ESA surfers got a surprise pre-Thanksgiving present this past Saturday, at the Narragansett Town Beach. A huge offshore storm system that hit the coastline on Friday, lingered long enough the following morning to give competitors a solid waist to shoulder high swell for the final contest of the 2018 season.

Sophia Martino. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Working with an extended open format, males and females battled it out in their respective divisions, and the good surf made for some close contests. The tightest heat was the Women’s Open Shortboard Final, where Page Hedde and Sophia Martino went head to head, grabbing consistently long right and left handers across the beach. It came down to a last-minute left that allowed Page to pull off several turns and cutbacks and pushed her into the winner’s circle.

Page Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The Men’s Open Shortboard offered a great mix of young and old, best displayed by the top three finishers. Two-time East Coast Championships finalist and New England men’s champion, Jamie Kelley managed to find the best formed left peaks, and work them for the most points. Menehune Champion Dillon Moran charged into second place, with some high-flying right handers that hollowed out and peeled off. Senior Men’s champion, John Martino found one outstanding right peak that pushed him into the 3rd spot.

Dillon Moran. Photo: Lisa Haase.

The Open Longboard Final was held during the most consistent swells, on the incoming tide. Surfers grabbed numerous quality rides, as both lefts and rights began to appear both near the seawall and in the middle of the beach. This was another very close contest, with Sophia Martino holding the lead for most of the heat. She had put together two stylish backside rides, before Jamie Kelley nailed a sectioning left peak that held for an extended nose ride and the win. Big credit also goes to Dillon Moran, who went from 7th place to 3rd place with two fast moving right slides with two minutes left in the contest.

Jamie Kelley. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Contestants received prizes from Wet Sox and Nixon watches, as well as collecting their final ESA rating points to qualify for the 2019 ESA Northeast Regional Surf-Offs in May. The next rated ESA event will be the 51st Annual New England Mid-Winter Surfing Championships on February 16th, 2019. This is the oldest, continually running winter surfing contest in the world. For more information, surfers can go to the ESA SNE Facebook page.

Waves for Holiday SurfaboutWaves for Holiday SurfaboutAnnelise Kane. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Final Results of the 2018 ESA Holiday Surfabout
Menehune Boys-1Dillon Moran   
Girl Under 14-1.Annalise Kane  2.Taylor DeMond   
Girls Under 16-1.Page Hedde  2.Sophia Martino  3.Phoebe Hedde   
Boys Under 16-1.Jeff Burns  2.Jeff Albanese   
Men-1.Jamie Kelly  2.Brad Dickinson   
Masters-1.Chris Herbert   
Senior Men-1.John Martino   
Grand Legends-1.Peter Pan   
Menehune Longboard-1.Dillon Moran  2.Phoebe Hedde   
Junior Women’s Longboard-1.Sophia Martino  2.Page Hedde   
Junior Longboard-1.Jeff Albanese   2.Jeff Burns   
Men Longboard-1.Jamie Kelley   
Masters Longboard-1.John Martino  2.Chris Herbert   
Grand Legends Longboard-1.Peter Pan

John Martino. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Phoebe Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Joe Hedde. Photo: Lisa Haase.

Photo: Lisa Haase.

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