett
Open Bodyboard-1.Pat Redmond 2.Peter Pan
Open SUP-1.Jeff Smith 2.Peter Pan 3.Leo Campos 4.Nick Curci 5.Mark Preece 6.Sara Procaccini