CARLSBAD, Calif., April 15, 2016 - Five teams took over Manasquan, New Jersey, on Thursday to battle for a chance to represent the Northeast region in the National Championship of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge. Despite only a handful of shop entries, the unique team-focused event (each shop team consisting of two team riders and two shop employees) did not disappoint.
The participating teams included: Heritage Surf & Sport (Ocean City), Heritage Surf & Sport (Margate), Heritage Surf & Sport (Sea Isle City), Inlet Outlet Surf Shop (Manasquan, NJ), and Jersey Devil Surf LLC (Atlantic City, NJ). With two-time reigning Northeast Champion and former National Champions 7th Street Surf Shop absent, it was anyone's game.
Heritage Surf & Sport Margate Take Northeast Championship Title
Each shop competed in two heats with the judges selecting the higher of each team's two heat scores to determine the champion. An interesting change to the usual format, it both gave a second chance to teams that didn't score well in the first heat, but also forced all to surf their best, not once but twice.
When all was said and done, Heritage Surf Shop Margate had not only won the event, ending 7th Street Surf Shops two-year run, but had also made history by being the first team to win with a female team member. While Andrew Gesler's whammy of a 9.77 certainly helped, it was their defensive strategy that earned them a 32.94-point total leading them to victory. Winning the trip to the National Championship in Southern California are team members Zack Humphreys, Ian Bloch, Kevin Morris and Cassidy McClain.
Another Heritage Surf Shop team, Sea Isle City, took the second spot on the podium with good consistent surfing. Their first heat tallied out to 30.83 points with a solid second heat total of 30.61 points. Unfortunately, the efforts of whammy surfer Andrew Gesler, who put up the two best individual scores (9.0 and 9.77), were not enough to seal the deal.
Solid surfing from Jersey Devil Surf shop legends Dean Randazzo and Jacques Beningo helped them snag a third-place finish, and Manasquan local favorites, Inlet Outlet Surf Shop, snagged fourth.
1 - Heritage Margate (32.94)
2 - Heritage Sea Isle City (30.83)
3 - Jersey Devil Surf (22.33)
4 - Inlet Outlet (17.94)
5 - Heritage Ocean City (15.90)