Young South Jersey surfers dominated the Eastern Surf Association Northeast Regional Surfing Championships in Belmar.

Surfing individually and as a team, surfers age 18 and younger from Ocean City, Cape May and Wildwood competed against some of the top surfers in six Northeast districts May 19-20.

While other sporting events were cancelled that weekend, the contest went on in the pouring rain.

“The weather was horrific, but everybody was happy because there was plenty of surf,” ESA South Jersey district director Lisa Roselli said. “There were lots of waves to go around.”

Ocean City’s Stephen Zakroff, Cruz Dinofa and Ethan Dunn, along with Cape May’s Tucker Collins, took first in the ESA All Star Challenge, a team event in which each district’s top scorers faced off against those of the other five districts.

“Our team was very young,” Roselli said. “A lot are so young that over the next few years they will become more dominant.”

Dunn and Dinofa also took first and second, respectively, in the boys and girls under-12 category.

Collins took third in both the boys under-16 and the boys longboard events. Zakroff also placed third in the Junior Men under-18.

South Jersey girls also made the top three, with Sophia Whelan, of Ocean City, placing third in the under-14, and Siena McDermott, also of Ocean City, taking third in junior women’s longboard.

Zakroff, Dinofa and Dunn are team riders for 7th Street Surf shop, and Collins rides for Heritage Surf and Sport. The trophy they won as a team will be displayed at both Ocean City locations.

Roselli has been with the ESA for more than 40 years and said the strong showing from younger surfers is exactly what the sport needs.

“That’s really what we want because it ensures the future of amateur surfing,” she said.

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