BENNY B's HOUSE
 
 
 
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BENNY B's HOUSE

  • subtitle: Unofficial Mayor Of Wrightsville Beach Ben Bourgeois Finally Scores A Win At Hometown O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest

Written by  Jeffrey Allen Myers
Thursday, 7/17/14

TURF: 9th Annual O'Neill/ Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest; Oceanic Street; Wrightsville Beach, NC; July 11th-13th, 2014.

ENERGY: A favorite of locals and traveling pro and amateur surfers alike, the O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest somehow seems to come away with Mother Atlantic's blessing every year by lucking into fun and contestable surf — even in the height of our summer surf doldrums, when there is little if any hope in the swell forecast. This event brings together the East Coast surf community in one of the most hospitable environments both day and night. Given that the surf was small this year, the beachfront college town offered onshore delights: heightened male-female interaction, incredibly accommodating restaurants and bars, and friendly locals, all of which make this one of our most beloved and anticipated events of the contest season.

FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: Going into its ninth year, this event is no secret to the surfing masses. The town of Wrightsville Beach is known for its hospitality and very supportive surf community, and traveling surfers paying a visit here all leave WB contemplating a possible residential relocation as this town has an incredible effect on most all who pass through. So basically, there aren’t many first-timers left.

SLIDE: With hometown hero Ben Bourgeois finally not in transit and able to compete in this year’s event, he was obviously the crowd favorite to bring the crown back to his beloved Wrightsville Beach. Usual suspects and perennial finalists Evan Thompson, who won in 2013, Philip Goold, and Aaron Cormican, who won in 2006 and 2009, rounded out the pro final. The unique “no-combo” format had each surfer's one high score determine their fate, rather than the usual top two scores in standard competition ruling.

Sunday morning saw some of the best conditions of the event, but as the tide and wind did their part, the surf went fairly small scale and very inconsistent as the finalists entered the water. Benny B opened his campaign with a 7.1, and near heat’s end, secured his win with a solid 7.2, which was nearly impossible to beat with the diminishing conditions.

THE PAIN: When Benny B opened with the 7.1, the other Pro finalists were probably feeling quite a bit of pain, as their chances for a rebuttal grew slim immediately in the opening minutes of the final. Although each finalist put on very impressive performances throughout the event and even into the final, once he bettered his score with a 7.2, there was no catching the hometown hero.

THE MAN: That’s a silly question, as the unofficial mayor of Wrightsville Beach has always been the man around these parts. A very honorable mention also goes out to Tyler Faulkner, who took down the award for this year’s Most Radical Maneuver with a big frontside air reverse that actually helped him beat Benny B in his heat with one of the highest scores of the event. Other division winners like Bo Raynor, Micha Cantor, Bradley Rose, Emory McClary, and Kat Neff also deserve a big round of applause. 

YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “I missed this event the last two years and made it a priority to be here this summer. I really like this place, and to finish well again makes me love it even more!” –Pro runner-up Philip “Pip” Goold 

"I always look forward to the Sweetwater event. It's kinda like the start of the East Coast contest season, and you get to connect with friends from up and down the coast and catch up on life, the beach, and the people that live here. Their vibes are just awesome! Making the finals is a bonus — and Benny B won, which is even more epic!" –2009 Sweetwater champ and 2014 3rd-place finisher Aaron “Gorkin” Cormican 

“The conditions were tough with the tide and wind not in our favor, so my plan was to try and get a score in the very beginning of the heat as conditions looked to worsen as the final progressed and there weren't a whole lot of opportunities for us. I’m stoked on the win, and thanks again to everyone who made it out to support the event!” –Hometown hero, 9th Annual O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest champion, and humble human being Ben Bourgeois 

FINAL RESULTS OF THE 9th ANNUAL O’NEILL/SWEETWATER PRO-AM SURF FEST: 

PRO SHORTBOARD

1. Ben Bourgeois

2. Phillip Goold

3. Aaron Cormican

4. Evan Thompson

GUY 15+ SHORTBOARD

1. Bo Raynor

2. Shane Burn

3. Michael Romano

4. Tyler Faulkner

GIRLS OPEN SHORTBOARD

1. Emory McClary

2. Laney Brooks

3. Madison Huckabee

4. Grace Muckenfuss

GUYS 14 & UNDER SHORTBOARD

1. Micha Cantor

2. Seth Brown

3. Gabe Morvil

4. Robbie McCormick

GUYS OPEN LONGBOARD

1. Bradley Rose

2. Nick Copenhaver

3. Robert Powers

4. Grey Copenhaver

GIRLS OPEN LONGBOARD

1. Kat Neff

2. Laney Brooks

3. Karson Lewis

4. Hannah Milligan

NIXON MOST RADICAL MANEUVER


Tyler Faulkner

 
 
 
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ESM FIGHT CLUB
ESM COMPETITION ARCHIVES
Access all the past archives of all competition features on EasternSurf.com.