ASP World Tour coming to New York
After several months with an unnamed East Coast event on the Association of Surfing Professionals' World Tour schedule, it was announced today that the Quiksilver Pro New York is coming to Long Beach, N.Y., from Sept. 4 to 15.
The event will bring surfing to New York City, which has a population of 8.3 million. Long Beach is on Long Island, some 29 miles from downtown Manhattan and a mere 10 stops from Penn Station on the Long Island Railroad Express. Long Island has always had a considerable surf scene, and in the past decade, a serious surf culture has blossomed in the city itself.
There are 11 tour stops for 2011. Quiksilver is the title sponsor of the Gold Coast (Australia) and France events. This publicly traded company has a flagship store in Times Square, and has sponsored 10-time ASP World Champ Kelly Slater for over 20 years. While Slater has been noncommittal about competing this season, he is excited about the New York event.
"When I was young, I remember some great waves on Long Island with my brother Sean and our friends," said Slater. "This event itself will be unique and kind of an unknown for us. Bringing the ASP Tour to New York will be fun 'cause there's a big surf culture there already and some great surf shops."
Quiksilver also announced today that it will put up a $1 million prize purse, the largest ever in ASP history.
With the sport's roots and industry on the West Coast, much of the surf world is skeptical of the East Coast's wave consistency. While New York beach breaks can offer punchy overhead waves, they are also susceptible to long periods of flatness. Long Island has seen one rideable day of waves since December, with polar air masses and offshore winds crushing any chance of swell development. However, this is an extreme winter on the East Coast.
September is a coveted time of year in the East. Not only are water temperatures near 70, but facing directly south, Long Beach is in perfect position for the kind of Cape Verde hurricanes that form off Africa and spin toward North America. The Atlantic hurricane season peaks on Sept. 10, with an average of 3.4 hurricanes throughout the month. Considering a World Tour event can run in three days, odds favor some kind of tropical swell. Surfline's Sean Collins has done the research to back it up.
Long Beach has been the site of the Unsound Pro for each of the past 12 years in September. At one time it was a sanctioned ASP event on the old World Qualifying Series, but has been independent for the past six years. Last year, Nike ran a Grade 4 ASP Pro Junior that put Long Beach in the spotlight. Unsound is the premiere surf shop in Long Beach.
This year, the Quiksilver Pro Trials will be presented by Unsound Surf on Sept. 3.
"It's going to be the best thing ever for New York surfing," said Unsound co-owner Mike Nelson, also a top East Coast photographer. "It's going to benefit all levels of surfing. It could open up doorways and access for a lot of people."
Being in New York obviously opens a world of possibility for off-the-beach fun, and Quik is ready to take advantage of the Big Apple. Not including Hawaii, there has been only one tour stop in the U.S. since the 1980s. And while the Hurley Lowers Pro at Trestles isn't going anywhere, the number of events on the tour is back up to 11, where it was in 2009. While it was announced this morning that this is the "first-ever ASP World Title Race stop on the East Coast of the United States," actually Rob Bain won the Garden State Pro as part of the ASP Tour in 1988 and John Shimooka won the Aloe Up Cup in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in '89. Back then the tour was 25 events.
"We are beyond excited to host the biggest pro surf event in the world this September in New York," said Bob McKnight, CEO of Quiksilver. "There has always been a huge contingent of dedicated surfers and surf enthusiasts on the East Coast and they will now get a chance to watch the world's best surfers in Long Beach. We are also bringing the best and brightest Quiksilver, Roxy and DC athletes to New York City, the largest media arena in the world, for 12 days of surf, skate, BMX, fashion, art and music that will bring incredible global attention to these phenomenal athletes and the action sports culture and lifestyle."