Comp Report: Larry Blows Up The Playa Bowls Belmar Pro, Robinson Win’s !

October 5, 2021 • Competition, East Coast Contests

Story by Mark Sisom, Photos By Robert Siliato and Mike Vuocolo

The 2021 Playa Bowls Belmar Pro brought to you by Eastern Lines Surf Shop is officially over, and considering what everyone’s been through for the past year and a half we are all beyond grateful to have pulled it off this year without a hitch! As a matter of fact we didn’t just pull it off, we got blessed with swell from hurricane Larry right on schedule that lasted for the first three days of competition, ending with a small little south groundswell from a low front in the southern states that provided contestable surf on the finals day, and with picture perfect September beach weather.

The 2021 Belmar Pro says thank you Larry! Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

On “Day 1”, although cool and rainy weather, the waves were glassy with overhead sets pumping consistently throughout the day as the peaks shifted between different sandbars between the 18th and 16th Avenue jetties across the contest zone. The day kicked off with the Custom X Mens Bodyboard heats followed by the Playa Bowls Womens Open heats, and on into the FINS Mens Open heats out to the rest of the day. It was at this point we started getting glimpses of who the standouts would be.

Chauncey Robinson has a deadly backhand but an equally, if not more lethal, forehand that had him atop the 2019 WQS North American rankings before Covid shut pro surfing down. With excellent results on both the Right Coast and Cali this past summer, it looks like “Chaunchoo” is still the man to beat back east if not the entire U.S. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato / www.JerseyShoreImages.com

Day 2 kicked off in chest to overhead long period swell with offshore winds with the Custom X Mens bodyboards heats into the Snot Nose Surf Wax Women’s Bodyboard Open Semis. After that the Blue Moon Longboard Open heats, then Creatures Of Leisure Masters Open semis, and closing out with more rounds of the FINS Mens Open.

The Snot Nose Bodyboard finalists ( L-R ) Ayara Suzuji, Salina Palmisano, and Lindsey Yasui pose for a photo with fan. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

The second day had us tentatively tossing around ideas for a title to this wrap-up story and we were hoping to call it “The Tale Of Two Logans” as Belmar local Logan Kamen (now Pyzel board factory employee in San Clemente), and now-honorary Belmar local from New Smyrna Beach, FL, Logan Hayes each got the events only perfect 10’s so far. L-Kamen surgically threaded a ridiculously deep drainer (some were claiming it as longest tube ride in Belmar Pro’s history), and L-Hayes with a blazing ride that started with a tube off the take off, a couple snaps, ending with a huge reverse sticking it at the end of the wave.

Logan Hayes gave it hell and went for broke which, if your surfing against Chuncey Robinson for a finals check, are the only two schemes needed in your playbook. He didn’t win but the word of mouth about his surfing off the chain. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato

Both waves caused loud standing applause from the beach, scaffolding, and even up on the boardwalk. The scores were unanimous from all judges, competitors, and beach-goers alike. They were clearly the standouts of Day 2, along with Paul Francisco, Kyle Tester and young grom ripper Cruz Dinofa also turning heads. In addition to the Logan-Fest, a new first-time Belmar Pro competitor named Ayaka Suzuki started jumping into everyone’s radar, more on that later in the story.

TR Deveney, a longtime surfer and Manasquan local, with his band The Piss Clams. It may not have quite the same cache as “The E Street Band” or “South Side Johnny And the Asbury Jukes” but it’s as Jersey as Jersey can be and a hell of a great name for a surf band that calls the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast home. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

On Day 3 we kicked off heats starting with the SRH Legends Open, followed by Custom X Mens Bodyboard Semis, and going out the rest of the day with the FINS Mens Open mid-rounds.

Day 3 saw “the Logans” continue their domination, while other competitors like Monmouth County local Pat Parenty, south Jersey ripper Kyle Tester, Belmar Local Alex Brooks all started putting some spicy fire on the competition. But this is where we started seeing the glimpses of determination and fire from Florida’s Chauncey Robinson start to light up and gain everyone’s attention and throw down the day’s highest heat score total with a 17.37 in Rd 3 / Heat 4.

Logan Kamen’s boost was the loudest, most talked about shots heard around the entire event but was not quite enough to get this exciting surfer a finals berth. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato

Day 4 came out of the gates with the Playabowls women’s semi-finals, into the Blue Moon Longboard semis, then Creatures Of Leisure Masters semis, FINS mens semis, followed by the Custom X Mens bodyboard finals, Snotnose Womens Bodyboard finals, Blue Moon Longboard finals, SRH Legends finals, Creatures of Leisure Masters finals, Playa Bowls Women’s finals and finally closing out the day with the FINS Mens Open heats.

New Jersey Surfing Hall Of Famer Scotty Duerr backside ripping in the Pro Legends division. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

With a dying Larry swell, and discouraging local marine forecast on Day 3, the prayers to the surf God’s kicked in and a questionable south wind swell from a low front in the southern states churned up “just enough” to be contestable and make it all the way through the last heat. Waves were anywhere from waist high to occasional chest to shoulder high sets, and with much cleaner conditions than expected as the heat from inland west of the contest region puffed out the flags to point offshore for the remainder of the afternoon, blessing the contest with an epic finals day!

New Jersey Surfing Hall Of Famer, Eastern Lines Don Tarrant, has brought the East Coast and New Jersey the Belmar Pro for 19 years and counting, an amazing run by any surf event standards. A 20th anniversary event in 2022 anybody? We’re in! Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Besides the “Logan-Fest” continuing, North Carolina’s longboard master Tony Silvagni (who also competed in the mens shortboard) reminded everyone why he’s the man with the most Belmar Pro victories of any division. We lost count how many times he won the Longboard division but we think it might be around 8 times by now! At this point, who’s counting?

Tony Silvagni and the Belmar Pro have a long history together with a big part of that story being he’s a winner here. Tony taking out the Mens Longboard once again. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Also causing chatter around the contest zone and occasional loud applause from the beach during her heats, Belmar Pro first-timer, and current Women’s World Bodyboard champ Ayaka Suzuki plowed through both the Women’s AND the Mens heats, yes the mens too, as the alpha of both bodyboard divisions. Her masterful bodyboarding skills, and her bright, fun and friendly Ohana-like personality stole the hearts of everyone in Belmar over the past several days.

Artist / surfer Ronnie Jackson holds the beautifully exquisite, hand carved first place trophy he created for lucky eventual winner, Chauncey Robinson. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

In the Creatures of Leisure Master’s final Jersey boys Pat Emery, Belmar local legend Brian Dalton and Steve Swenson all put up solid commendable effort, but Chris Howard put up a 14.00 to take the Masters win.

Top Garden State ripper / legend Pat “Surf Cat” Emery gets the claws out for this slashing top turn. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

The SRH Legends final saw a close wave for wave battle until Monmouth County legend and new surfing coach to an epic pack of groms, Jack Murphy pull away from the pack linking turns all the way to the beach for a well-earned 8.27 taking the Legends win for the 2nd consecutive time, right in front of his enthusiastic team of groms.

“Old Guys” Rule” the saying goes but, guys like Jack Murphy, Pro Legends winner, are examples that in this era of  surfing you should at least be getting your social security check before you can be referenced as such. Murph, forever young, tags this white water section for the win. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

The all-Jersey Playa Bowls Women’s final saw the return of local favorite and former Women’s champ Jessica Kwiecinski go up against in-form surfers Mia Gallagher and Carly Coble, but it was returning Womens Champ from south Jersey Cassidy McClain who pulled ahead and surfed the way champs surf to take the win once again.

Mia Gallagher during women’s pro final. Not too long after the BP, Mia travelled down to the Outer Banks with her entire family where she and sister Brynn, dominated the ESA Championships with multi divisional wins by both including the U18 for Mia. Lets face it, the Jersey Girls have it going on! Photo: Mike Voucolo @mikesshoresots

In the road to the FINS Mens Open final, South Jersey’s Kyle Tester fought a solid battle in Semi against FL’s Logan Hayes with a 14.70 heat total, but was no match for Haye’s 17.40 total. This is where Chauncey Robinson kicked his gears into overdrive taking out on-fire Logan Kamen in a hard-fought Mens Semi with a blazing 17.27 heat total to beat Kamen’s solid 13.73 effort.

Belmar own Logan Kamen showing championship form. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

In the Mens final Logan Hayes was leading the wave-for-wave battle that had the beach crowd on edge until with 5 minutes left of the heat Robinson snagged a heat ending 8.97 to take the 2021 Mens win and a shoulder ride up the beach by a very good sported Hayes and others. – By Mark Sisom –

There is nothing quite like the Jersey Shore when it’s fully popping off during a hot summer weekend, especially during the Playa Bowls Belmar Pro. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Unidentified logger totally jamming on a Hurricane Larry grinder. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato

Mens winner, Chauncey Robinson, figured he’d make his road trip worthwhile after getting a 5th at the WRV Outer Banks Pro the week before by winning the whole enchilada in Jersey. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

The local Monmouth County crew turned out in full force and ripped the bag out of it in all their heats: ( R-L ) Steve Jackson, Leslie, Jessie and New Jersey Surfing Hall Of Famer Scotty Duerr, fellow NJSHOF’er Gary Finnegan and Gerry Matthews. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

New Jersey’s Gerry Matthews cranking a sick LB turn. Photo: Bobby Siliatio @RobertSiliato

South Jersey’s Kyle Tester represents a talent rich area of the Garden State – from culture to industry to pro surfers – that has a had a huge impact on Jersey as well as East Coast surfing over the past five plus decades. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato

Did Hurricane Larry Deliver? Does the Jersey Shore have the best pork roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll sammie joints anywhere? Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

The Belmar Pro has always been a great event to bring the kids to the beach to watch next level surfing and perhaps inspire the gloms to reach for the stars. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Logan Hayes banging away on his backhand earned his finals berth by consistently surfing hard, smart and with a variety of moves giving the judges ample reason to keep propelling him forward to the marquee match-up of the entire event, the Mens Pro against Chauncey Robinson. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Gommie Daney Casey on the kind of contest wave you dream about snagging to show what you got in front of a packed house on the beach. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

Tony Silvagni on top of the wave and the world on his way to an extremely well surfed Longboard Pro win. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato 

Alex Brooks uses the generous waves from Larry and the perfect offshore winds to go 11:55 on the vert clock. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots

South Jersey’s Cruz Dinofa staying grounded below the lip as opposed to doing extremely tweaked out gymnastic moves way above it. This kid is insanely talented for barely 11. Photo: Bobby Siliato @RobertSiliato /  http://www.JerseyShoreImages.com