It was certainly appropriate that monster surf would appear for the ESA Annual Northeast Titles, just before Halloween, this past Sunday. After a week postponement, surfers were greeted by massive and challenging swells from the passing remnants of the hurricane system that went by on Saturday. “This is without a doubt, the biggest surf we have ever had for a contest at the Narragansett Town Beach,” said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade. “Surf contests have been going on here since the early 1960’s, and I am fairly certain that there has never been swells like this to content with.”  Despite the adverse conditions, the seasoned competitors decided to paddle out.

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Ella Fontenot paddling out. Photo: Lisa Haase.

ESA officials employed a rarely used format to make things easier for the contestants. Due to the long and hard paddle out, the contest was set up as a 45-minute extended heat, with the best two waves scored. Because of the powerful undertow and relentless walls off white water, most of the competitors chose to run along the sea wall, and paddle out off the rocks near the Coast Guard House Restaurant. The current pulled the surfers right into the line-up, once they got out past the breaking waves.

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Jamie Kelleyt. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The best formed waves broke on the inside. Unfortunately, if you waited for one of the good waves, you left yourself open to the huge outside close-out sets that shut down. Competitors had to scramble in and out of the line-up, moving up and down the beach, to get one of the good ones. The heat began with Ella Fontenot swinging around half-way outside, and nailing an overhead right that reeled off into the shorebreak. This ride had her in solid first place until New England’s #1 men’s competitor, Jamie Kelley dropped into a left bomb that put him into an overhead barrel. Although it shut down on the inside, this pushed him into the lead.

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Dylan Holtbakk. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Meanwhile, off to the right of the main peak, Sophia Martino picked off one backside right and one frontside left closer to the inside, moving her into the first place spot. Kelley found another huge left bomb to seal the win, as the heat finished. “There were certainly some scary moments out there,” said one competitor after the heat. It could not have happened at a better time of the year.

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Jamie Kelleyt. Photo: Lisa Haase.

For their efforts, all competitors received 5mm Hyperflex wetsuit gloves, instead of trophies. The next ESA contest, the Holiday Surfabout, will be the final event of the year, scheduled for November 17th, at the Narragansett Town Beach.

Final Results of the Northeast Titles, held at the Narragansett Town Beach, on October 28th, 2018 in very big surf.

Menehune Girls-1.Summer Lukens  
Menehune Boys-1.Dillon Moran  
Girls Under 16-1.Sophia Martino  2.Page Hedde  
Boys Under 16-1.Ian Lucht  2.Charlie Krause  3.Dylan Holtbakk  
Junior Women-1.Ella Fontenot  
Junior Men-1.Jayden Parry  
Men-1.Jamie Kelley  
Masters-1.Colin Walker  
Senior Men-1.John Martino  
Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan

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Jamie Kelleyt. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Summer Series Champions Crowned

After almost one month of delays and cancellations, the ESA finally ran the last of the 4-contest summer series in clean 2-4 foot surf at the Narragansett Town Beach. The fast-breaking waves made for some challenging conditions that required competitors to react quickly, or get shut down.  Joe Hedde feasted on the body slammers, as he managed to find sections to make and explosions to pull off. Hedde pulled off the highest point totals of the entire event, getting high 8’s in the semi-finals, and one judge giving him a perfect 10 in the final. “There is no doubt that Joe had the place wired today,” said Competition Director Mario Frade. “I don’t think anyone could have beaten him in those waves.”

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Paige Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Sophia Martino continues to charge in the ESA contest circuit, as she won both the long and short board categories in her age group. “What separated her from the pack was her ability to stay on the board in the shore pound,” said Frade. “Competitors don’t realize that falling off at the end of the ride detracts quite a bit from final scores.”

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Charlie Krause. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Jayden Parry had another outstanding contest, winning the Junior Men’s Shortboard Final with a nice lip smack and a quick nose ride in the Junior Men’s Longboard heat. The red-hot Dillon Moran was on fire, ripping up the Boys Under 14 finals in both the long and short versions. Moran was coming off a big win at the Battle of the Beach, last weekend at Matunuck Point. Newcomer Jackson Wagner put on a strong performance in the Men’s categories, charging and making some seemingly unridable right and left slammers. Summer Lukens looks like the surfer to beat, as she won the Girls Under 14 Years Final for the 3rd straight contest.

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Jack Egan. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Special mentions should be made of SUP champion Jack Egan, who had just raced in a big event the day before, and came in and tore up the SUP Open Final. 80-year old Kitty Pechet continued to top the Ladies Longboard ranks, winning her 3rd event of the year.

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Jayden Parry. Photo: Lisa Haase.

At the end of the contest, trophies were awarded to the top winners in each division of the entire 4-contest series that began in July. Also given out were special gift certificates for specialty categories. The overall Ironman award for best performance of the summer went to Jayden Parry, and the female award went to Sophia Martino. The grand prize gift certificate for Outstanding Sportsmanship was given to John Martino for his unselfish work during the year.

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Jackson Wagner. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The next ESA event will be the Annual Northeast Championships, planned for October 20th at the Narragansett Town Beach. For more information, surfers can go to the ESA Facebook page.

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Jayden Parry. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Results of ESA Summer Series Round #4-held at the Narragansett Town Beach on September 22, 2018 in 2-4 foot surf.  

Girls Under 14 Years-1.Summer Lukens 
Boys Under 14 Years-1.Dillon Moran  2.Sean Dwyer  
Girls Under 16 Years-1.Sophia Martino  2.Paige Hedde  
Boys Under 16 Years-1.Charlie Krause  2.Holden Soboleski  3.Mason Soboleski  4.Cody Marler  
Junior Men-1.Jayden Parry  2.Ian Lucht  3.Dylan Holtbakk  
Men-1.Jackson Wagner  
Masters-1.Chris Herbert  
Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan  
Menehune Longboard-1.Dillon Moran  2.Summer Lukens  
Junior Women Longboard-1.Sophia Martino  2.Paige Hedde  3.Elle Sherman  
Junior Men Longboard-1.Jayden Parry  2.Charlie Krause  3.Dylan Holtbakk  4.Mason Soboleski  5.Holden Soboleski  
Men Longboard-1.Jackson Wagner  
Master Longboard-1.Chris Herbert  
Senior Women Longboard-1.Kitty Pechet  
Legends Longboard-1.Peter Pan  
SUP Open-1.Jack Egan  2.Peter Pan 
Open Shortboard-1.Joe Hedde  2.Paige Hedde  3.Dillon Moran  4.Jayden Parry  5.Sophia Martino  6.Jackson Wagner  7.Holden Soboleski  8.Mason Soboleski  9.Dylan Holtbakk  10.Charlie Krause  11.Cody Marler  12.Ian Lucht  13.Sean Dwyer  14.Chris Herbert  15.Summer Lukens

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Joe Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

Conrad Scores Again!
Battle of the Beach 2018

The probability of having great surf on a random, designated day in advance for seven straight years is probably 1000 to 1. Yet, with those odds, Contest Director Conrad Ferla managed to get another classic day of perfect shoulder high surf for the Annual Battle of the Beach. This year’s contest, held at Mary’s Bar, at Matunuck Point in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, featured the waves that make it one of the premier surf breaks in the world. If you picked up the right peaking swell, the ride was long and sweet, and you won the heat. Those who chose to fight for the bigger peaks closer to the point, ended up with a disappointing and disappearing shoulder to work with. With 8-person heats and long paddles out, this left competitors with no room for mistakes.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

With thousands of dollars in surfboards and merchandise at stake for the finalists, the contest was a high energy affair, with outstanding surfing performance in every category. As is usually the case in any East Coast contest, it was a field day for Eastern Surfing Association competitors, and the New England team took care of business. All six divisional winners were ESA, as well as most of the top three finalists in each division.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

ESA All-Star Kai Nichols of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire shredded the Open Shortboard final, as well as every other elimination heat, edging out two-time East Coast Championships finalist, Jamie Kelley of Nantasket, Massachusetts. They traded big left peaks for 20 minutes, with Nichols finding a perfect inside section on the last wave, to take the title.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

Narragansett’s Matt Nota’s two extended tip rides across the inside bowl, sewed up the Men’s Open Longboard crown. James Contreras edged out Jamie Kelley for second place with a solid, long distance left that he rode from outside at the point, into the shorebreak.

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Kim Romagnesi. Photo: Lisa Haase

New York’s top female, Kim Romagnesi, made it two titles in a row, as she sat and waited for the set waves to appear. She found one immediately, forcing the rest of the pack to scramble for a good wave. Both Lily Gartner and Mary Rand then took off on a couple of marginal inside peaks, while Kim waited for a second big one. That came as both Gartner and Rand were paddling out, and the contest was over at that point.

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Mary Rand. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Sophia Martino of Westerly, Rhode Island, continues to dominate the Open Grom Longboard ranks, as she styled her way to yet another win, this time over team mate, Paige Hedde of South Kingstown. Martino combined cutbacks and classic trimming, to top the category, and beat all the boys on the way.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

In the Open Grom Shortboard final, it was Wakefield’s Dylan Moran connecting through insdie and outside peaks, as he put together a dominating performance of high powered cutbacks and lip bashes to top Sam Reilly for the crown. Paige Hedde transitioned from a 2nd place in the longboard, to a 3rd place in the shortboard final.

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Photo: Lisa Haase.

The final division of the day was the winner take all-cash prize, Single Fin Challenge. This was the crowd favorite, with competitors using their skills to navigate the circa 1970’s antiques in the high tide shorebreak. Again, it was Kai Nichols ripping up the left peaks, to top Mick Bialek of Narragansett for the win.

After 10 hours of non-stop competition, the prizes were distributed at the Ocean Mist Bar and Grill, right on the beach. Winner and top finishers received brand new surfboards from Rozbern, Bic Sport, Tora, Soundings, Chemistry, Vec, Superbrand, Wave Bandit, Crowd Control, Sunova, and Soundings. Kai Nichols got the big prize for his outstanding overall performance, with a sound system from The House of Marley.

Prizes were distributed from local surf shops who supported the event. These included Narragansett Surf and Skate, Matunuck Beach, Island Sports, Drift, Breakwater, Diamond Blue, Civil, Elemental, Levitate, Nor Easter, Ocean House, Water Brothers, and Hive.

Contact Details

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[email protected]

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508-834-SURF (7873)

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