Long Beach would be a likely location for one of those 1960s-era “Beach Blanket Bingo”-type movies right about now.
The beachfront city is serving as surfing central on steroids this month when thousands are expected to descend on the community to participate in or witness two back-to back big events featuring the sport — the World Surf League’s (WSL) New York Longboard Classic being held Sept. 6 through Sept. 12 and the Unsound Surf Pro short board contest following Sept. 12 through Sept. 15.
Exact times and dates for the contests will depend on surf conditions.
“This is the first time since 2011 (the last WSL competition in New York) that we’ve had two events like this,” said Mike Nelson, an Oceanside resident and co-owner of the Unsound Surf shop in Long Beach, which holds the performance-based short board competition. He says at least 2,000 people are expected to attend the Unsound Surf contest alone where the contenders vie for a prize purse of about $5,000.
WHAT DRAWS SURFERS TO LI
The WSL’s Longboard Classic, which will be presented by Empire State Development (ESD) and feature world-class surfers, will be the third stop in a four-event circuit that includes Queensland, Australia and Galicia, Spain, with the championships being held in Taiwan in December. The prize purse there is $30,000 each for the women’s and men’s divisions.
The Longboard Classic events will be covered live at worldsurfleague.com, will promote Long Island internationally as “a world-class family coastal destination,” says ESD head Eric Gertler.
Nelson notes the Unsound Surf competition will largely involve surfers from locations stretching from North Carolina to Maine “but we also see some from California, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.” He adds, “We’ve had them from everywhere over the years.”
RIDING THE WAVES
The youngest surfer expected to be in that competition is 14-year-old Craig Mangio of Massapequa, known as “CJ.” Already a champion, he’s been surfing since he was four years old and says he’s looking forward to the Unsound Surf contest after recently winning northeast regionals in New Jersey as well as the title of East Coast Champion for earning top honors in the East Coast Prime Series for the 2018-19 season.
“My dad and family friends always surfed so I was exposed to the sport since a very young age,” Mangio, says. “Being the youngest surfer can be intimidating but I love to push myself.”
Another competitor in the Longboard Classic, Kristen Brady, 30, a nurse who lives in Montauk, says Long Beach and surfing is perfect together.
“The city really caters to surfers and there is a lot of fun stuff to do,” Brady says. “The timing of the contest is also perfect as it is the peak of hurricane season and there will be no lack of surf.”
World Surf League’s New York Longboard Classic
WHEN Sept. 6-12 (exact dates/times depend on optimum surf conditions) at Riverside Beach, Riverside Boulevard, Long Beach
Unsound Surf Pro short board contest
WHEN Sept. 12-15, Lincoln Boulevard, Long Beach
INFO 516-889-1112, unsoundsurf.com