Wednesday July 13th kicked off the seventh annual New York Surf Week in Long Beach, NY and was everything spectators and contributors hoped for. When “New York” is mentioned in a conversation, high rise buildings, infinite yellow cabs, Broadway plays, and the five boroughs are some things that might automatically come to mind. However, there lies a deep-rooted surfing culture along the shores of Long Island, which those communities embrace. New York Surf Week is a celebration of that culture. What began seven years ago during a week in July, Surf Week has grown to become one of the most anticipated five days of the year. With numerous events scheduled through the week, there is something for all ages and genders. This year certainly did not disappoint.
New York Surf Week began with the Vending Village, which sits along the boardwalk between National and Edwards Boulevard. Vendors from all over, including Clif Bar Company, Honest Tea, Vintage Seltzer, Hurley, Skudin Surf, NYSEA, and many more set up tents with product and information along the boardwalk. Local hand crafted jewelry, electric bicycles, and stunning photography were just a few treats the village provided.
Surf4All, a non-profit foundation was created to assist people with disabilities into the ocean and onto a surfboard. Two separate outings were held. The first outing was for the blind and visually impaired and another for The School of Henry Viscardi. The events drew large crowds along the shoreline, while volunteers rode along with the participants grabbing some great rides all the way in. The foundation’s events are truly inspirational to witness. “It shows there are no boundaries in this life,” says co-founder Cliff Skudin.
One of the main attractions of New York Surf Week is the NYSEA Open, a professional surfing contest that is held on any day the director sees fit during the five-day waiting period. This year, the pro contest fell on Thursday July 14th. Despite the small and bumpy surf conditions, competitors from Montauk, Puerto Rico, and as far as California put their skills on display. While in the final heat of the day, a storm rolled in striking the beach much too close for comfort and was immediately put on hold. The contest would resume the following day, where Leif Engstrom of Montauk, New York would take home his fourth NYSEA Open title.
Later that night, Bridgeview Yacht Club in Island Park hosted movie night, open to kids and their families. The night included some short movie edits from Surfer Magazine, the marveled documentary “Fire and Water,” and “Jobless.” With dunk tanks, robotic surfing machines, popcorn makers and Gino’s pizza, there was no shortage of fun activities for the children.
Further, halfway through the week everyone prepared for the biggest party of the year at Pop’s Seafood Shack. The palm trees, white sand, dock entrance, and mini skateboard ramp at center stage made for a picture perfect setting for the NYSEA Summer Blowout party. People from all over the island dressed in their best to attend the 21+ celebration and danced into the morning hours.
While the partygoers were getting a sluggish start the following day, the kids got ready for a surf contest of their own on National Beach. The “grom” contest was held on Saturday July 16, and was greeted by some clean 2-3 foot surf for competitors. With two separate divisions for girls and boys, the heats ran into the early afternoon. Surfer’s families enjoyed the beautiful day with coolers, chairs and umbrellas along the beach. Jack Richards of the boys division Summer Ejnes of the girls took home this year’s first place trophies and prizes.
The week would soon come to a close on Sunday evening, but not before the annual paddle out of George “Geeza” Geiser. Friends and family members joined together on the beach before jumping into the water and joining hands creating a large circle. Being such an avid surfer and waterman, the paddle out celebrates Geeza’s life once a year. After some kind words were spoken, splashes, hoots and hollers filled the air before catching one in to the beach.
Finally, NYSEA’s first annual skate competition at the new skate park in Long Beach, NY was unfortunately this year cancelled due to bad weather conditions but will be rescheduled at some point later this summer. Stay tuned for an official reschedule date coming soon.
Big thank you to the event sponsors, all vendors, staff who volunteered, The City of Long Beach, and NYSEA for making such a week possible for the community members. For results and a short video of the weeks happenings, check below.
- Leif Engstrom
- Jeff Anthony
- Alex Fawess
- Noah Wilson
Boys Grom Division
- Jack Richards
- Owen O’Donnell
- Kyle Caracciolo
- Drew Caracciolo
- Sandon Karinsky
- Aaron Gershkovich
Girls Grom Division
- Summer Ejnes
- Brooke Baldassare
- Keira Bauer
- Tori Price
- Gwen Price
- Elizabeth Kohler