The Battle of the Beach 5

October 21, 2016 • East Coast Contests

TURF: The Battle of the Beach 5; Ocean Mist, Matunuck, RI; September 24th, 2016 

Battle of the Beach 5. Photo: Ted Sorlien

On September 24th, the 5th Annual Battle of the Beach surf contest returned to the salty shores of Rhode Island’s South County at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck. Photo: Ted Sorlien

ENERGY: Oh, what a glorious day! On September 24th, the 5th Annual Battle of the Beach surf contest returned to the salty shores of Rhode Island’s South County with a vengeance. More than 100 contestants from all over the US and Puerto Rico swarmed to the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, each with a quest for supremacy. Boasting a fresh new venue and over $25,000 in prizes to be distributed by the “Sultan of Stoke,” contest director Conrad Ferla, no one left disappointed. “This was a true example of local shapers and shops, as well as many coveted surf and skateboard brands, all coming together to give back to the surf community,” Ferla remarked. “Conrad Ferla had done a masterful job of promoting the contest, as he does every year, but the winning combination of sunny skies, warm water and air temps, and chest- to shoulder-high pointbreak surf courtesy of Hurricane Karl made it a day for the books,” said New England competitive icon Peter Pan.

Conrad and Brittany Ferla and Peter Pan. Photo: Sorlien

More than 100 contestants from all over the US and Puerto Rico entered the contest, organized by Conrad Ferla (left) with help from his wife Brittany (center) and New England legend Peter Pan (right). Photo: Sorlien

FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Unique to this year’s event was the gathering of all the surf shop clans from in and around New England, including Narragansett Surf & Skate, Civil, Island Surf & Sport, Elemental, Diamond Blue, Drift, Levitate, Breakwater Surf Shop, Xtremely Board, Water Brothers, Nor’Easter, Living Water, and Matunuck Surf Shop. Other sponsors included Penny Skateboards, Carver Skateboards, All I Need Skateboards, Aluminati Skateboards, Loaded Skateboards, Z Flex, Orangatang, Upper Cut Deluxe, Famous Traction, Hyperflex Wetsuits, Costa Eyewear, Hobie Polarized, Electric Eyewear, Spy Optics, Shades of Narragansett, the Janice Causey Memorial Arts Scholarship Foundation, Jahmu Juice, Helm Supply Co., Emerald Surfwear, Swimline, IMSY Swimwear, East Surf Wax, House of Marley and NubTV. Needless to say, the “stoke factor” was dialed up to 11.

Chrissy Bee. Photo: Drew Wheelen

The big story in 2016 was how this year’s Battle brought so many different surf shop clans from in and around New England together. Here’s Chrissy Bee cruising in the name of saltwater camaraderie with her friends. Photo: Drew Wheelen

THE SLIDE: Among the giveaways were 14 hand-crafted surfboards (given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place winners in every division), along with several thousand dollars worth of skateboards, wetsuits, clothing, and hard goods. Among the generous shapers were Omen Surfboards, LSD, Tora, Soundings Surf Co., Chino Surfboards, Natti Surfboards, SuperBRAND, Chemistry Surfboards, Catch Surf, Rozbern Surfboards, Vikani Surfboards, Bic Surfboards, Vec Surfboards, and a custom board from Wax Buddy. 

Swimline groms. Photo: Wheelen

Good times are the name of the game at the Battle of the Beach, as these Swimline float-riding groms demonstrated. Photo: Wheelen

The contest itself continued in its tradition of craziness. In a throwback to the early 1960s, there were eight-man (or woman) heats, including the finals. There were only six divisions, including Grom Shortboard, Grom Longboard, Kenny Loggins Longboard, Lady Loggins Longboard, Open Shortboard, and Retro Psychedelic Shred. The most spirited competition came in the Retro division, where contestants drew straws to decide what early 1970s shortboards they had to ride in the heats. Some of the boards included a 1971 Hobie Seaboard, a 1976 Gerry Lopez, a 1972 Dick Brewer Gun, a 1974 Jim Phillips Twin Fin, and a Heritage single fin. The “First Family of Surfing” in New England, the Heddes, continue to shine at every big contest, reminiscent of the Paskowitz clan in Southern California in the 1970s. It was a combination of stylish turns and cutbacks on two big faces that propelled Joe Hedde to the title over Robbie Goodwin in the highly competitive Retro Final. (For the record, the Hedde clan placed members in three out of six finals.)

 Chris Herbert and Robbie Goodwin. Photo: Robert Goodwin

The most spirited competition came in the retro Psychedelic Shred division, where contestants drew straws to ride boards like a 1971 Hobie Seaboard, a 1976 Gerry Lopez, a 1972 Dick Brewer Gun, a 1974 Jim Phillips Twin Fin, and a Heritage single fin. Chris Herbert and Robbie Goodwin were stoked on their choices. Photo: Robert Goodwin

East Coast champion and national contender Robbie Goodwin came back with a vengeance, as he charged the Open Shortboard final, pulling off two dramatic airs off some big left sections to top another East Coast champion and ESA All-Star team member, Kai Nichols. New York’s Ed Fawess comes up to Rhode Island regularly to ride the perfect surf at Matunuck Point, and he showed his familiarity with the break as he cruised into some nice long left walls to top Joe Hedde for the Open Longboard crown. Noah Gartner showed his local knowledge as the top-ranked ESA Menehune logger to win the Grom Longboard Final. In the female ranks, it was Kim Romagnesi, just back from winning a title at the 2016 ESA Easterns in Cape Hatteras, NC, who picked only the two best shoulder-high waves of the Lady Loggins Longboard division final to easily take the title. And Page Hedde continues to impress her elders, as she crushed all the boys, easily winning the Grom Shortboard title.

Robbie Goodwin. Photo: Goodwin

But in the end, it was Massachusetts grom Robbie Goodwin who avenged his close loss to Joe Hedde in the retro division with a solid win in Open Shortboard over New Hampshire’s Kai Nichols and Rhode Island’s Kevin Roy. Talk about a diverse top three. Photo: Goodwin

THE MAN: The last heat paddled in right at dusk, and afterward, local bands carried the day’s festivities late into the evening. The Mintones got the crowd into the groove and Gutterdrunk brought it home. In between sets, pro surfer and NubTV personality Ben Gravyy performed a solo acoustic act. “It looks like the Battle of the Beach has a new home,” Conrad Ferla says. “The Ocean Mist was a rockin’ venue. It is going to be hard to top this one… until we do it again here next year.” All of this would not be possible if it wasn’t for the support of the local surf community, the surfboard shapers, the local shops, and Peter Pan.

Ben Gravyy and Aurelien Bouche-Pillon. Photo: Sorlien

Nub TV’s Ben Gravyy (left) and Canadian ambassador Aurelien Bouche-Pillon (right) regale this grom with wild stories of Battle of the Beaches past. Photo: Sorlien

FINAL RESULTS OF THE BATTLE OF THE BEACH 5:

GROM SHORTBOARD

1. Page Hedde

2. Justin Parilla

3. Sophia Martin

GROM LONGBOARD

1. Noah Gartner

2. Jim Robbins

3. Phoebe Hedde

LADY LOGGINS

1. Kim Romagnesi

2. Katie Imswiler

3. Chris Duffy

Katie Imswiler. Photo: Sorlien

Katie Imswiler of IMSY Swimwear also tore it up in the Psychedelic Shred division, as well as finishing 2nd in Lady Loggins. Photo: Sorlien

KENNY LOGGINS

1. Ed Fawess

2. Jeff Matucci

3. Kyle Halavik

Lily Gartner. Photo: Wheelen

Lily Gartner setting up a perfect trim line on this lefthand beauty. Photo: Wheelen

PSYCHEDELIC SHRED

1. Joe Hedde

2. Robbie Goodwin

3. Kai Nichols

Chrissy Bee. Photo: Drew Wheelen

The big story in 2016 was how this year’s Battle brought so many different surf shop clans from in and around New England together. Here’s Chrissy Bee cruising in the name of saltwater camaraderie with her friends. Photo: Drew Wheelen

OPEN SHORTBOARD

1. Robbie Goodwin

2. Kai Nichols

3. Kevin Roy

Battle of the Beach 5 judges Sid Abbruzzi, Colin Hynes, Matt Fraza, and Curt Niles. Photo: Sorlien

But hey, the judging panel took the competition seriously. Here’s Sid Abbruzzi, Colin Hynes, Matt Fraza, and Curt Niles keeping their eyes on the prize. Photo: Sorlien

Kerry Gorham. Photo: Sorlien

Kerry Gorham, sublime shred in the Kenny Loggins category. Photo: Sorlien

Battle of the Beach 5 competitors. Photo: Sorlien

The contest format continued in its tradition of Battle of the Beach craziness, with eight-man and eight-woman finals serving as a throwback to the early 1960s. Photo: Sorlien

Battle of the Beach 5. Photo: Goodwin

“It looks like the Battle of the Beach has a new home,” said contest organizer Conrad Ferla. “The Ocean Mist was a rockin’ venue. It is going to be hard to top this one… until we do it again here next year.” Ferla sends thanks to the local surf community, shapers, shops, and Peter Pan for all their support. Photo: Goodwin

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