Team Sweetwater from Wrightsville Beach, NC Scores Highest Overall Point Total In A Heat This Year
SURFER Magazine's 2011 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge (OSSC) had an exciting week on the Eastern Seaboard, culminating with Team Sweetwater winning the Mid-Atlantic regional qualifier in only their second year of competing and asserting their intentions to take the National title once again this year.
Seven teams boasting a sampling of the best surfers from Virginia and North Carolina converged on Lillian Street in Kitty Hawk, NC yesterday for the Mid-Atlantic regional qualifier. The day's event marked the first major surfing contest of the year on the Barrier Island and turned out to offer the best possible conditions with a light Northeast wind and contestable knee to stomach-high waves.
Heat one started out with a bang when team Sweetwater's whammy rider Ben Bourgeois locked in a 9.93 from a calculated series of swooping rail turns and well-timed verts. The former ASP World Tour competitor lead his team to score the highest overall point total in a heat so far this year at 41.26 out of 50. Team OBBC was left in a distant second with 32.13 points--just enough to eek them into the finals.
With a conveniently dropping tide throughout the morning, heat two saw Coastal Edge, Whalebone, and 17th Street fight it out for a spot in the final round. A high score of 36.06 for 17th Street and 29.11 for Coastal Edge knocked Wave Riding Vehicles and The Pit out of their chances to face team Sweetwater in the finals.
As time ticked down during the 70 minute final, it came down to Sweetwater and Coastal Edge's Bryce Humphrey who bashed a frontside reverse for a 7.17, allowing them to take the lead from Sweetwater for the first time all day. Humphrey tried to hold back Sweetwater's Mike Powell by any means necessary to avoid Powell scoring a needed 7.05 to give his team a second annual win. However, Powell found a sectiony right and hit three backside verts before organizers decided to "go dark," opting to not reveal Powell's score until the awards ceremony. In the end, Powell's score came in at 7.17, making Sweetwater a regional qualifier champ for the second year in a row with Coastal Edge finishing the competition as the regional runner-up for the third time.
When asked about their win and the OSSC, Bourgeois remarked, "I think involving the shops like this is really important because surf shops are what drive the community. Getting everyone involved in things like this is awesome. Obviously all the core shops are here with good teams, and then the customer kind of knows what shops to go to because of the reputations that come out of this series. Good service. Good surfers."
Team Sweetwater is aggressively waiting for September and their chance to claim the National Championships for the second year in a row.
1. Sweetwater - 35.93 (Ben Bourgeois*, Michael Powell, Nick Rupp, Ben Powell)
2. Coastal Edge - 35.80 (Wes Laine, Michael Dunphy*, Lucas Rogers, Bryce Humphreys)
3. 17th Street Surf Shop - 26.67 (Philip Goold*, Sebastian Moreno, Erik Schub, Tyler Bohn)
4. Outer Banks Boarding Company - 22.82 (Noah Snyder*, Jesse Hines, Chris McDonald, Julian Payne)
*Indicates whammy surfer
SURFER Magazine's OSSC event series teams shop employees with shop pros for a chance at $10,000 and the title of the best surf shop in the U.S. This year will see 280 surfers from 70 shops around the country compete at seven regional stops before culminating at the Huntington Beach pier in September for the National Championship. Each regional winner will earn an expense-paid trip to the National Championships for their chance to win the grand prize.
For photos, video footage, results, and more check out SurfShopChallenge.com.
Special thanks to Oakley and other event partners Muscle Milk, New Era Caps, Futures Fins, Buell Wetsuits, and Bubble Gum Wax for all their support. Without their involvement the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be what it is today.
Action Sports Group Public Relations
Oakley Sports Marketing Media