OCEAN CITY - Parents and friends of about 130 high school surfers gathered at the 3rd Street beach in winter overcoats and hooded sweatshirts to watch the National Scholastic Surfing Association Northeast Conference Championships on Sunday with temperatures ranging from the 30s to the low 50s.
Ocean City, which entered five teams (A to E), saw its "A" squad win the team championship with 145 points. St. Augustine Prep, in its first season, finished second with 109 points. Ocean City's "B" team placed third with 105.
Middle's Michael Ciaramella, riding an old-school singlefin, won his second straight shortboard championship, while Maddie Peterson, a home-school student from Wildwood who surfs on St. Augustine's team, won the girls competition. Ocean City's Jordan Baker won the longboard competition.
Surfing conjures images of summers in paradise, but the NSSA conference event, which began at 8:15 a.m. and ended in late afternoon, was more proof that the sport is a year-round pursuit.
High school club teams from Ocean City, Middle Township, St. Augustine Prep, Atlantic City, Holy Spirit and Southern Regional competed, along with teams such as Long Beach High School from Nassau County, N.Y., and Manasquan.
Eliminations were held all day, and the finals in three categories - boys longboard, girls, and boys shortboard - started about 4 p.m.
"It feels really great to win it again," said Mark Miedama, who is in his 26th year as the Ocean City coach. "We had less people on the team this year, but we practiced more than other years. Our depth makes us hard to beat.
"Jordan is a real talented longboarder. He walks the nose (of the board) real well, and he walks the board real well. That's old school."
Each team consists of six shortboarders, two girls and one longboarder. The winning O.C. "A" team included Scott Kirkpatrick, Zach Greaser, Jimmy Naplacic, Joey Tuso, Jake Kreiser, Sean Bowman, Abby Lyons and Caroline Bowman. Kreiser was a shortboarder but also the team's longboarder.
Ciaramella liked the waves in the morning, but not as much in the afternoon.
"The waves progressively got worse," said Ciaramella, an 18-year-old senior from Stone Harbor. "I didn't get a second wave in the final until there was 30 seconds left, and that's what won it. I'm excited to win it again."
Peterson, 13, is the only girl on St. Augustine's team, which practices at the South Carolina Avenue beach in Atlantic City.
"It was awesome to win and to make St. Augie proud," Peterson said.
"I think they've done great for the first time out," St. Augustine coach Kevin Morris said of the team. "Our team has kids from Long Beach Island, Brigantine, Wildwood, a lot from Absecon Island and a couple from Ocean City. Most of our 'B' team is new (to surfing), and our 'A' team is accomplished."
Long Beach brought 18 boys and six girls to the event from New York.
"The waves were better here today than in Long Island because of the swell direction," said Rich Rogers, one of the Long Beach coaches. "The waves in Long Island are sideways today and here they're straight in. There's a home-field advantage in surfing. Our kids did pretty well. There's a little different curl time than what we're used to, but it was a lot of fun."
Contact Guy Gargan:
1. Jordan Baker, Ocean City; 2. John Schambach, Manasquan; 3. Herbie Godfrey, Ocean City; 4. Corey Raab, Ocean City; 5. Joncarlo Santos, Manasquan; 6. Matt Kaplan, Long Beach, N.Y.
1. Maddie Peterson, St. Augustine Prep; 2. Cassidy McClain, Atlantic City; 3. Caroline Bowman, Ocean City; 4. Abby Lyons, Ocean City; 5. Calla Aniski, Southern Regional; 6. Mary Ney, Ocean City.
1. Michael Ciaramella, Middle Township; 2. Sean Taylor, St. Augustine Prep; 3. Jimmy Naplacic, Ocean City; 4. Zach Greaser, Ocean City; 5. Doug Brown, Holy Spirit; 6. Scott Kirkpatrick, Ocean City.