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New Cape Ann surf competition debuts at Good Harbor

April 8, 2019

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Over 25 surfers hit Good Harbor Beach on Saturday for the first outing of a new Cape Ann surfing competition.

The Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition, spearheaded by UMass Amherst’s Surf Club, featured participants from all over New England duking it out for the highest score.

Each heat consisted of four surfers. They were allowed to ride as many waves as they could for a 10 minute period. Judges shoreside graded the surfer’s top three waves in categories of style, quantity of wave used, and length of ride. The top two surfers in each heat would advance to the next round.

In the end, Colby Kelly, 18, of Gloucester, was named the competition’s first champion. Rhodes Cole, of Rockport, came in second and John Lane, of Yarmouth, Maine, came in third.

“I think this competition is great,” said Kelly early on in the day. “It should be an annual thing.”

Myles Wrinn, a Rockport native, UMass sophomore and Surf Club officer, organized the event along with the club’s six other officers.

“There isn’t any competition like this nearby,” he said. “Most of them are either in Rhode Island or Nantucket.”

Wynn has been surfing since high school. Before enrolling at UMass, he took a semester off to embark on a road trip across the country.

“Competitions in places like California are really expensive,” he said. “Our goal for this was to have something low-cost that everyone can enjoy. We only have a $10 registration fee.”

Planning for the competition began in October of last year. Group members needed to secure city permits for the event, reach out to local organizations for sponsorship and organize their own publicity. A page was launched on UMass’ Minute Fund website, where patrons can donate money to support student causes and events. By the time donations closed on March 30, the Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition had raised $1,218, over $400 their original goal.

Word of the event has spread far. Jake Danzer, 20, one of the surfers that showed up on Saturday, attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He said a chief that works at his station recommended he sign up.

“I did pretty well in my first heat,” he said. “It’s been great, but it’s a little chilly out.”

Gloucester resident Grace Gustaferro, another Surf Club officer, said her goal for the event was to “get the club’s name out there on campus and help foster a local surf community.”

She has been around surfers her whole life, but only started to get into it herself within the last couple of years. Her father, who served as one of the competition’s judges, has been surfing since high school.

“I still need to work on my cross-stepping,” she said after one of her heats.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2FZYjOd

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Information from: Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times, http://www.gloucestertimes.com