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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Surf Week 2013 marks a 'new era' in L.B.
Annual NYSEA event featured surfing, skateboarding contests and more
By Kieran Lynch and Kevin Cabello
Donovan Berthoud/Herald
Noel Wilson competed in the surfing contest last weekend.

“Just to see people all over the place listening to music, watching skating, watching surfing, a packed house — it was just rad,” said Will Skudin, the founder of NYSEA Productions’ Surf Week. “It was turning over a new leaf. It’s just the beginning of a new era in Long Beach, N.Y.”

Thousands of spectators turned out for NYSEA’s fourth annual Surf Week, which took place from July 17-21and featured surf and skate contests, parties, concerts and an art show and took another step toward publicizing Long Beach and its thriving surf culture.

The week’s main event, the open surfing contest on National Boulevard beach, ran on a waiting period from Wednesday, July 17, through Saturday, July 20, and featured both professional surfers and locals vying for a $3,000 purse. Some of New York’s most talented surfers, including Balaram Stack, T.J. Gumiela, Leif Engstrom and Richie Bogart, were among 48 competitors, according to Skudin.

Engstrom took home the $1,500 first-place cash purse when he won the contest’s final heat, but he wasn’t the only surfer in the spotlight. Bryan Laide placed second, Brian Pollak third and 12-year-old Mike Vanaman placed fourth overall in the pro contest while also finishing second in the boys group.

“It seemed like a breakthrough contest for [Vanaman],” Skudin said. “There’s a time when you’re at that age when you’re pushing your surfing and things start to click.”
The contest’s finale came a day later than expected on Sunday, after the organizers dealt with less than ideal surfing conditions from Wednesday through Friday before kicking the event off on Saturday morning.

“That’s why you have rain days and that’s why we plan for rain days months in advance,” Skudin said referring both to the lack of waves and storms that came through Saturday evening.

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