After four weeks of flat conditions and postponements, the longest running winter surfing contest in the world was held this past weekend. Although a brisk sea breeze put some serious chop on the wave faces, the surf was more than adequate at the Narragansett Town Beach for the event.
Peter Pan. Photo: Lisa Haase.
Although it is officially Spring, ESA contestants would argue that point, as chilling southwest winds kept the air temperatures in the mid-30’s for most of the day. “It was nice to finally get it over with,” said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade. “We have had great surf for four straight weeks, but unfortunately it was in the middle of the week. We finally got a bump on the weekend.”
As a special 50th Anniversary treat for the contestants, Hyperflex Wetsuits and Narragansett Surf and Skate sponsored the event, with 6mm winter Oven Mitts as the prizes. The turnout was good, as competitors worked on their skills for the up and coming 2018 Northeast Regional Surf-Offs in New Jersey.
Page Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.
The solid 2-3 foot swell held for the entire event, but navigating through long close-out sections made it difficult for those unfamiliar with the uneven sand bars. Locals had little problem finding those elusive sections. The toughest competition came in the Girls Under 16 division, especially in the Short board final, where Matunuck’s Page Hedde topped Ella Fontenot with two solid rights that peeled off in long makeable sections. Phoebe Hedde won the Girls Under 14 Short board final with a great left hander into the shore break.
Ella Fontenot. Photo: Lisa Haase.
New England’s #1 female long boarder, Sophia Martino rode both lefts and rights with style, cruising to the win in the Girls Longboard Final. She managed to float over several sections on one long right, to top Page Hedde for the title.
New England’s top men’s competitor, Jamie Kelley of Boston, continued to dominate in all categories, as he found the best waves in every final, and worked in all the moves to get the high scores. Kelley took three events, winning the Open Short board, Men’s Short board, and Men’s Long board divisions.
Narragansett’s Jayden Parry was a double winner, picking off ridable sections in the shore break to win both the Junior Short board and Junior Long board events. Dillon Moran was equally adept, styling through both lefts and rights to win the Menehune Longboard and Boys Under 14 Short board crowns.
Jayden Parry. Photo: Lisa Haase.
The Outstanding Performance Award went to New York’s Colin Walker, who left his Manhattan apartment before dawn, to make the drive, in time to win the Masters and Masters Longboard divisions. Other double winners included Ron Belanger, in the Legends and Legends Longboard categories, and Peter Pan, in the Grand Legends and Grand Legends Longboard divisions.
Jack Egan. Photo: Lisa Haase.
Jack Egan won his first Stand-up Paddleboard Open title for the season, while Kitty Pechet took the Senior Women’s Longboard crown.
The second ESA rated event of the season is scheduled for April 28th at First Beach in Newport. For more information, surfers can go to the ESA South New England Facebook page.
Ray Way. Photo: Lisa Haase.
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 50TH ANNUAL NEW ENGLAND MID-WINTER SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS held in 2-3 foot surf at the Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island on March 31, 2018.
GIRLS UNDER 14 SHORT BOARD-1.Phoebe Hedde
BOYS UNDER 14 SHORT BOARD—1.Dillon Moran
GIRLS UNDER 16 SHORT BOARD-1.Page Hedde 2.Ella Fortenot 3.Sophia Martino 4.Kaeley O’Connell
BOYS UNDER 16 SHORT BOARD-1.Noah Gartner
JUNIOR MEN-1.Jayden Parry MEN-1.Jamie Kelley
MASTERS-1.Colin Walker 2.Aurelien Bouche-Pillon
SENIOR MEN-1.Ray Way
LEGENDS-1.Ron Belanger 2.Jack Egan
GRAND LEGENDS-1.Peter Pan 2.Kitty Pechet
GIRLS LONGBOARD-1.Sophia Martino 2.Page Hedde 3.Ella Fontenot 4.Phoebe Hedde
MENEHUNE LONGBOARD-1.Dillon Moran JUNIOR LONGBOARD-1.Jayden Parry
MEN LONGBOARD-1.Jamie Kelley
MASTERS LONGBOARD-1.Colin Walker 2.Aurelien Bouche-Pillon
LEGENDS LONGBOARD-1.Ron Belanger 2.Jack Egan
GRAND LEGENDS LONGBOARD-1.Peter Pan 2.Kitty Pechet
SUP OPEN-1.Jack Egan 2.Peter Pan
OPEN BODYBOARD-1.Peter Pan
OPEN SHORT BOARD-1.Jamie Kelley 2.Sophia Martino 3.Ella Fontenot 4.Jayden Parry 5.Colin Walker 6.Kaeley O’Connell