2017 New Jersey State Surfing Championships

May 16, 2017 • East Coast Contests

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the New Jersey State Surfing Championships were held. Originally known as the New Jersey Open, the contest was created by  legendary pioneer and ESA Co-Founder Cecil Lear in the 1960s. It was later run by ESA/CNJ Directors Gary Clayton and Don Tarrant of Belmar surf shop institution Eastern Lines in the late 1980s. After requests in the last few years, the contest staff — Bill Brooks, Scott Goodwin, and Don Tarrant — decided once again to bring the event back to New Jersey, on May 6th-7th at 17th Avenue in Belmar. The hopes were to crown true NJ state champions in  Pro as well as Amateur events.

If there’s a pro contest in New Jersey, you can put your money on Sam Hammer blowing up and showing up, just like he did for the newly rebooted New Jersey State Surfing Championships, held May 6th-7th in Belmar, NJ. Photo: Tim Torchia

Following a strong low that powered up the coast from the Gulf, Saturday morning dawned to a very sizable although confused south swell. The conditions were very challenging with southerly winds gusty up to 30 mph and very cool conditions. With the marginally dangerous conditions, it was decided to postpone the Amateur divisions until Sunday. Several rounds of the Pro eliminations and Longboard divisions were held, though, with highlights like Sam Hammer’s event-high 9+ score on a thick, bumpy monster. Most of the pros did very well with lots of smackable sections and the occasional cover-up.

Another Pro division heavyweight, Zack Humphreys. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Spencer Bridges slashes hard in the Pro semifinals. Photo: Mike Vuocolo

Sunday brought completely different conditions: the winds were straight offshore with head-high to overhead surf. With the southerly swell, long makeable rights broke off the 18th Avenue jetty. Some barrels were to be had for those willing to commit, along with lots of spots for vertical maneuvers. Both the amateur as well as the pro competitors caught many great waves and had the opportunities to show off their abilities in great surf. Zack Humphreys won the Pro on the strength of a five-second barrel in which he was completely buried, emerging to destroy the lip with an absolutely vertical slash.

Sunday Funday with Junior Men’s runner-up Logan Kamen. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Ben Graeff didn’t make any finals at the contest… Photo: Daniel Stockdale

…But he did surf hard while giving the kids a proper GoPro / video blogging lesson. Photo: Daniel Stockdale


1. Zach Humphreys, $1,000
2. Sam Hammer, $250
3. Rob Kelly, $200
4. Kyle Tester, $150

Zack Humphreys, dropping the hammer for his Pro division win. Photo: Mike Vuocolo

Sam Hammer and Zack had a damn good fun battling for this win. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Rob Kelly, precise as always on his way to 3rd-place in Pro. Photo: Mike Vuocolo

Big ups to young’un Kyle Tester for stepping up to make the stacked New Jersey State Surfing Championships final. Yes, that’s a big smile on his face. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Pro finalists along with trophy artist Ronnie Jackson. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Evan Couval
2. Cole Devaney
3. Zach Mansfield
4. William Grossarth

Boys finalists Evan Couval, Zack Mansfield, and Cole Devaney, with William Grossarth missing. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Jake DeMatteo
2. Logan Kamen
3. Keaton Fortney
4. Curran Iglay

Junior Men’s winner Jake DeMatteo. Photo: Mike Vuocolo

Junior Men’s finalists Logan Kamen, Curren Iglay, Jake DeMatteo, and Keaton Fortney. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Grace Lehman
2. Morgan Iglay
3. Emily Grossarth
4. Audrey Iglay

Junior Women’s finalists Grace Lehman, Morgan Iglay, and Audrey Iglay (not shown, Emily Grossarth). Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Cooper Fortney
2. Justin Perry

Men’s winner Cooper Fortney. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Men’s runner-up Justin Perry. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Chris D’Antuono
2. Chris Sibilia
3. Steve Swenson
4. Brian Stephens

Masters champion Chris D’Antuono. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Masters runner-up Chris Sibilia. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Chris D’Antuono, stoked on his Masters win. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Masters 2nd-4th, Chris Sibilia, Steve Swenson, and Brian Stephens. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Jack Murphy
2. Dean Schoonover
3. Chris Divito
4. Gary Finnegan, Sr.

Legends finalists Jack Murphy, Chris Divito, Gary Finnegan, Sr., and Dean Schoonover. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

1. Cassidy McClain

1. James Contreras
2. Cole Devaney
3. Paul Kelly
4. Keaton Fortney

Longboard winner James Contreras. Photo: Mike Vuocolo

Longboard runner-up Cole Devaney, who also finished 2nd in Boys. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

Longboard champ James Contreras. Photo: Daniel Stockdale

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