Kona Waterman Classic kicks off surf contest season

by Matt Corpening
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lumina News file photo 

Carl Wallin competes in the Master’s division of the Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association’s Longboard Classic on April 14, 2012 at Public Beach Access No. 37.

The 12th Annual Kona Waterman Classic planned for Saturday, May 18 between Birmingham and Oceanic streets (Public Beach Access Nos. 27 and 28) in Wrightsville Beach expects 80 surfers, who vary in age from 15 to more than 70. While the contestants focus on performing in their heats, the nonprofit Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association gives contest proceeds back to its own.

“Our primary function is to provide scholarships for local kids,” said John D. Sideris, WBLA vice president and communications director. Two scholarships will be announced for the 2013-2014 school year. The WBLA also reaches out to families or individuals who are faced with adverse circumstances.

“We’ll make a donation to that family  that is down on their luck or that person who has lost his or her job, just help them out a little bit,” Sideris said. “We provided operating cash for medicine and groceries for three families last year.” 

Four categories of competition can be entered singularly or in some combination. Ambitious amateurs are allowed to surf the pro longboard contest and there will also be a standup paddleboard surfing contest as well as a standup paddleboard ocean race. Entering every event is a prerequisite for eligibility for the 2013 Kona All Waterman of the Year trophy sponsored by Haywood Newkirk IV.

Among those competing are Tony Silvagni, last year’s world longboard champion, and Bradley Rose, a skilled surfer from Carolina Beach. A three-to-five judge panel will score contestants’ waves on a 10-point scale based on major elements such as degree of difficulty, combination of modern and traditional maneuvers, innovative and progressive maneuvers, variety of maneuvers, speed, power and flow. 

Among the other festivities is a raffle with prizes like a  Shawn O’Donnell 9-foot-6-inch East Coast board. Correct answers of surf trivia questions will earn kids free sunglasses. Surf shop tent sales, board shapers and various artisans will make up a portion of the sponsors’ marketplace across from King Neptune’s on North Lumina Avenue.

“People will have a lot of stuff they can do,” Sideris said. “They can go to the beach and when they want to get out of the sun, they can go to the marketplace and do some shopping. It’s all about the kids,” Sideris said. “It’s not stressful. It’s about fun, having bragging rights for the day and everybody has a blast.”

Contestant check-in is at 7:30 a.m. Surfing starts at 8 a.m. Contest rules, age divisions, entry specifics and more can be found at www.wblasurf.org

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