SURFER Magazine is pleased to announce that 7th Street Surf Shop from New Jersey has officially secured a spot in the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship event at Playa Colorado in Nicaragua. Despite the fact that an official Northeast event was not held in 2018, the reigning (and highly dedicated) 2017 Northeast Regional Champs made the fourteen-hour voyage to North Carolina for a spot in the competition.
Under extremely challenging 1-2ft conditions, nine teams took to the water at Jennette's Pier, Outer Banks, NC for round one of the sixth and final stop of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge regional qualifying series. The final heat, open to only four squads, was a battle between Secret Spot Surf Shop, 7th Street Surf Shop, Duck Village Outfitters, and 17th Street Surf Shop. The reigning mid-Atlantic champs, Sweetwater Surf Shop, were unable to secure a score strong enough to make it to the final.
The final heat was placed on hold and delayed for 5 hours as event organizers waited for conditions to become ride-able again after high tide. Eventually the final kicked off at 2:45pm. Team rider Bo Rayner of 17th Street whammied the highest score of the day, a 9.8 (total wave score 19.6) with 8 minutes remaining to take the lead. Tensions were high during closing stages of the final as 7th Street Surf Shop and 17th Street Surf Shop were neck and neck with two minutes to go. 17th Street needed a mere 2 point wave score to take the lead but inconsistent swell and strategic surfing by the 7th Street team, including Rob Kelly's whammy of a 9.33 (total wave score18.66), allowed them to take the mid-Atlantic win.
"We had a really close and fun battle with 17th Street and edged out the win, so, we're going to Nicaragua and we're pretty psyched," said 7th Street team Rider Rob Kelly. "There were couple waves and it was a little slow so we knew we just had to really be on the good ones. Luckily a good wave came right to me, I dropped a 9.3, putting some pressure on them and then these boys were able to back it up and we got the win!"
Congratulations to 7th Street Surf Shop team members Mike Vanaman, Brian Liess, Rob Kelly, and Ryan Santiago!
Up next is the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship at Playa Colorado in Nicaragua. An official call has yet to be made for competition during the October 23-25 waiting period.