The scent of top notch Jersey pizza swarmed over the dunes with the offshore wind and lingered throughout the competitive arena/circus throughout the entire weekend of this year’s Belmar Pro. Constant reggae boomed while guidos, shoobies, and East Coast surfers alike witnessed New Jersey’s largest professional surf contest.
Though this contest may have been an ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) sanctioned event in years past, this has only been a slight hindrance to it’s continuation, and 2009’s edition of the Belmar Pro came on strong. The 2009 Belmar Pro is part of a new fangled series called The Western Atlantic Pro Surf Series comprising three East Coast events (ECSCs, Belmar Pro, and the Jupiter Fall Classic) where the standings leader at the end will receive an additional $5,000.
In addition to the Men’s, Women’s, and Longboard division, this year the Belmar Pro added the Fins Pro Junior event. This is the only ASP Pro Junior event on the entire East Coast, and though it’s only a grade-1 the East Coast’s top Pro Juniors took advantage of it. Virginia Beach, VA natives Philip Goold and Michael Dunphy squared up in the final against Californians Spencer Regan and Jeff Lucasik. Goold and Dunphy traded off most of the final—they weren’t about to let two West Coasters come in and steal their only event. VB’s Goold found two of the better rights during the high tide mush final and teed off. This undoubtedly gave him the hold of the final and eventually the lone East Coast Pro Junior victory (see below for the full ASP write-up on this).
It was the Men’s event though that had all eyes upon it. Heading into the quarterfinals some of New Jersey’s finest were plugging along strong: Dean Randazzo, Randy Townsend, Sam Hammer, Brendan Buckley, and Zach Humphreys. Of course everyone on the beach was gunning for the Jersey boys.
But by the semis Dean and Sam were the only Garden Staters left standing. And then Jeremy Johnston, Ben Bourgeois, Spencer Regan, and Nils Schweizer made sure no Jersey boy saw the final. Yes, a heartbreaking catastrophe for New Jersians the state over, but Ben Bourgeois had a statement to make, and he made it clear on Sunday.
In his semifinal heat, North Carolina’s Ben Bourgeois put down the biggest heat score of the entire competition, and possibly the highest in the history of the Belmar Pro. His backside attack off the North 16th Avenue jetty was so lightning fast no one even realized what had happened. He racked in an 18.16 heat total (two 9s) and proceeded to paddle South to the next jetty where a mysto hollow right wanted to break but was having a lot of trouble with the tide. It didn’t matter though, because he had already done what he wanted to do.
In the final Benny B headed back to that North jetty that he found so appealing and continued to dominate, though Jeremy Johnston caught on and gave him a little run for the $5,000 prize purse. But Johnston’s forehand couldn’t match Bourgeois’ precisely executed backside killing spree. By the buzzer the New Jersey sky had lost it’s sun and dusk was giving way to night. Ben Bourgeois had channeled his East Coast roots and found himself ‘in the f-king zone‘ all of Sunday. At one point I swore I heard him say to a pestering Michael Dunphy, ‘Not now chief, I’m in the f-king zone.’ I could be mistaken though…—Ryan Brower
Men’s Pro Final
1st Ben Bourgeois
2nd Jeremy Johnston
3rd Spencer Regan
4th Nils Schweizer
For full results and more info, head to BelmarPro.com.
Philip Goold Wins ASP Grade-1 Fins Pro Junior
BELMAR, New Jersey (Sunday, September 13, 2009) – Phillip Goold (Virginia Beach, Virginia), 20, took out the inaugural Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-1 Fins Pro Junior at 16th and Ocean in Belmar, New Jersey today over fellow finalists Spencer Regan (Ventura, CA), 20, who was the runner up, Michael Dunphy (Virginia Beach, VA), 16, and San Clemente native Jeffrey Lukasik (San Clemente, CA), 20, in peaky two-foot surf.
All surfers competing at the only East Coast event on the 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior Series calendar were out to gain the valuable ratings points towards establishing themselves as a top seed on the regional series. The top three surfers at year's end earn their right to battle for the title of ASP World Junior Champion in Narrabeen, Australia each January.
Goold, who was a standout in yesterday's competition, continued his tear on the competition today, advancing through the Quarterfinals and Semifinals before convincingly claiming the Fins Pro Junior Title. The East Coster's solid 13.66 heat total was claimed with impressive surfing on two New Jersey right-handers and his fellow finalists were unable to match his scores.
"The waves were smaller today than yesterday, but I was able to find two good rights that allowed me to do a few turns," Goold said. "Luckily it ended up being enough for the win."
Goold, who is an East Coast native, was thrilled to claim bragging rights at the ASP North America Pro Junior Series' only East Coast event.
"It feels so good to win a contest, I haven't won anything in a long time," Goold said. "To win an East Coast event is great and this is the best result of my professional career. It's the first time I've made an ASP Pro Junior Final, and I'm stoked to have won it."
Goold is hoping the confidence built from today's victory will carry over when he competes in the last event of the 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior season, the ASP Grade-3 Oakley Pro Junior in Santa Cruz, California.
"I'm hoping this will help my confidence going to Santa Cruz," Goold said. "It's a tricky wave to surf, but I've been going there for three years now, so hopefully I can do well."