After an uncooperative ocean forced a postponement of the 11th Annual Unsound Pro surf contest presented by Oakley on Friday, Sunday's improved conditions allowed for a full day of heats and some excellent surfing at Lincoln Ave. This year, Unsound Surf Shop kept the field small by only inviting top talent.
On Saturday, several of the East Coast's best log riders minced the one-foot waves in the Longboard Pro. The final came down to John Anguilo, Mike DeTemple, Ty Roach, and Alex Fawess. DeTemple, a native of Babylon, NY, linked together a variety of traditional longboard maneuvers to edge out North Carolina's Ty Roach and take the win. Of the women who fought their way through the tiny surf, Montauk's Alexis Engstrom emerged victorious.
Saturday also offered up a special opportunity for the youngest surfers in Long Beach, as the event gave seven local kids under the age of 12 one heat to show their stuff in front of friends, parents, and the professional surfers in attendance. John Griefenberger emerged the victor, pocketing $100.
In the Red Bull Tow-At, an event where surfers tow off the back of a jet ski for speed enhancement, Virginia Beach's Lucas Rogers won $500 for the best single trick, a huge backside air reverse.
The waves picked up considerably for Sunday with sets up to chest-high as even the relentless rain couldn't slow this event. The crowd showed a tremendous amount of support for 18-years-old Unsound Shop Rider and Long Beach local Balaram Stack, who blazed through several rounds of the Pro event and made the finals of the Pro Junior with his trademark frontside hits and butter-smooth reverses.
New Jersey surfers were responsible for much of the best surfing. Somers Points Dean Randazzo, a former Association of Surfing Professional World Championship Tour competitor, two-time X Games gold medalist, and cancer survivor, relied on his powerful repertoire and made the semifinal. 2007 Unsound Champ, Sam Hammer saw another trip to the final and Margate's Zach Humphreys' solid turns on both his forehand and backhand got him to the Junior final and the Pro semi.
But it was a newcomer who turned the most heads. Belmar's Brendan Buckley, know for his progressive aerial surfing, maintained more traditional tactics en route to both the Junior and Pro final.
By the afternoon, the rising tide pushed in sets up to shoulder-high. The wind remained light, creating very good conditions that peaked in the later rounds. The Junior Pro went to Michael Dunphy of Virginia Beach. Dunphy collected an 8.0 in the middle of the heat and went to work on a series of hits shortly before the final horn for a backup 7.6 (15.60 total) to edge out Humphreys, (13.6) Buckley (11.13) and Stack (10.13.)
The overall winner of the Pro, for the second time in a row was Jeremy Johnston of New Smyrna, Florida. All day, Johnston found the best waves, surfed the fastest, got off the most impressive turns and landed amazing airs. Johnston posted a 9.7 in the quarterfinals.
"It's just good to be up here," said Johnston, who collected $2,500 for his efforts, "I'm really starting to enjoy being here every year. I got to hang out in the city and do some sight seeing. This is just a bonus."
In the final, Johnston posted a 7.83 and a solid 9 for a 16.83 heat total. He was followed by Buckley, (15.5) Sam Hammer of New Jersey, (13.83) and Phillip Goold of Virginia Beach (9.43.)
Unsound Surf Shop is New York's premier surf shop. Owned and operated by world renowned surf photographer Mike Nelson and top New York surfer, Dave Juan, since the mid-90s, it continues to supply gear to the core surf market and foster the growing surf talent in Long Beach. The Unsound Pro has become a September tradition, one that locals look forward to each fall.
Unsound Pro presented by Oakley
1. Jeremy Johnston $2500
2. Brendan Buckley $1,100
3. Sam Hammer $800
4. Phillip Goold $600
Skullcandy Junior Pro
1. Michael Dunphy $2,000
2. Zach Humphreys $1,000
3. Brendan Buckley $600
4. Balaram Stack $400
Red Bull Tow At (Best trick)
1. Lucas Rogers $500
1. Alexis Engstrom $400
2. Matisse Patterson $300
3. Carly Capelluzo $200
4. Dana Palmieri $100
1. Mike DeTemple $500
2. Ty Roach $300
3. Alex Fawess $200
4. John Anguilo $100
1. John Griefenberger $100
2. Austin Gibbons
3. Mikey Nelson, Sean Dublynn, Daniel Hughes
4. Noah Wilson, Shannon Hughes