TURF: 2nd Annual NYC Longboard Challenge; 90th St. Jetty, Rockaway Beach, NY; November 21st, 2015

ENERGY: The contest was held in sunny, 42-degree weather with water temps in the 56 degree range, two- to three-foot surf, 25 competitors, and three judges. The call was made the week prior to cancel the Rockaway Beach Surfers Association event due to the wave gods not cooperating, so, it was moved to the following weekend when fun, glassy waves were on offer for a total of twelve heats.

FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Surfing backwards, the Red Bull girls, and Eastern Surf Magazine. It has been over 30 years since I’ve set foot in Rockaway because, well, I don’t know why. The contestants in this contest were as stoked as I’ve seen many places before but vibes and longboard fun was what stood out the most. Organizer Alex Karinsky’s love affair with surfing backwards sparked three other competitors in each division to follow suit. The waves had an on and off day as the tides shifted, but there was a steady pulse right up until dark. With the fun surf, longboarders were using all the moves in the book but broke out backward surfing trying to grab a few more points. And while we’re on “grab a few,” the Red Bull Girls made an appearance with some cold ones and a few four-packs of their new flavor. We didn’t grow wings (or get any warmer for that matter), but a few pretty girls handing out free drinks is always a good thing.

THE SLIDE: After the contest was delayed a week, once it got started it all went off without a hitch.

THE MAN: Well, there were actually three: Brandon Gardner for winning the contest, Rick Anthony for lending his expertise, singlets, and PA system along with tabulation throughout the contest… but the main man was Alex Karinsky for having the vision to put it all together and see it through till the end. Alex stated that next year he hopes to be back with some new sponsorship and more open beaches in Rockaway for surfers to enjoy. He has been working with the town for years to establish more beach access, since being so close to New York City, when there are waves, there are crowds. So having enough beaches to surf is first and foremost. Alex was ESM’s Rockaway Beach Kingpin way back in August 2003 (Issue #90 in case you’re curious), so his roots in Rockaway run deep.

THE PAIN: Held back from the original start date of November 14th, it was just a waiting game till the following weekend — and in the end, the wave gods did deliver. No, it wasn’t six- to eight-foot perfection, but it was fun, even if it was a bit nippy out.

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Brandon Gardner

2. Mar Cubillos

3. Jeremy Jones

4. Alex Karinsky

5. Jimmy Dowd

6. Mike Reinhardt
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