Battle of the Brews
Eastern Surfing Association
Narragansett Town Beach Rhode Island, USA
21 - 22 September 2013
On the Edge: Battle of the Brews
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 September, 2013 : - - It was a scene reminiscent of an early 1960’s surfing competition, complete with girls gyrating their hula-hoops, longhaired skateboarders pumping turns in the parking lot, and the Beach Boys blaring through the loudspeaker system set up by the Narragansett Town Beach seawall.
In actuality, it was the Eastern Surfing Association’s “Battle of the Brews” surfing competition that took place this past Saturday. It was the brainchild of local surf shop manager, Conrad Ferla, who combined surfing, skateboarding, and beer sponsors into working together for a fun event.
ESA Competition Director Mario Frade watched the festivities and commented. “This scene is like a flashback to the last big surfing contest ever held at the Narragansett Town Beach. It was the 1968 New England Invitational Surfing Championships. I was there and we listened to the same music that the DJ is playing right now (Ventures). The crowd was certainly bigger in 68’. We have a few hundred people here today. At that contest, it was estimated there were about 3000 spectators lined up on the seawall and on the beach.”
Ferla created some crazy specialty divisions for the contest, and those turned out to be the most entertaining and biggest draws of the event. The most popular division was the “Retro Shortboard” division, where rounds of 6 competitors had to use the six surfboards that were on hand, antiques dating from 1971 to 1983. Surfers had to ride what they picked out from a lottery drawing in each heat. The poor floatation and the bad design of some of these boards made for some great wipeouts that kept the spectators entertained.
Another popular division was what Ferla called the “Mega-Board” competition. In this event, everyone had to ride the same super wide beginner long board, donated by one of the sponsors of the contest, Bic Sport U.S.A. The sloppy, mushy, and small conditions were ideal surf for these boards, and competitors kept the spectators on their toes with lots of old style tricks.
Along with these events, there was the Open Longboard and Open Shortboard contest, along with Menehune and Women categories. Sponsors for the event gave away some great prizes to all the finalists, and the action moved to the Oceanside Restaurant across the street from the beach, at the conclusion of the event.
The turnout was so great for this ESA contest, the final heat of the day finished in the dark at 7:15 PM. Contest organizers had to take down the tents, tables and PA system under car headlights.
To some extent, the surf did cooperate, with a solid knee to waist high swell, messy at times, but contestable for the duration of the contest. Those who managed to find the rare makeable section, easily advanced to the next round. Local knowledge was a factor in the Midget events, when both Noah and Lilly Gartner easily took the titles, floating off the inside mini-walls.
In the highly competitive Retro Shortboard division, it was Matt Baron who managed to get a 30-year old Hobie Peter Pan Slug Fish pumping across the low tide shorebreak, topping Morgan Gallipeau for the title. Gallipeau came back to take the Open Longboard crown in a spirited battle with Andrew Nota. Both rode vintage 1960 stock longboards in the final round.
The crowd enjoyed the Mega Board Final, which was plentiful with wipeouts and nosedives. Andrew Marsden showed great control, managing some nice nose rides as he rode to the win over Nick Curci. Lauren Wiggins powered her way through some snappy close-out sections to win the Open Women’s category over Sarah Procaccini. The Oldster final paddled out in the dark, with Peter Pan taking it over Claudio Paolino under the headlights.
A post party was held across the street from the beach at the Oceanside Restaurant, where contest sponsor Narragansett Beer supplied contestants with free beer and a live DJ. Other major sponsors for the event which supplied prizes for the contestants included Narragansett Surf and Skate, Bic Sport USA, Carver Skateboards, Hurley, Pro Lite, Raw Elements, Gansett Rides, Chino Surfboards, Ergo, Anarchy, and Bike Stop.
The next ESA event will be the 3rd Narrow River SUP Race, set for next Sunday at Narrow River Kayak in Narragansett. Signups are from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM, with race time scheduled for 10:00 AM. Entry fee is $35.00. This will be the final and longest race of the circuit, at 5.5 miles. The next surf event is the annual Northeast Surfing Championships, scheduled for October 19th at the Narragansett Town Beach.
Author: Peter Pan
Tags: Rhode Island, ESA, Peter Pan