After more than a few months since our first contest, Volusia County started accepting permits for surf contests again. During the Covid break in our contest season, there were many emails that went back and forth with Volusia County Beach Safety and our directors. Volusia County Council people got involved, which helped get permits approved with a Covid plan. This Covid plan was required to be followed during the surf contest.
In the week and a half leading up to Contest # 2 at NSB Inlet, the winds and surf were relentless. Rising surf and blowing winds are the norm for our fall and winter months. Tides were super high and only allowed vehicle traffic for short periods during the day. A venue change was needed, NSB Inlet would not be the ideal location with the conditions that we faced. The call was made to hold the contest on day 2 of the holding at Bethune Beach, in New Smyrna.
Bethune has all the amenities that are needed for a contest, a raised area for the contest tents, restrooms, and plenty of parking. With the winds backing off considerably and even blowing offshores at times, the surf was a fun 3 to 5’ and improved as the tide filled in. The rain was the biggest issue of the day. At times, we all had to hold the tents down as the quick-moving rain squalls made a mess of the contest site. Thankfully, those rain squalls were short-lived.
As the tide filled in, many of the contestants surfed their heat on the inside. This provided judges and spectators with a remarkably close view of the contest arena. During the first part of the contest, many of the competitors made the long paddle to surf the outside and catch the set waves. This proved to be a questionable strategy as some of the contestants surfed the inside and caught more waves.
In the end, despite the rain and changing venues, we had a surprisingly good contest. In the upcoming weeks, Contest #3 will be held at Ponce. Hopefully, the weather plays nice and we look forward to seeing everyone again.
As of now, 20 days after the contest, none of the athletes have shown COVID-19 symptoms.
If swell shows up, the last contest of the year will be held at Ponce Inlet on 12/12 and 12/13.
written by Jason Eastwood
ESA Standard Point Matrix for 2020 Season – 2021 Championships
Event 1 was held in New Smyrna Beach and Event 2 was held in Bethune Beach.