It was only right that the best waves of the entire contest season came during the last contest of the year, this past Sunday at the Narragansett Town Beach. With ESA officials planning on the surf going from completely flat to epic overhead in a matter of hours, the 2017 Holiday Surfabout was slipped into the water from noon to dark. “If you grabbed a good one, it was an awesome ride,”said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade. “But on many of the big sets, the winds, which were howling up to 45 and 50 knots, hung up a lot of competitors.” This of course, produced some wild and exciting wide-outs, at least from the spectator stand point.

Luke Johnson. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The quality surf produced some top-grade surfing, and none better to shine in the conditions was two-time East Coast Men’s Championship finalist, Jamie Kelly. The judges could not decide which ride gave him the “Hottest Wave of the Contest” award, because both outstanding overhead barrels that he picked off in both the Open Short Board and Men’s Longboard Finals were scored perfect 10’s by the panel. The long board ride was definitely a longer distance, with more time in the tunnel, as he took off just in front of the contest area, and ended it past the south beach pavilion. Former Senior Men’s Northeast Champion, Ron Belanger returned from Florida for good, moving back to Westerly, Rhode Island, and easily winning his short board division, and coming in a close 2nd to Kelly in the Open Short Board Final with some dynamic left tubes.

Jamie Kelly. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Dylan Holtbakk had one of his best performances in the past two years, as he topped a tough heat of Junior Men, tucking into two fine inside left peaks that reeled off into the shore break. Dylan Moran continued to charge the big surf, winning the Junior Longboard Final with a nice tip ride.

Dylan Holtbakk. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Another double winner was Sophia Martino, as she hunted down the inside waves that held up for her in both the Girls Under 14 Final and the Menehune Longboard Final.
Nantucket’s top surfer, Luke Johnson, showed how good he was to the mainlanders,
taking the ferry over in the morning to crush the Men’s Final, with a wicked right overhead peak that shot him out and put him into the winner’s circle. He also finished 2nd in the Men’s Longboard and 3rd in the Open Short Board finals for a great day in the water.
Andrew Marsden was another comeback rider, who returned to competition after a two-year hiatus, and found two long right barrels to win the Master’s Longboard crown. Dylan Moran continued to dominate the Menehune ranks, as he won his 3rd straight title.

Sophia Martino. Photo: Lisa Haase.

ESA Co-Director Bill Parry noted at the end of the event that several very close divisional titles would be decided by only a few points, once he added up the day’s scores. “This is the closest contests we have seen in several years, because the caliber of the ESA competition has greatly improved. There are a lot of very good surfers coming to the ESA contests, and they all want to win their divisions. It is a huge advantage once they get to the regional championships and the seeding begins.”

Page Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Although the 2017 ESA contest season has concluded, it won’t be long until the 2018 season kicks in. The 50th Annual New England Mid-Winter Championships is scheduled for February 17th at the Narragansett Town Beach. This event is the oldest continuous running winter surfing contest in the world, and special prizes are planned for this year’ participants. For more information, surfers can go to the ESA SNE website or Facebook page.

FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2018 ESA HOLIDAY SURFABOUT, held at the Narragansett Town Beach on November 19th, 2017, in solid 4-7 foot surf.

MENEHUNES-1.Dylan Moran

BOYS UNDER 16-1.Dylan Holtbakk
2.Jayden Parry
3.Ian Lucht
4.Graham Ray

GIRLS UNDER 14-1.Sophia Martino
2.Page Hedde

MEN-1.Luke Johnson
2.Jamie Kelly

SENIOR MEN-1.Ron Belanger
2.Kai Holtbakk

Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan

2.Page Hedde
3.Dylan Moran

2.Jayden Parry
3.Graham Ray

2.Luke Johnson

2.Kai Holtbakk
3.Ron Belanger


2.Ron Belanger
3.Luke Johnson
4.Jayden Parry
5.Page Hedde
6.Graham Ray
7.Dylan Moran
8.Sophia Martino
9.Kai Holtbakk
10.Ian Lucht
11.Dylan Holtbakk

Page Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Page Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Luke Johnson. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Kai Holtbakk. Photo: Lisa Haase.


How often do you get to enjoy perfect August summer beach weather at the end of October in New England? With that thought in mind, the Eastern Surfing Association Competition Committee did not think twice about running the Annual Northeast Titles, this past Saturday at the Narragansett Town Beach. “It was just big enough to surf, and you could lay on the beach in your bathing suit and get a tan between heats,” said Competition Director Mario Frade. “Next weekend, we could have freezing rain and snow flurries.” (Fact remains that we did have a Halloween blizzard not too many years ago in Rhode Island).

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Page Hedde. Photo Lisa Haase.

Competitors found a solid 1-3 foot swell that lasted most of the day, and made for some interesting individual contests. Jayden Parry enjoys surfing the town beach. He is out there regardless of conditions. While others were seeking perfect point break waves during the recent string of hurricane swells, Parry was out battling the close-outs at the beach. This familiarity with the break prove to be a great advantage, as he won three titles, including the always tough Open Shortboard division.

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Jayden Parry. Photo Lisa Haase.

This event featured the best surfing of the day, with New England’s top Men’s competitor and East Coast Championship two-time finalist Jamie Kelley matching Parry wave for wave. It came down to one ride that put Jayden in the winner’s circle, as he pushed his board backside into a small inside section that went the distance into the beach. It was the only wave of the heat that held up from the outside sand bar, and Parry got it. Kelley finished a close second, followed by Page Hedde, who was picking off the rights on the other side of the contest area.

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Jamie Kelley. Photo Lisa Haase.

The other division that deserved mention was the Menehune Longboard Final, that found top ranked divisional leader, Sophia Martino, taking two long left slides backside and across the inside sandbars to top Page Hedde and the win. Page’s sister, Phoebe has been coming on strong at recent events, and put on a strong performance to take 3rd place.

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Page Hedde. Photo Lisa Haase.

Dylan Moran dominated the Menehune Shortboard final, taking a commanding lead in the first two minutes on a fast-breaking right peak, and never looking back. In the end, Moran was the unanimous choice for the title, by the entire judging panel.
Double winners included Ella Fontenot in the Junior Women’s Longboard and Girls Under 16 Shortboard, and Jamie Kelley in the Men’s and Men’s Longboard. Dylan Moran took the Menehune and SUP crowns. Jayden Parry took two other titles, the Junior Men’s Shortboard and Junior Men’s Longboard, adding to the Open crown.

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Dylan Moran. Photo Lisa Haase.

The last ESA contest of the 2017 season is scheduled for November 18th at the Narragansett Town Beach. Both competitors and officials are hoping for the same weather conditions. Interested surfers can check out contest information on the ESA South New England Facebook page.

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Ella Fortenot. Photo Lisa Haase.

Final Results of the Annual Northeast Championships held at the Narragansett Town Beach in 1-3 surf on October 21, 2017.

2.Phoebe Hedde
3.Gabe Donegan
4.Luke Miele

2.Sophia Martino



2.Graham Ray



2.Page Hedde
3.Phoebe Hedde
4.Dylan Moran
5.Gabe Donegan
6.Cal Gibson

2.Graham Ray


MEN LONGBOARD-1.Jamie Kelley

OPEN SUP-1.Dylan Moran
2.Peter Pan


2.Jamie Kelley
3.Page Hedde
4.Dylan Moran
5.Sophia Martino
6.Phoebe Hedde

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Luke Miele. Photo Lisa Haase.

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Phoebe Hedde. Photo Lisa Haase.

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Gabe Donegan. Photo Lisa Haase.



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

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

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


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.



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.


Contact Details


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[email protected]

Phone Number

508-834-SURF (7873)

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