TURF: Ocean City Surf Club Walk Da Plank Longboard Pro; 37th St. Beach, Ocean City, MD; June 8th, 2014.
ENERGY: Ocean City surfers and businessmen Chris Tilghman and Brad Hoffman recently created the Ocean City Surf Club, and on Sunday, June 8th, they presented the inaugural Walk Da Plank Longboard Pro, the first professional surfing event held in Ocean City since the early 1980s. The contest ran in conjunction with the 14th Annual OC Legends Longboard Team Challenge, held on June 7th, with the overall goal of highlighting Ocean City’s longstanding heritage of surfing and ocean involvement.
Attending the event were 16 of the East Coast’s top longboard surfers from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Comprised of competitors ranging in age from 14 years old to seasoned pros in their 30s and beyond, the morning featured a waist- to occasionally chest-high swell from the south with a wave-grooming west wind at 37th St. Beach out front of the presenting sponsor, Castle in the Sand Hotel.
SLIDE: That impressive body of talent all vied for a total Walk Da Plank Longboard Pro cash purse of $4,700, with the winner scooping up a tidy $1,500 1st-place prize. So from the outset, it was clear that these guys were serious. In the first round, with the winners going directly into the quarterfinals and the rest able to surf again to gain a position in the second elimination round, we saw some impressive noseriding and cross-stepping prowess in the super clean conditions. It was definitely a study in state-of-the-art longboarding, with most surfers choosing to ride traditional, single-fin, 50/50-railed boards.
As the day progressed, a freshening south wind began to deteriorate the morning’s beautiful conditions, but the small groundswell held in there, offering many opportunities for long noserides of the hang five, hang ten, and even the extremely difficult hanging both heels over the nose variety. Many heats were extremely close and decisions by the judging staff had to be extremely difficult. As many highly skilled surfers dropped from the competition, those still left in the contest stepped up their game and put on a fantastic show for the crowd on the beach.
THE PAIN: With a great event giving East Coast longboarders a substantial prize purse to compete for, fun waves, and a welcoming spirit from the Ocean City hosts, there was very little pain evident at the Walk Da Plank Longboard Pro. The only pain, in fact, came from the fact that Carolina surfers dominated the top two spots.
THE MAN: But that’s what this contest was all about: attracting the best talent from up and down the cost to see what Ocean City, MD, has to offer. When the final horn sounded, it was well-known pro longboarder Tony Silvagni of Southern North Carolina taking the jumbo check presented by the Bank of Ocean City for $1,500 and an impressive wooden trophy from Plak That made right in OC. In 2nd-place was Brad Rose, also from Southern North Carolina, taking home $1,000, with Virginia's Mike Melchiorre following up in 3rd-place and winning $750.
Breaking the Carolina stranglehold on final placings was Patrick Nichols of South Florida with a solid 4th-place finish and a $500 check. Rounding out the money round was Tom Cannon of Mount Pleasant, SC, with $400, Steve Mangiacapre from Carolina Beach, NC, with $300, Chris Makibbin of Ocean City with $200, and Grey Copenhaver of Virginia Beach, VA, with $100.
The Ocean City Surf Club and the Walk Da Plank Longboard Pro would like to extend their gratitude to presenting sponsor K-Coast Surf Shop and to the other fine Ocean City businesses that helped to make this event a resounding success: OCMotels.com, Tony’s Pizza, OC Import Service, OC Wasabi, Ryan Murphy Marine Construction, Ponzetti’s Pizza, The Reel Inn, Advanced Marine, Malibu’s Surf Shop, the West O Bottle Shop, Pepper’s Tavern, the New Beach Alliance, Maui Golf, Mother’s Cantina, Decatur Diner, Cruz N Car Wash, the Starvin’ Delmarvins, the Fractured Prune, Grotto’s Pizza, and Harrington Graphics & Screenprinting.
Plans are already in the works for an even better event in 2015 as the Ocean City Surf Club continues to bring professional surfing back to Ocean City, MD.
FINAL RESULTS OF THE OCEAN CITY SURF CLUB WALK DA PLANK LONGBOARD PRO:
1. Tony Silvagni, $1,500
2. Brad Rose, $1,000
3. Mike Melchiorre, $750
4. Patrick Nichols, $500
5. Tom Cannon, $400
6. Steve Mangiacapre, $300
7. Chris Makibbin, $200
8. Grey Copenhaver, $100