In conditions that put even the most experienced surfers and standup paddle boarders to the test in attempting to score big on each wave, Carolina Beach native Tony Silvagni and journeyman Ryan Helm took the top honors at the Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association Longboard Classic and SUP Surfing Pro-Am on Saturday, May 3.
Silvagni, who has competed nearly every year of the WBLA's annual contest, won the Open Longboard Pro division over second place finisher Brad Rose, third place finisher Alek Rockrise and fourth place finisher Mikey Melchiorre.
After competing in the Carolina Cup the weekend before, Ryan Helm won first in the Open SUP Pro divisions over second place finisher Fisher Grant, third place finisher Kieran Grant and fourth place finisher Geovani Perez.
Both Silvagni and Helm said they were happy to finish first in the 1-2 foot sloppy surf and that having experience with the ups and downs of the surfing conditions on the east coast helped. In addition to a hand-carved trophy by Slow Country Designs, each won $2,000.
WBLA president Shawn O'Donnell said the contest was the biggest one yet for the WBLA at 120 registered surfers and standup paddleboarders combined. Changing the contest to only run one day with Sunday forecasted to have smaller surf put stress on all involved, but O'Donnell said the crew succeeded in putting on another successful contest.
Stay tuned for the full article, including coverage of the rest of the Wrightsville Beach Waterman Festival, out in Lumina News on Thursday, May 8.