Wahine Classic-O'Neill/Sweetwater ProAm-Surfers Healing
Permission granted for redistribution – photo credits required
Wahine Classic wraps at Wrightsville Beach 

Standout performance by Wilmington's Callie Hertz
Callie Hertz of Wilmington, NC – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – The final of three headline surf events in August in Wrightsville Beach ended today. "The girls are all smiles, and their families had a great time," said Jo Pickett, event organizer for the long-running and prestigious Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

"Our contestants came from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia," said Pickett. "We had 62 athletes and 105 event entries." Wahine Classic is always open to lady surfers of all ages. Competitors include teenie-wahines, amateurs, and professionals.

Fifteen-year-old Callie Hertz of Wilmington posted an impressive performance in 2019, winning the titles in Junior Women Shortboard, Girls Under 16 Shortboard, and Junior Women Longboard. Hertz posted second place, with partner Natalie Parker in Tandem Longboard, and was awarded a special presentation from Michael Paul's Surfboard Shaping School, aligned with Hot Wax Surf Shop.

Surf conditions for Wahine Classic were favorable, starting with light waves, Northerly wind, and clear to partly cloudy skies on Saturday. Conditions on Sunday were more challenging as steady Northerly winds gained speed while wave action increased in interval and height. "Waves were quite contestable on Sunday," added Pickett.

Vivian Jordan of Myrtle Beach captured the Open Shortboard title, while Becca Kenney of Wrightsville Beach won the Women Shortboard category. Kylee Heath of Carolina Beach was the top-performer in Girls Under 14 Shortboard.

Samantha Newkirk of Wrightsville Beach earned the Women Longboard title, and Kylee Heath of Carolina Beach was top-of-the-podium for Girls Under 14 Longboard. Nancy Salter of Virginia Beach took top honors in the Standup Paddleboard category.

Over twenty-five sponsors make the Wahine Classic possible, including Marine Warehouse Center and the Crystal South Surf Community. Blockade Runner Beach Resort is host hotel and long-time supporter of the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

"Wahine Classic inspires, motivates, and develops community with the ladies and their families," said Pickett. "Surfing is now in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, with each country represented by female and male surfers.”

Complete list of winners:

Open Shortboard
Vivian Jordan, Myrtle Beach, SC
Krista Grace Hammel, South Carolina
Samantha Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Malia Harrell, Oak Island, NC

Women Shortboard
Becca Kenney, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Samantha Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Vivian Jordan, Myrtle Beach, SC
Michaela Boone, Wilmington, NC

Junior Women Shortboard
Callie Hertz, Wilmington, NC
Malia Harrell, Oak Island, NC
Roxy Chaney, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Alyssa Parker, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Girls Under 16 Shortboard
Callie Hertz, Wilmington, NC
Alyssa Parker, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Lucy Ferguson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Ashton Loring, South Carolina

Girls Under 14 Shortboard
Kylee Heath, Carolina Beach, NC
Krista Grace Hammel, Sunset Beach, SC
Ella Champion, Oak Island, NC
Malia Womble, Wilmington, NC

Women Longboard
Samantha Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Vivian Jordan, Myrtle Beach, SC
Nicole Morrisette, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Nicole Elko, Folly Beach, SC

Junior Women Longboard
Callie Hertz, Wilmington, NC
Lucy Ferguson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Delilah Hutchinson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Ashton Loring, South Carolina

Girls Under 14 Longboard
Kylee Heath, Carolina Beach, NC
Molly Loring, South Carolina
Ella Champion, Oak Island, NC
Brantley, Mapp

Standup Paddleboard
Nancy Salter, Virginia Beach, VA
Sherry Correll, Virginia Beach, NC
Elle Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Kate Lewis, New Bern, NC

Foamy Soft Top
Gracie Kean
Brantley Mapp

Guppies Shortboard
Whitney Gwise
Libby Kate Hammel, Sunset Beach, SC
Bella Faircloth
Ainsley Payne, Folly Beach, SC

Guppies Soft Top
Whitney Gwise
Carson Crandell
Ella Grey Rich
Gabby Grant

Tandem
Alyssa Parker and Samantha Newkirk
Callie Hertz and Natalie Parker
Kylee Heath and Ella Champion
Ashton Loring and Molly Loring
Halladay Stoval and Eva Datillo
Vivian Jordan of Myrtle Beach, SC – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
Contact:

Jo Pickett, Event Organizer
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic

Robert B Butler 

Permission granted for redistribution.

#WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #WahineClassic #SurfersHealing #ONeillSweetwater #ProAmSurfFest #Surfing #PaddleSurf #Shortboard #Longboard #BlockadeRunner #TeenieWahine #JoPickett #BradBeach #JohnPike #Autism #IzzyPaskowitz
#EasternSurfingAssociation
Three prime surf events return to North Carolina in August 2019

O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
August 16-18

Surfers Healing
August 19

Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic
August 24-25 ​​​​​​​
File photo of Daniel Glenn, 2019 Pro Champ, O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Christian Oehmke
Florida surfers dominate pro division at O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am
Carolina girls sweep Open Shortboard & Longboard
File photo of Daniel Glenn, 2019 Pro Champ, O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Christian Oehmke 
Reef team rider Evan Geiselman wins Pro Division runner-up in 2019's O'Neill Sweetwater – Courtesy of Christian Oehmke
2019 Girls Open Longboard winners: Champion: Gabby Viorel, Wilmington, NC; 2nd place: Kylee Heath, Wilmington, NC; 3rd place: Bree Labiak, Conway, SC; 4th place: Bailey Kiser, Mount Pleasant, SC – Photo courtesy of Jack Viorel
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Floridians dominated the winner’s podium in the Professional Division of the 14th annual O’Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest. Daniel Glenn and Evan Geiselman, both of New Smyrna Beach captured the top and runner-up trophies respectively. Robbie McCormick of Flagler Beach, FL, and Josh Burke of Barbados tied for third.

“I think it’s awesome that O’Neill continues to support the East Coast and bring back the Sweetwater each year,” said 25-year-old Geiselman, winner of twelve East Coast Championship titles. “It was a great weekend and a lot of fun.”

Carolina girls dominated the ladies Open Shortboard with Bree Labiak of Conway, SC at the top of the podium. Leah Thompson of Wrightsville Beach was runner-up followed by Wilmington’s Grace Muckenfuss and Katelyn Sewell from Carolina Beach.

“Despite the weather, we had a great event,” said Brad Beach, event manager. “I want to thank all the people of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington for hosting us every year.”

One of the largest surf contests on the East Coast, O’Neill Sweetwater attracted more than 240 professional and amateur athletes from across the United States, Central America, and Barbados.

FINAL RESULTS
2019 O’Neill Sweetwater Pro-AM Surf Fest

Professional Division
1. Daniel Glenn, New Smyrna Beach, FL
2. Evan Geiselman, New Smyrna Beach, FL
3. Robbie McCormick, Flagler Beach, FL and Josh Burke,
    Barbados

Girls Open Shortboard
1. Bree Labiak, Conway, SC
2. Leah Thompson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
3. Grace Muckenfuss, Wilmington, NC (via Charleston, SC)
4. Katelyn Sewell, Carolina Beach, NC

Girls Open Longboard
1. Gabby Viorel, Wilmington, NC
2. Kylee Heath, Wilmington, NC
3. Bree Labiak, Conway, SC
4. Bailey Kiser, Mount Pleasant, SC

Boys 14 & Under Shortboard
1. Charles Oblinger, Wrightsville Beach, NC
2. Blayr Barton, Virginia Beach, VA
3. Tucker Collins, New Jersey
4. Owen Carter, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Guys 15 & Up Shortboard
1. Owen Moss, Wilmington, NC
2. Owen Carter, Wrightsville Beach, NC (serve up bracket)
3. Owen Wrenn, Wilmington, NC
4. Charles Oblinger, Wrightsville Beach, NC (serve up bracket)

Soft Top Open
1. Joel Luteran, St. Augustine, FL
2. Rob Cordero, Wilmington, NC
3. Josh Gans, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Sam Felton, Wilmington, NC

Guys Open Longboard
1. Bradley Rose, Carolina Beach, NC
2. Nolan Isenhour, VA
3. Bryce Jernigan, Surf City, NC
4. Dakota Cottle, Surf City, NC

Surfers Healing, an international organization dedicated to enriching the lives of those with autism, will be in Wrightsville Beach August 19 and 20. The Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic, one of the largest ladies-only surfing events on the East Coast returns this weekend, August 23-25. Blockade Runner Beach Resort is host hotel for Surfers Healing and the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

Itinerary
August 19, 2019: Surfers Healing
8:00 AM: 
Ocean paddle out in memory of Josh Vach and Joshua Ryder, both of Wilmington. 
8:30 AM: 
Prayer circle on the beach
9:00 AM-12 Noon: 
Kids surf / Surfers Healing
12 Noon-1 PM: 
Lunch on the beach
1-4 PM: 
Kids surf / Surfers Healing

August 20, 2019: Military Day
9:30 AM: 
Welcoming remarks by Izzy Paskowitz, founder, and John Pike, North Carolina Director
Prayer Circle and meet the Surfers Healing Team
10:00 AM: 
Surfing
12:00 PM: 
Lunch 
1:00 PM:
More surfing

Itinerary
August 23-25, 2019: Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic
Contact:

Brad Beach, Event Manager
O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
(757) 373-0608

John Pike, Director of Development
Surfers Healing Foundation
(910) 471-7453

Jo Pickett, Event Organizer
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic

Robert B Butler
North Carolina Press Release
Communications | PR

Permission granted for redistribution.

#WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #WahineClassic #SurfersHealing  #ONeillSweetwater #ProAmSurfFest #Surfing #PaddleSurf #Shortboard #Longboard #BlockadeRunner #TeenieWahine #JoPickett #BradBeach #JohnPike #Autism #IzzyPaskowitz #EasternSurfingAssociation #RedBull #Reef

O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest Photo Galleries 
Aug 17-18

Three prime surf events return to North Carolina in August 2019

O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
August 16-18

Surfers Healing
August 19

Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic
August 24-25 
This site contains:
–Event Logos
–2019 press release
–Event Links
–Accommodations Link
–Interviews with event organizers
–Event photos (permission granted for distribution with photo credit)
–2018 Results/Winners
–Press archive
2018 Pro Champ Luke Gordon, Isle of Palms, SC, O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch/O'Neill/Sweetwater
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Three headline surf events return to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina in a span of ten days in August.

First, Aug. 16-18, one of the largest surf contests on the East Coast – the 14th annual O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest. The Surf Fest attracts 200 professionals and amateurs from Florida to Rhode Island, with some of the pros flying in from California, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Hawaii.

“You have so many good athletes that show up, and a different set of circumstances every year as far as waves and the conditions,” said Brad Beach, Event Manager. “I don’t think we’ve had a repeat pro champion in our 13 years.”

“We are super stoked to renew our partnership with Reef … one of the original sponsors of this event,” said Beach. “Reef will partner with Surfrider Foundation to keep the beach clean during Surf Fest. They’re also planning to bring in Evan Geiselman, a team rider and world-class surfer.”

O’Neill/Sweetwater also presents Saturday’s Music and Art Fest in the park, combining local musicians, arts, crafts, and family activities. “It’s one of the best side events of the Festival,” said Beach. Proceeds benefit the nonprofits Hope from Helen and the Surf Club at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

See the O'Neill/Sweetwater professional surfing heat sheets and results on LiveHeats: https://liveheats.com/events/1976?fbclid=IwAR3ltCcQfrBknay8DGkKIVR2PKnpcVW4YbIz8AYiRbRem27hwTwD5i_-1qo
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Next up on Aug. 19th is Surfers Healing, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of those with autism by exposing them to the experience of surfing. Surfers Healing is celebrating twenty-two years of providing camps at no cost to children in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the United States.

Izzy Paskowitz, a professional surfer and father of Isaiah, a child with autism, is the founder of Surfers Healing. When Isaiah was five, Izzy discovered the power of surf therapy for his child, inspiring him to start a camp for children with autism.  

“I wanted to do something to give back,” said Paskowitz, in a recent interview on Boston public radio, WBUR. “I am so grateful for the gift that he’s [Isaiah] given me. I have the most unique life, and I get to share that with thousands of people. I love my autism family.”
2018 Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrapping the trio of surf events Aug. 23-25 is the 7th annual Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic, open to lady surfers of all ages. Competitors include teenie-wahines, amateurs, and professionals.

“There are only a handful of surf competitions on the East Coast for ladies,” said Jo Pickett, Event Organizer. “The Wahine Classic at Wrightsville Beach is recognized as one of the major events. The Classic offers a fun weekend at the beach for the family, and the athletes enjoy the surfing competition and building camaraderie.”

Pickett expects 90 to 100 surfers, with most coming from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.

“Young girls are competing in increasing numbers,” said Pickett. “Surfing is now in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, with each country represented by female and male surfers.”

Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a short walk on the beach to each of these events, is a supporter and host hotel for Surfers Healing and the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

Scroll down for the full interviews with Brad Beach (O'Neill/Sweetwater); Jo Pickett (Wahine Classic); and Izzy Paskowitz (Surfers Healing).

An itinerary update for the O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest: "Due to unexpected scheduling conflicts, the Red Bull Tow At for 2019 has been canceled," said Brad Beach, Event Manager. "However, Red Bull and we are working together to make this happen in 2020 at Wrightsville Beach."

Contact:

Brad Beach, Event Manager
O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
(757) 373-0608

John Pike, Director of Development
Surfers Healing Foundation
(910) 471-7453

Jo Pickett, Event Organizer
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic

Robert B Butler
North Carolina Press Release
Communications | PR

Permission granted for redistribution.

#WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #WahineClassic #SurfersHealing  #ONeillSweetwater #ProAmSurfFest #Surfing #PaddleSurf #Shortboard #Longboard #BlockadeRunner #TeenieWahine #JoPickett #BradBeach #JohnPike #Autism #IzzyPaskowitz #EasternSurfingAssociation #RedBull #Reef
Interviews
Noah Sweitzer, New Smyrna, Fl, O'Neill/Sweetwater 2nd Place Pro, 2018 – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch/O'Neill/Sweetwater
An interview with Brad Beach, Event Manager of the 14th Annual O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest at Wrightsville Beach, NC, August 16, 17 & 18. 

by Robert B Butler, North Carolina Press Release
(This interview may be republished in whole or part without attribution)

Brad what is the Pro-Am Surf Fest all about and what is the big news for 2019?

First, the big news. We are super stoked to renew our partnership with Reef and the Pro-Am Surf Fest. Reef was one of the original sponsors of this event fourteen years ago, so I couldn’t be more excited to have this leader in the footwear market back as a major sponsor. 

Down on the beach, Reef will look to partner up with the Surfrider Foundation to help keep Wrightsville Beach clean during the Surf Fest. They’re also planning to bring in Evan Geiselman, team rider and world class surfer, to the event. 

Back to your first question “What is the Surf Fest...,” O’Neill/Sweetwater is a major surf festival that creates an excellent experience for the people competing as well as the spectators. Our mission is to provide a great experience for all parties involved. The Surf Fest also gives back to the sport of surfing, as we believe it's a super healthy sport and something you can do when you're eight to eighty. Surfing is one of the few sports that you can do the majority of your life, and we've all grown up around it and want to be able to showcase that sport in Wrightsville Beach.

How many people typically attend the surf fest over the three days?

Competitors, I think about 200 give or take 10 or 20, and then spectators, it's so hard to tell but between 500 and 1000 each day, is my guess.

Where do the surfers come from?

All over the East Coast. As far as the amateurs, we get kids from New Jersey and even Rhode Island, and then, of course, Florida, with the vast majority from the Mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

As far as the professionals, you get those same regions, but you get kids from California, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador last year as well and Hawaii. We get quite a reach with the pros.

Including the amateurs, what is the age range of the participants?

In the amateur shortboard, we do 14 and under for the guys and then 15 and over. You could be six, seven years old in the younger division, and then you could be 70 if you wanted to compete in the older division. Then we have a longboard competition for the guys which are open. With the girls, you have two open events; one for women's longboard and another for the shortboard. And, we have the Grom event, which is typically for ages eight and nine. Basically, that covers it all.

Last year, South Carolinians Luke Gordon captured the professional short board category, and Bree Labiak won top honors in the girl's open shortboard. Do you think they'll have a repeat in 2019?

That'll be a tall order in the professional competition. I don't think we've had a repeat by any champ in our 13 years. It is totally possible, but you can ask any athlete, it's hard to win it again. There are so many variables that go into it.

You mentioned last year that many great athletes participate in the Pro-Am and the difficulty in picking who might win the competition. But, who would be on the shortlist of top contenders?

Wow, that's a tough one. Hey, you have guys like Cam Richards, who won it the year before, Ben Bourgeois in Wrightsville, he's always got potential to win it. You have Ian Crane from California, you've got Corey Lopez, from Florida, the list goes on. If the Thompson brothers come back up from Jacksonville, there's always that option. You have guys from Virginia Beach like Lucas Rogers, Philip Gould. Depending on the waves, all those guys have a good chance to win the pro division potentially. I'm sure I'm leaving several people out that haven't come to mind, and that's why it's so hard for someone like Luke Gordon to repeat because you have so many good athletes that show up, and a different set of circumstances every year as far as waves and the conditions.

In the longboard category, Bradley Rose of Carolina Beach, and Callie Summerlin of Roanoke, Virginia, won top honors in 2018. A couple of questions about that. Who do you think the top contenders might be in the longboard competition? And, is interest and participation growing every year in longboard?

Regarding your first question, Rose and Summerlin will certainly have a chance to win again. However, there are some excellent longboarders in this region, so it depends on who shows up. I'm sure there's a handful of people who could give Bradley a run for his money for sure. It blows me away that Callie Summerlin is from Roanoke, Virginia and surfs so well. Roanoke is pretty far inland. But I think there's always good competition in the women's longboard as well and a lot of different people that could win that event.

As far as longboard growing, I'm not sure Robert. Looking at the numbers, I want to say the women's longboard definitely grew. I think men's division was kind of flat from 2017 to 2018.

Are you seeing continued growth in the amateur and professional ranks, with women and girls?

Oh, I think so. I think the retailers are seeing it as well. All the surf shops are seeing the women's side of the business continue to grow. I talk to a lot of retailers, and their business is 50/50 now, men to women, and in some stores, like Wrightsville’s Sweetwater surf shop I think it's probably more like 60/40 or 65/35, women to men. But they've carved out a niche over the years as far as great product offerings.

We see the girl’s participation in the sport continue to grow and would love to see more growth at our 14th Pro-Am, for sure. I would like to see that change faster. There's no reason it can't be closer to 50/50 at a guys and girls event. If we had the turnout and enough interest, we would certainly look to bring in a pro women's division, but you've got to have the people to be able to do that.

Tell us about your key sponsors.

Well, of course, the title sponsors are O'Neill and Sweetwater. Red Bull has been a phenomenal sponsor from day one, they've been with us 14 years. Pacifico is another strong sponsor. We have Oakley Sunglasses, Stance, Nixon, all are industry powerhouses in their own right. We welcome back with open arms Eastern Skate Supply and Reggie Barnes. Reggie is a fixture in the surf industry and in Wrightsville Beach.

Will the music and arts festival return?

Oh absolutely, it's one of the best side events of the entire festival. I see so many families, the kids and the parents in their lounge chairs, enjoying the entertainment, and having such a great time in the park. That's something that we hope to continue every year, and we always try to support the local artists and give them a venue to play for the local community.

Will the UNCW Surf Club be involved?

Yes, they are. The Surf Club is running point on the Music and Arts Festival, and they're out there trying to find sponsors to help pay for the event. If there are event proceeds, it goes to UNCW's Surf Club and Hope from Helen, who is also a part of the event. Hope from Helen has been there since day one.

Is there anything I've overlooked that you would like to talk about?

I want to thank the local community for having us back each year, and hopefully, they'll be able to come down and be a part of the event. We always appreciate that.

Brad, thank you for your time.

Thank you, Robert.
2018 Wahine Classic – Top Pro Shortboard Winners (L-R) Rachel Wilson (Champion); Kat Neff (#4); Callie Summerlin (#5); Leah Thompson (#3); Not shown in photo, runner-up, Leilani Pickett – Courtesy of Ed Potter
An interview with Jo Pickett, Event Organizer
2019 Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic
August 24-25

by Robert B Butler, North Carolina Press Release
(This interview may be republished in whole or part without attribution)

Jo, tell us about the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

There are only a handful of surf competitions on the East Coast for ladies. The Wahine Classic at Wrightsville Beach is recognized as one of the major events, in good company with Jacksonville, Florida, Folly Beach, South Carolina, and Virginia Beach. The Classic offers a fun weekend at the beach for the family, and the athletes enjoy the surfing competition and build camaraderie.

What is the agenda for the weekend?

Friday evening, competitors and their families convene at the South End Surf Shop for a cookout. The girls check in with the welcoming committee, get their event t-shirts, and visit with friends and competitors. Willow Rae will be performing original songs, and Dan Brawley of Cucalorus/Surfalorus will be showing surf film shorts. This event is well attended.

Saturday morning, preliminary elimination rounds begin in eleven divisions. Semifinal rounds progress into Saturday afternoon, along with the tandem event, which is a huge crowd pleaser.

Sunday morning, we hold the remaining semi-finals, the SUP division heats, and the teenie-wahine event, which is very popular with families. Each young girl is assisted by an adult, usually their dad.

What is new for 2019?

We are introducing a new division, soft surfboard competition, divided into two age categories: 12 and under, and 13 and over. Soft surfboards have increased in popularity in the last few years, and this will add another competitive division to the girls’ repertoire.

Soft surfboards are the most common board for beginners, with an increasing number of experienced surfers adopting them as optional equipment. The foam adds stability and buoyancy. Some surfers find the soft surfboard easier to paddle and catch waves.

How many competitors do you expect in 2019?

I expect 90 to 100 as in previous years. The participants change as young surfers join our community, and older surfers depart for various reasons, college, jobs, and marriage. One of our Wahine athletes, 18-year old Leah Thompson from Wrightsville Beach, is now a top model and surfer for Rip Curl, Oakley, and other sponsors.

From where do the competitors come?

Usually, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.

What is the age range of the competitors?

Five years of age and up.

Is longboard competition continuing to grow?

After falling out of fashion for decades, longboarding is really is enjoying a fabulous comeback. Especially in the younger population, longboard competition is trending upward on a global scale. Wahine longboard competition showcases the grace of the female form in the expressions of wave dancing. It’s a beautiful activity to witness from a spectator’s point-of-view.

What about interest in shortboard competition?

Young girls are competing in increasing numbers. Surfing is now in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, with each country represented by female and male surfers.

I understand the winners will receive unique works of art for the awards.

We support the Amani Children's Foundation by purchasing hand-carved awards from Kenyan artists. This foundation has rescued thousands of Kenyan babies since organizing in 1993. Our winners will receive a beautiful collectible item, much more rewarding than a conventional trophy. Last year, finalists were awarded hand carved and painted giraffes. This year, winners will receive beautiful hand-carved gazelles, crafted from jacaranda wood native to Kenya. 

Tell us about the judges.

I use a panel active with the Eastern Surfing Association, Southern North Carolina District.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes. Michael Paul of Hot Wax Surf Shop is contributing his shaping school package to the participants of Wahine Classic. This is a significant gift in which Michael will personally guide the girls through their own surfboard shaping experience. This unique opportunity opens a new surfing dimension for our participants.

I’d also like to share a memorable and heartwarming story from last year’s Wahine Classic. Brad Holland from Surf Tech donated a longboard for our raffle and the lady who won it was Hillary Flowers, the daughter of Skip Flowers, one of the original surfers at Wrightsville Beach. Hillary was visiting from California to be with her dad, Skip, during his final days with cancer. While here, Hillary decided to surf longboard and he came to watch. He also bought the winning raffle ticket for Hillary for the new longboard. During the awards ceremony, Hillary told the crowd that she had surfed the contest on her dad’s longboard. Her dad has now passed away and Hillary has returned to California and her professional career as a cello player.

Thank you for your time, Jo.

Thank you, Robert.
Wahine Classic Trophies, hand-carved by Kenyan artists, supporting the Amani Children's Foundation – Courtesy Jane Stephens
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
An interview with Izzy Paskowitz, Founder
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach
August 19


Courtesy of Surfers Healing
2019 O'Neill Sweetwater Girls Longboard Champion, Gabby Viorel – Courtesy of David Pascua
2019 O'Neill Sweetwater Girls Longboard Champion, Gabby Viorel – Courtesy of David Pascua
Photo Gallery – 2018 Results – Press Archive
Rob Kelly, Pro Champ – 2017 O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
2018–Results
Three banner surf events return to North Carolina in August ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
FINAL RESULTS
2018 O’Neill Sweetwater Pro/AM Surf Fest

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “The O'Neill Sweetwater Pro Am Surf Fest in Wrightsville Beach is always highly anticipated and this year was no exception,” said Brad Beach, event manager and co-founder. “The surf was small but contestable. All surfers and finalists were shredding.” 

PRO
1. Luke Gordon, Isle of Palms, SC
2. Noah Schweizer, New Smyrna, FL
3. Rob Kelly, Ocean City NJ / Cam Richards, Garden City, SC

SOFT TOP OPEN
1. Josh Gans, Wrightsville Beach, NC
2. Rob Cordero, Wilmington, NC
3. Charles Oblinger, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Sam Felton, Wilmington, NC

BOYS 14 & UNDER SHORTBOARD
1. Blayr Barton, Virginia Beach, VA
2. Owen Carter, Wrightsville Beach, NC
3. Josh Gans, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Kendrick Remahl, Carolina Beach, NC

GUYS 15 & UP SHORTBOARD
1. Micha Cantor, Murrells Inlet, SC
2. Sebastian Mendes, San Clemente, CA
3. Owen Carter, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Kanoa Wong, Virginia Beach, VA

GUYS OPEN LONGBOARD
1. Bradley Rose, Carolina Beach, NC
2. Brycen Jernigan, Surf City, NC
3. Dakota Cottle, Surf City, NC
4. Collin Shovlin, Wilmington, NC

GIRLS OPEN SHORTBOARD
1. Bree Labiak, Conway, SC
2. Kailey Bogart, Haleiwa, HI
3. Callie Summerlin, Roanoke, VA
4. Leah Thompson, Wrightsville Beach, NC

GIRLS OPEN LONGBOARD
1. Callie Summerlin, Roanoke, VA
2. Bree Labiak, Conway, SC
3. Samantha Newkirk, Wilmington, NC
4. Leah Thompson, Wrightsville Beach, NC

“We would like to thank everyone that made the weekend possible and everyone that came out to spectate and participate in the weekend’s events. It definitely takes a village. All in all, we had so much fun and hope everyone else did too,” said Beach 
Leah Thompson – 2018 Wahine Classic and O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am surfer – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Results: 2018 Wahine Classic @ Wrightsville Beach, Aug 10-12

Pro Shortboard
1. Rachel Wilson, Virginia Beach, VA
2. Leilani Pickett, Wilmington, NC
3. Leah Thompson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Kat Neff, Carolina Beach, NC
5. Callie Summerlin, Roanoke, VA

Pro Longboard
1. Callie Summerlin, Roanoke, VA
2. Kat Neff, Carolina Beach, NC
3. Leah Thompson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Samantha Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
5. Leilani Pickett, Wilmington, NC

Women's Shortboard
1. Samantha Newkirk, Wilmington, NC
2. Caitlyn Biggs, Wilmington, NC
3. Michaela Boone, Wilmington, NC
4. Rachel Harris, Wilmington, NC

Women's Longboard
1. Nicole Morrisette, Wrightsville Beach, NC
2. Emily Current, Wilmington, NC
3. Hillary Flowers, Wilmington, NC
4. Nicole Nason, Wilmington, NC

Jr. Women Longboard
1. Gabby Viorel, Wilmington, NC
2. Rhiannon Omeara, Emerald Isle, NC
3. Katelyn Sewell, Carolina Beach, NC
4. Alexi Pino, Wilmington, NC

Jr. Women Shortboard
1. Roxy Chaney, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Girls Longboard
1. Camden Hoover, Virginia Beach, VA
2. Ella Champion, Oak Island, NC
3. Kylee Heath, Wilmington, NC
4. Delilah Hutchins, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Standup Paddleboard
1. Nancy Salter, Virginia Beach, VA
2. Elle Newkirk, Wrightsville Beach, NC
3. Sherry Correll, Virginia Beach, VA
4. Camden Hoover, Virginia Beach, VA
5. Kate Lewis, New Bern, NC

Guppies Under 12
1. Camden Hoover, Virginia Beach, VA
2. Kylee Heath, Wilmington, NC
3. Georgie Lewis, New Bern, NC
4. Caroline Mulligan, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Girls Shortboard Under 14
1. Ella Champion, Oak Island, NC
2. Krista Grace Hammel, Surfside Beach, SC
3. Julia Boos, Carolina Beach, NC
4. Annie Mulligan, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Girls Under 16
1. Gabby Viorel, Wilmington, NC
2. Callie Hertz, Wilmington, NC
3. Alyssa Parker, Wilmington, NC
4. Katelyn Sewell, Carolina Beach, NC
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Named one of the “ten best little surf towns in America” by Coastal Living magazine, Wrightsville Beach will host three headline surf events in a span of two-weeks in August 2018.

First on the calendar, Aug. 10-12, is the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic, open to lady surfers of all ages including amateurs, professionals, and teenie wahines. August 2018 marks the 21st consecutive year of Wahine competition at Wrightsville Beach, excluding a hiatus in 2012.

“The atmosphere of the Wahine Classic is friendly and enjoyable, where many girls get their start and their first taste of surfing competition,” said Jo Pickett, event organizer. “Everybody’s happy and laughing. There are a few tears shed and some disappointment, but it’s a very encouraging and nurturing environment.”
Pro Michael Dunphy of Virgina Beach, 2nd place in the 2017 O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
Next on the calendar, Aug. 17-19, the 13th annual O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest takes over the town. The second largest surf contest on the East Coast, Surf Fest attracts 64 of the top international and homegrown pros, plus an estimated two-hundred of the best amateurs. Weekend events include Saturday’s Music and Art Fest, combining local musicians, arts, crafts, and family activities with proceeds benefiting nonprofits Hope From Helen and UNCW’s Surf Club.

“Wrightsville is a great beach community and the Surf Fest Pro-Am is very spectator friendly,” said Brad Beach, event manager and co-founder. “You’ll see professional surfers from all over the world at the top of their game. In the amateur ranks, we tend to get the top surfers on the East Coast, most coming from Florida to New Jersey.”
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrapping the triad of surf-celebrations on Aug. 20, is Surfers Healing, a non-profit organization on a mission to enrich the lives of those living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Surfers Healing is celebrating its 21st season of providing one-day surf camps at no cost to almost 5,000 children in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

“Surfers Healing is a wonderful experience and a perfect therapy for a child with autism,” said John Pike, Director of Development for Surfers Healing Foundation. “Although we work with thousands of children and families, we think in ones. One child, one family, one day at the beach, where we can make a difference and effect change.”

“Our host hotel, Blockade Runner, is an autism-friendly resort accommodating a neuro-diverse demographic,” said Pike. “This is important information to share with our children and families.”

A short walk on the beach to all three events, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, is the host hotel for Surfers Healing and the Wahine Classic.
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Expanded 2018 interview with Jo Pickett, Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic:

“Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic is one of the top three, all-female surf contests on the East Coast,” said Pickett. “Competition is open to all female surfers, professional or amateur, regardless of age. Of course, the male surfers come to watch and support.

“We expect to have about 100 participants, ranging in age from two to sixty-two. Most come from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Sometimes we have some competitors from as far away as New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.

“Contests include shortboard, longboard, standup paddleboard, tandem surfing, and teenie wahine. Tandem surfing and teenie wahine are crowd pleasers with a lot of smiles and laughter.

“A panel of ten highly experienced judges from North Carolina and South Carolina will score the competition.

“I bracket the age groups very tightly. In 22-years of teaching and coaching I’ve targeted the age group of 13 and14 as the break-out age – the time when girls go with it or they redirect. So, I put significant emphasis on that bracket and give them as many opportunities as possible.

“Friday afternoon we all check-in at South End Surf Shop, meet and greet, have a cookout, and movie-night compliments of Cucalorus. Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12, are contest days. Winners will be recognized on Sunday afternoon.

“The competition is structured with fewer people per heat than many other contests. Instead of six people, we have four. Instead of 15-minute heats, we have 20-minutes. More opportunities for success.

“It’s an early morning and we start at 8 on Saturday and Sunday. Competition will last until 2 or 3 PM. So, bring a chair, an umbrella, set up on the beach and enjoy the day.

“In the late 60s and early 70s, surfboards went from 10-feet to five-feet long. Longboard fell out of fashion. In the past five years, longboarding is enjoying a fabulous comeback. While the majority of the girls are still on a shortboard, we are getting close to half and half at the Wahine Classic.

“Longboarding is quite beautiful to watch. Many of the young ladies are proficient on the nose of the board with excellent cross stepping skills. I’m constantly mesmerized.

“We’re very proud of all the girls participating each year in the Wahine Classic. As the young girls become teenagers and move into their 20s, their accomplishments are impressive. Many will keep the ocean an important part of their lives. A few recent examples are:

“Nineteen-year-old Kat Neff, attending the University of North Florida, is on the Dean’s list her freshman year. Kat is a member of the UNF Surf Team; she’s the 2018 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) collegiate champion; and, is currently studying abroad in Spain.

“Another competitor, 17-year old Leah Thompson, now competes as a member of the Rip Curl North American Surf Team, and travels the world modeling for Rip Curl, Oakley, and other sponsors. Leah also created a foundation to benefit orphans in Kenya.

“Airlie Pickett graduated from UNCW in 2017 with a degree in physics. A top-surfer for years at the Wahine Classic, Airlie is now studying underwater waves with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As a Coast Guard boot camp graduate and member of NOAA Corps, she lives on-ship off the San Juan Islands. I’m so proud of my daughter Airlie, and all the young ladies who participate and benefit from the Wahine Classic,” said Jo Pickett.
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Expanded 2018 interview with Brad Beach, O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest:

“Surfing is not just kids,” said Brad Beach. “It’s a lifestyle for people 8 to 80. Just being out in the ocean and with nature. That’s what I think is so cool about our sport.

“There’s an excitement watching or participating in the Pro-Am. Watching the action of surfing but also seeing the carefree lifestyle beachgoers and surfers live and desire. Regardless of where you live, most people want to feel carefree, even if it’s only a couple of hours on a Saturday.

“The Pro-Am is the second largest surf event on the East Coast. The fact that we are the second largest in only 13-years is exciting for us and the community.

“Some of the top professional contenders should include Brett Barley from Cape Hatteras, Ian Crane and Clay Marzo from California, Dylan Goodale from Hawaii, Wrightsville’s Ben Bourgeois and Cam Richards who’s from Myrtle Beach. You’ll have a bunch of guys come up from Florida and any one of them could win given certain conditions. The Thompson brothers from Jacksonville have done consistently well in the Pro-Am. Also, Asher Nolan and many more pros who can take the title.

“We strive to make the Pro-Am Surf Fest a cool experience not just for the competitors, but their families, friends, and spectators. Wrightsville and Wilmington have that southern hospitality that we can all appreciate, with people looking forward to coming back each year.

“I’m seeing more girls and women surfing again and I’d love to see more in the competition. Historically we will have about 18 in shortboard and about eight to twelve in the women’s longboard.

“After the surf competition, the Music and Arts Fest starts at 4 o’clock. It’s family friendly with something everyone can enjoy. We have crafts, artists, kids’ activities, and local musicians. Proceeds benefit the UNCW Surf Club and Hope from Helen, a local charity founded by Tony Butler.

“The objective of the Music and Arts Fest is to bring more awareness to surfing. Surfing is a great lifestyle and wonderful sport. People from eight to eighty can surf.

“To keep up with the Pro-Am Surf Fest competition we’ll have status reports on WBLiveSurf.com,” said Brad Beach Beach.
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron


Contact:

Jo Pickett, Event Organizer
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic

Brad Beach, Event Manager
O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
(757) 373-0608

John Pike, Director of Development
Surfers Healing Foundation
(910) 471-7453

Robert B Butler
Communications | PR
2018 O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro Champ Luke Gordon sprayed by runner-up Noah Sweitzer – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch/O'Neill/Sweetwater
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
Logan Chaucer of the Blue Footed Boobies entertains at the O'Neill Sweetwater Festival in the Park – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch/O'Neill/Sweetwater
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
14 and Under winners 2018 O'Neill/Sweetwater – 1st-place Blayr Barton, Virginia Beach, VA; 2nd Owen Carter, Wrightsville Beach, NC; 3rd Josh Gans, Wrightsville Beach, NC; 4th Kendrick Remahl, Carolina Beach, NC – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch/O'Neill/Sweetwater
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Brad Styron
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Crowds gathering at Wrightsville Beach for the 2018 O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Crowds gathering at Wrightsville Beach for the 2018 O'Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
O'Neill/Sweetwater Autograph signings by Molly Kirk, Ian Crane, and Jake Kelly – Courtesy of Chandler Hatch
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic – Courtesy of Ed Potter
Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy D.J. Struntz
Event Sponsors
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#WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #WahineClassic #SurfersHealing  #ONeillSweetwater #ProAmSurfFest #Surfing #PaddleSurf #Shortboard #Longboard #BlockadeRunner #TeenieWahine #JoPickett #BradBeach #JohnPike #Autism #IzzyPaskowitz #EasternSurfingAssociation #Reef #RedBull
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