EYES ON THE PRIZE
 
 
 
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EYES ON THE PRIZE

  • subtitle: Surfing America Prime East Coast Season Kicks Off In New Jersey

Written by  Allison Arteaga
Wednesday, 10/23/13

It’s about that time again here on the East Coast. The past year’s ASF, ESA, and NSSA championships are quickly becoming ancient history as our coast’s junior surfers zero in on the promises of a brand new season of competition. And for most top athletes competing in amateur surfing organizations along our coast, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a chance at becoming a member of the PacSun USA Surf Team. But that’s not exactly an easy goal to achieve.

To even throw your name into the hat, you must have proven yourself in ASF, ESA, or NSSA competition. And from there, you have only three East Coast Surfing America Prime qualifying events to earn yourself an invitation to the USA Championships in California, come summertime. Then, you just have to take out all the gathered talent from across the nation to claim your spot on the team. No big deal.

But after this past weekend’s showdown in New Jersey, a few of our East Coast athletes are just a little bit closer to their dreams of representing America in international competition as part of the PacSun USA Surf Team. On Saturday, October 19th, the season’s first Surfing America Prime East Coast event went down at Central Pier in Atlantic City, NJ, with small but clean ground swell on offer.

“Our surfers and their parents love coming to Atlantic City,” Surfing America executive director Greg Cruse said. “The kids love the beach and the quality surf on hand this time of year, and the parents love the great hotels, restaurants, and casinos. There really is something for everyone, and we will return again next year.”

Thanks to a solid event staff and lots of help from local sponsors like Resorts Casino Hotel, Landshark Bar & Grill, and Jersey Devil Surf Shop, the contest was a well-oiled machine. So, with Sunday’s forecast looking dismal, contest directors made the call on Saturday morning to run all 33 heats from dawn to dusk in one action-packed day.

Top local standouts were Garden State representatives Mike Vanaman, who finished runner-up in Boys U14, and Maddie Peterson, who claimed the Girls U18 crown and placed 3rd in U16. Peterson and other current PacSun USA Surf Team members Emory McClary and Luke Gordon all won divisions, making strong early-season cases for their re-qualification. But Newport, NC’s, Stevie Pittman really turned heads as the event’s only multi-division winner with his Boys U16 and U14 wins. He’ll undoubtedly be a major threat as the season progresses.

“The level of surfing has definitely risen on the East Coast, even since last year,” said USA Surf Team coach Ryan Simmons after the contest concluded. “I was really impressed by the performance of these young athletes, and it bodes well for the future prospects of the USA Surf Team.” The next East Coast Surfing America Prime event will hit New Smyrna Beach, FL, on March 1st and 2nd, giving another crop of young talent a chance at catching Simmons’s eye.

FINAL RESULTS OF SURFING AMERICA PRIME EAST COAST STOP #1:

BOYS U18

1. Luke Gordon

2. Brandon Mitchell

3. Stevie Pittman

4.  Addison Miles

BOYS U14

1. Stevie Pittman

2.Mickey Vanaman

3. Micha Cantor

4. Laird Myers

GIRLS U16

1. Emory McClary

2. Avery Aydelotte

3. Maddie Peterson

4. Rachel Presti

BOYS U16

1. Stevie Pittman

2. Micha Cantor

3. Luke Gordon

4. Chauncey Robinson

GIRLS U18

1. Maddie Peterson

2. Emory McClary

3. Sydney Harring

4. Sophie Falzone

   
 
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