Surf’s up this August as three renowned surf events return to Wrightsville Beach. Among them, the second-largest surf contest on the East Coast, according to event officials.
The 13th annual O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest is slated for Aug. 17-19. The competition features top professionals and amateurs from around the globe and nearby.
“The fact that we are the second largest in only 13 years is exciting for us and the community,” said event manager and co-founder Brad Beach in a statement. “You’ll see professional surfers from all over the world at the top of their game. In the amateur ranks, we tend to get the top surfers on the East Coast, most coming from Florida to New Jersey.”
In all, the pro-am will bring 64 professional surfers, plus an estimated 200 amateurs to the competition. Like its participants, the event attracts spectators from across the state, country and the world to the local area, according to a news release.
“We strive to make the Pro-Am Surf Fest a cool experience not just for the competitors, but their families, friends, and spectators,” Beach explained in the release. “Wrightsville and Wilmington have that Southern hospitality that we can all appreciate, with people looking forward to coming back each year.”
Local and regional professional surfers in the 2018 competition will include Wrightsville Beach’s Ben Bourgeois and nearby Myrtle Beach’s Cam Richards. The pro prize purse is $20,000.
Prior to the O’Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest is the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic. This year’s event marks the 21st year for the female surf competition at Wrightsville Beach.
Surfers Healing will close out the two-week span of surf-related events. The nonprofit organization provides free one-day surf camps to children in Australia, New Zealand and the United States who are living with autism.
Wrightsville Beach’s Blockade Runner Beach Resort is the host hotel for Surfers Healing and the Wahine Classic.
“Our host hotel, Blockade Runner, is an autism-friendly resort accommodating a neuro-diverse demographic,” said John Pike, director of development for Surfers Healing Foundation, in a statement. “This is important information to share with our children and families.”