San Juan Capistrano, CA (May 22, 2009) – The sounding of the horn next week at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey marks the highly anticipated kick-off to the 2009 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge fueled by Muscle Milk. This first event promises to launch the series to a new level as last year's Northeast Champions, Heritage Surf & Sport from Sea Isle City, New Jersey, return to defend their title after causing quite a stir last year when they upset Virginia Beach's three-time Northeast Champions WRV.
In 2008, WRV came to New Jersey hungry for their fourth Regional Championship. Fighting to the very end, WRV were unable to pull in the scores they needed to catch Heritage, who rode into the finals stoked off team member Andrew Gesler's double whammy ten—the highest scoring wave of the event. A double whammy gives one pre-determined rider per team, the opportunity to double a single wave score. The catch is the decision in made in the water before the score is announced. It's tricky business, but as Gesler demonstrated, it can mean the difference between qualifying into next round or heading home empty handed.
Ultimately, Heritage came out with the win over WRV, with a score of 52.8 to 50.5. The event uses a "tag-team" format in which only one surfer per team can be in the water at one time. However, all four members of each team must surf within their one-hour heat. Individuals are scored on their best two of three waves and the teams with the highest cumulative score advance by round. As the event draws nearer, competitors and spectators alike are anxious to see if WRV will return in 2009 to attempt to reclaim their title.
Other shops to watch include last year's Northeast Finals' runners up 7th Street and Inlet Outlet. Both teams let their spot in the National Championships and an expenses paid trip Huntington Beach, California slip through their fingers and are back with no intentions of allowing history to repeat itself. Another team to keep on the radar is Unsound Surf Shop. The shop is for surfers, by surfers and they're looking to stake their claim on a year's worth of guaranteed bragging rights. All shop teams are four man crews comprised of two shop employees looking to get out from behind the counter and into the water accompanied by two team riders.
Northeast Teams Expected to Compete:
7th Street Ocean City, NJ
Heritage Surf & Sport from Sea Isle City, NJ
Inlet Outlet Manasquan, NJ
Liquid Dreams Ogunquit, ME
Ocean Hut Larallet, NJ
Primal Surf Brigantine, NJ
Special Sauce Bay Shore, NY
Unsound Long Beach, NY
WRV Virginia Beach, VA
Allowing for the capricious nature of the Atlantic Ocean, contest directors have arranged a three-day waiting period to ensure competitors have the best possible conditions on the day of the event. WaveWatch.com, the official event forecaster, is projecting promising conditions with fun contestable waves during the contest window. The official date of the contest will be announced on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.
There is still substantial uncertainty in the forecast for New Jersey next week. The overall large scale pattern does appear favorable for some small windswell. Most guidance remains in fair agreement keeping high pressure offshore, as well merging low pressure from the Gulf of Mexico and Central Plains as it slides towards the area next week.