Ocean City, New Jersey – (May 11, 2009) –The New Jersey Regional Championships, the sixth stop of the 2009 Red Bull Riders Cup season, took place this week in a cold tail end of the East Coast winter in Ocean City, New Jersey. This stop of the Red Bull Riders Cup, the nation’s premier high school surfing competition, saw New Jerseys best high school surfers paddle out in mostly cold and difficult conditions. Participating high schools included Ocean City High School, Southern Regional High, Manasquan High, Point Pleasant High and Middle Township High.
With Ocean City and Middle Township having comfortable wins during the week in their qualifying games, the stage was set for one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season.
Both teams really wanted that trip out west for the finals and emotions ran high. Last years champions Ocean City managed to clinch it in the final period to get the win and will be back at the Red Bull Riders Cup National Championship, which will be held on June 6-7 at Upper Trestles in San Clemente. For its seventh regional stop, the series now moves back east to north Florida on April 21-23.
With senior Chris Eaves back in the team and sophomore surprise Mikey Ciaramella posting high scores with an MVP performance, Middle Township posted the highest semifinal game score of 57.5 against Manasquan High. This put the pressure on defending champions Ocean City and had the whole boardwalk expecting the closest match-up the New Jersey region had ever seen.
From the start of the first period expectations were delivered on, even the weather cleared just as Middle Township won the toss and decided to surf first.
As the fog cleared to show sunny, clean chest to head high conditions, it was Mikey Ciaramella who drew first blood posting a 6.2 to start off the game. By the time the top of the first period was over, it was Mikey and Chris Eaves helping Middle Township to a respectable total of 18.5
Ocean City’s first exchange of waves was comparable to their rivals, but their second exchange lead by Chris Kelly with an 8.2 was to prove the difference. With the whole team posting good scores Ocean City left the water and the first period up by 4 points.
Middle Township paddled out into their second period knowing they had to play catch-up and get the whole team on solid waves. Unfortunately for them the pressure was getting to them and only Ciaramella managed to get anything over a 5 posting a 6.5 late in the period.
Ocean City however failed to close the door in the second period also only managing to get one surfer on a wave scoring over 5. It would be Chris Kelly carrying the load for Ocean City posting a 6.3.
This bought the game down to the third and final period with Middle Township needing something special and Mikey Ciaramella delivered. With 5 minutes and 30 seconds left in the period he posted a week high wave score of 9.0 and with Chris Eaves posting a 6.9, this shot up their total and put the pressure firmly back onto to Ocean City.
The game was now in the home teams’ hands, they needed solid scores from all their surfers and with three time outs remaining, the game was theirs to loose. With experience and depth on their side, it would be those two things that proved the difference as Ocean City managed to answer the challenge and get what they needed with 4mins to spare.
As the final wave was ridden in, the big home town crowd cheered their boys in from the water amid a shower of Red Bull and praise.
A very relieved coach Matt Keenan had this to say. “I’m really proud of the guys, this was a full blue collar team effort. They made it a real emotional win for the town.”
With last years MVP and now graduate Rob Kelly taking on water coach duties for Ocean City, MVP honors went to his brother Chris, who took on the role as team leader exceptionally well posting high scores all week. “The pressure was on from the very beginning, this was one team that had an even chance of taking it. Senior year, last contest, we all really wanted it.”
It’s now onto California again for New Jersey’s best, to see if they can bring the Red Bull Riders Cup to the east coast for the first time at the National Championships on June 6-7.
Mar 16-19 Santa Cruz Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz
Mar 24-26 Golden State Seaside Park (Surfers Point) Ventura
Mar 31-Apr 2 Central FL Pelican Beach Park
Apr 15-16 South Bay El Porto 45th St. Manhattan Beach
Apr 21-23 North FL New Smyrna/Ponce Inlet
May 4-9 New Jersey 3rd-9th street, Ocean City
May 19-21 Orange County Huntington Beach Pier
May 26-28 San Diego Seaside Reef
June 6-7 Championship Upper Trestles
The National Surf League and Red Bull have partnered to help bring the sport of surfing to a new and exciting level. “The NSL and Red Bull are both companies that are passionate about innovation and bringing out the best performance in surfing. I am very excited to see how we will grow and create a more entertaining and easier way to watch the sport,” says NSL founder Brad Gerlach.
The NSL is a revolutionary competitive surfing organization established in 2001 by legendary pro surfer, Brad Gerlach. The NSL is dedicated to the pursuit of surfing excellence, building awareness for the sport of surfing while creating a fun competitive landscape for all types of surfers.
The Game Explained
Modeled after team sports such as Basketball, Football, and Baseball – The Game turns an individual sport like surfing into fan-friendly team sport
• Two teams against each other
• One team in the water at a time
• 3 Periods, Timeouts, Coaches, Referees
• Real Surfing
• Game time: under two hours
• A scoreboard, continuous commentary, and scoring updates so the crowd and television audience can easily follow the results
To follow Red Bull Riders Cup go to redbullsurfing/riderscup.com.
New Jersey game #4
Regional Finals P1 P2 P3 Final
Middle Township High School 18.5 17.8 22.3 58.6
Ocean City High School 22.5 18.1 20.2 60.8
Most Valuable Player – Chris Kelly (OC)
Most Radical Maneuver – Mikey Ciaramella (MT) – Huge Air Reverse