By MADDY VITALE
California. Hawaii. Australia. When it comes to surfing, there’s no doubt those are the places surfers want to be. But right in New Jersey there’s some pretty decent waves, too.
And on Oct. 30, the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) South Jersey District Contest will showcase the best around in an all-day event in Sea Isle City.
The contest at the 40th Street beach begins at 7 a.m. and wraps up around 5 p.m. A big turnout of participants is expected, Chad Gallagher, ESA co-director, said in an interview Thursday.
“We usually have about 150 participants. The waves in the forecast are pretty good,” he said. “We are hoping the ocean shows up next weekend for us.”
Surfers from ages 8 to 60 will showcase their abilities at the event.
The annual contest was originally scheduled for this Saturday, but Gallagher said there was “zero to one foot waves.”
“There was not enough for a contest,” he pointed out. “But a lot of times in late October and November, you get the effects of the storms that bring good waves.”
While ESA hosts competitions throughout South Jersey, Gallagher called Sea Isle a “gem” and a “hidden secret,” because of some pretty special waves.
“There have been some epic waves in Sea Isle,” he noted. “Sea Isle has been breaking really good. This is — or was — the secret spot right now.”
Gallagher and his wife, Kristin, live in Ocean City. Kristin grew up in Sea Isle and still has family in the resort. They are the parents of top local surfers Mia and Brynn Gallagher. Both Mia, 15, and Brynn, 13, will be competing in the contest in Sea Isle.
“The girls just love it,” Gallagher said. “The first contest they ever did was in Sea Isle.”
He said there is a lot of talent coming into the contest this year. The October event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the spring 2021 contest gave more than a glimpse at the amazing new talent.
“All of the kids have been consistent throughout the year,” Gallagher said. “They are a lot of people into surfing now and there is a lot of talent.”
Among some young local surfers to look for during the contest are James Carr and Michael Carr, both of Sea Isle, Finn Law, of Upper Township, and Keira Solei, of Long Beach Island.
“I think it is great for the kids to have an opportunity to be outside and just be kids doing what they love,” Gallagher said of the contest. “It is huge for them. You can really see that when you watch from the beach. They just love it.”
Each year more and more surfers sign up for the different ESA events.
“It just keeps growing. It is a real community of families,” Gallagher said. “Everyone helps out.”
For more information or to sign up for the contest go to https://surfesa.org/districts/snj/