Surf’s Up!

What: Oak Island Surf Off
When: Friday-Saturday, August 30-31
Where: Ocean Crest Pier
1409 E. Beach Dr., Oak Island
Cost: $25-35 to compete
Free to watch
Info: (910) 470-2048

Oak Island will welcome everyone to the beach on Labor Day weekend for sun, sand and, of course, surfing. The annual Oak Island Surf Off is back for its 10th year and will be a two-day event held at the beach by Ocean Crest Pier (1409 E. Beach Dr.). Surfers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in this competition, while families and the general public are encouraged to come join in the fun by spectating.

The festivities will kick off Friday, August 30th, where surfers will be able to register for their category from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Folks can also purchase T-shirts and posters of the event. In addition, volleyball and cornhole tournaments will take place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

A copy of the poster announcing the 10th Annual Oak Island Surf Off. Courtesy photo

A copy of the poster announcing the 10th Annual Oak Island Surf Off. Courtesy photo

The contest categories include boys and girls “Guppy” (9 and under), and bodyboarding 11 and under and 12 and over. Girls will compete in ages 10 to 12, 13 to 17, and 18+. A girls’ longboard competition will be held for all ages.

The male categories are 10 to 12, 13 to 14, 15 to 17, 18 to 24, 25 to 35, and 36+, while the men’s longboard contest will be broken into 17 and under and 18+.

This year, a new stand-up paddleboard race has been added, too. Registration fees amount to $25 per participant, or $35 after August 30th, as folks can register from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 31st. Spectators merely have to hit the beach for a free day of surf-watching.

With 16 categories competing this year, all eyes will be on the ocean as surfers battle it out on the waves. Awards will go to the top three places in each of the various categories.

Colleen Weathers, organizer and host of the event, set up this annual surf competition with her husband. The couple owned Surfers Restaurant in Southport, and from a chance meeting with Sundek, a global swimwear and gear brand, found their first major sponsor. Sundek has been in business since 1958.

“They wanted to do a surf contest in addition to their company,” Weathers explains. “They agreed to sponsor the first event in 2004. We felt as though there was a void in the surfing community on Oak Island, and we wanted to support that community. Surfing has been a large part of Oak Island for many years.”

Last year saw a good turnout for those who competed and those who came to show their support. This year Weathers has high hopes for more surfers to participate. “We encourage families to come to the beach on Labor Day weekend to enjoy the competition that includes young children to master adults. We do, on occasion, have some former pro surfers participate,” she divulges.

Each participant will receive a goody bag filled with surf-related gear—some of which includes surf wax, an event T-shirt, and lunch—upon registration. The winning contestants will receive a trophy for their premier skills as well.

Proceeds from the surf off benefit different scholarships. “We give away all the money we receive by doing a $1,200 scholarship for a graduating Brunswick County high-school senior,” Weathers explains. “We also do a scholarship for Brunswick County Academy.”

This annual event is solely run by volunteers. The community of Oak Island has shown its support by helping sponsor the surf off with various types of donations. “Some are monetary and some are gift certificates or goody bag donations,” Weather continues. “All of our sponsors are listed on the event T-shirt. This year we will have two T-shirts: one event shirt and a 10-year commemorative T-shirt.”

On Saturday, the surf off will commence after an initial competitor meeting at 8:15 a.m. Before the contest begins, surfers will paddle out into the water to honor young people from Brunswick County who passed away throughout the year.

Lunch will be provided for both the competitors and volunteers. The Confectionary will have a tent selling breakfast items. Ocean Crest Pier and Island Way Restaurant (flip to pages 14-15 to see our editor’s story on the local establishment) are located beside the contest and will be open as well. DJ Key Productions of Southport will provide music during the event. The surf off should end around 3 p.m., and the award ceremony will take place as soon as the competition finishes.

For those interested in competing, an entry form can be found on the Facebook page of the event, titled “Labor Day Surf Off.” For more information, contact (910) 470-2048 or (910) 547-8411.

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