Where do I start????
Going to a contest with my surfing brethren has never been far from my mind. I've walked away from the thought of contest surfing because my bro's are simply some of the best "free surfers" I know. Perhaps the judges wouldn't see it the same way,and my guys would be deflated...... Well we did it.
I spoke to Carl and Sam to make sure we could even make the contest in Topsail,NC. With a bit of logistics managing the trip was a go. With little less than 5 days to pull off a team we got after it.Sure did make it easy when the pool of surfers is already World Class. Will Rich and Robbie Fisher are the free surfing guru's . I felt if we went to the contest , no doubt there would be some Podium action.
Thursday 9/24 Robbie and I left Little Compton at 3:37 pm . We still had some loading to do in Fall River and meet up with the Gus Outdoors marketing Guru. With that all done and our new Team hats provided by Gus Outdoors dot com , off to East Providence to pick up team guy Will.
No more than 11.5 minutes later we were on 95 south for aprox. 14 hours. Like a well oiled machine we drove all night. Serious weather conditions en route couldn't stop our team driver set up. One of us slept in back while a first officer and pilot kept the van and trailer moving. All night we had seamless, almost telepathic transitions till we made it to North Carolina's,Topsail Beach.
Early AM I awoke in the back of the van with Will in the the #1 seat and Robbie in #2 seat. Robbie greeted me as if we hadn't even been on the road for 850 miles. He filled me in on where we were and what had been going on since I climbed in back. About 15 minutes later we were staring out at a nice waist to head high well groomed swell!
After Breakfast and a trip to the visitor center we made our way to the comp. site. It was about 9:45 am at this point. North Carolina has great access points to the sea. We had made our way to Broadway Street access Surf City NC. Perfect waves no one out, we didn't waste much time. Friday was a practice day and we better get to know the spot.
North Carolina is very tide dependant. Low tide can be 4 foot and perfect and 3.5 hours later when the tide fills in the waves go FLAT! It is all sand bottom so sand bars have a lot to do with it. Team Osprey shared waves and smiled at each other. For those hours in time,no one on the planet was having more fun...FACT!!!
It wasn't all fun and games. Robbie,Will and I discussed strategy and the rules of competition. Surfed till about 5:00 ,practicing all four categories. The categories for this contest were: under 9ft(HP) over 9ft(IC,International Class) Waveski, SUP . We were entering every category. After practice , we found a nice condo and some ribs!
Early Saturday 9/26 woke at 5:00 and went to go get breakfast fixins. Of course I left some loud music on the IPOD when I left so the Boys new it was time to rise. Biscuits,Eggs,Potatoes,Coffee,and of course Protein Smoothies. We arrived at the comp. site registered and prepared for our heats.
So many proud moments as I watched and participated in advancing into semi final after semi final. This was suppose to be a one day comp but because of safety concerns the organizers opted to take a vote on continuing. Team Osprey voted to do "what ever" . The whole group decided to finish on Sunday.
Saturday's surf was fun. 3 foot with bigger sets and poor shape. We really had to surf well to make our Team stand out. I think we all did so well because we were having fun. It didn't seem like our Team felt any pressure. We just went out, heat after heat,smiling and assisting each other on the beach. After a long day of competing ,we made our way back to the condo and dinner.Sunday 9/27 more heats at 8:00 am. The well oiled machine Continued to post awesome heats and all advanced to the finals.
I haven't really spoke much about what was going on during the heats. Let me tell you , We were no doubt the hardest charging guys out there! No, none of us got a first in the finals. What we did do though was show the East Coast that the talent from the North is awesome. For myself it was nice to bring my friends to a comp 850 miles from our small town of Little Compton and show the guys who go to ALL the contest who we are.
We all stayed around for the awards and recieved really nice prizes. Shook the hands of our fellow competitors and began our 850 mile drive north. All night mile after mile I was so proud of Robbie and Will. Arriving back in The City of Compton early am on Monday 9/28. Will woke me with my favorite phrase..."Hey!!!The suns up and there are waves,lets go surfing!"