Thirty two schools from eight regions will battle it out in games sanctioned by the National Surf League until a champion is crowned. The winner of each region gets invited to attend the national finals in June for the chance to become the best high school surf team in the country. The Red Bull Riders Cup uses “The Game” format for its tournament. The Red Bull Riders Cup is the first step to bringing a new outlook to the sport of surfing through the community and a structure people are familiar with.
VBS TV is currently airing School Of Surf, the story behind the Red Bull Riders Cup. We sat Rob Kelly, former member of the Ocean City High School Team, down and talked to him about what he gained from this unique surf competition experience.
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Episode 1: “Gerr”
Transworld SURF: What was your initial take on the whole game format?
Rob Kelly: It was tough to get used to at first. Such a different contest; we're always used to surfing contests as individuals, but never as teams. So our strategy had to change a bit. But once we figured out that it took teamwork it became an awesome format for a contest.
Episode 2: “The Game”
This past year was your last year in high school. What was your focus going into it?
I went into it thinking we could win. We had already done the competition the year before, so we were familiar with the format. We wanted to take advantage of that and really work hard together as a team to try and win it all. I still think we could've won it if we hadn't had such a bad heat against San Clemente.
Episode 3: “San Clemente”
What have you taken away from this experience in the two years being involved with it?
That teamwork is very important because it's about being part of something that matters more than yourself. It definitely brought us together as a team, even as a community because everywhere we went with it we represented Ocean City. It was also cool because everything wasn't solely on one person's shoulders, everybody has to do their part. And if you have an off day it's easy for you not to get down on yourself because the rest of the team can pick you up. That helped a lot with traveling because it was like our little crew, and that definitely helped with the team for Nationals. And even when you're surfing in heats against your teammates in other competitions, you still wanna see your guys do good.
Episode 4: “Jersey”
Where do you see the Red Bull Rider's Cup going in the future?
I think there's huge potential for it because currently only teams from Florida and New Jersey come from the East Coast. There's so many good surfers from the rest of the East Coast that if they were to get involved it would only up the talent level and progress it even more. Then we'd be positive that we were sending out the East Coast's best qualifiers. It's something that brings people together and can continue to elevate the level of high school surfing.
Episode 5: “Raw Jersey Crew”
Stay tuned for more episodes courtesy VBS.