Frozen surfers ride out tourney
Ocean City’s first Frozen Surf Open went off without a hitch Saturday, Feb. 5 as a couple hundred people came out to see the best surfers the Mid-Atlantic could muster wrangle the winter waves for Tsunami victims.
“The vibe was great! I was really happy to see such a great turnout of surfers and spectators to show their support for the Tsunami victims,” said Maryland District of the Eastern Surfing Association Director Art Baltrotsky.
Surfers had less than ideal conditions as they braved powerful northern currents, gusty winds and head high peaks, not to mention the frigid Atlantic Ocean.
Ten-year-old Avery Sieg, who fully recovered from a life-threatening staph infection last year, surfed all the way to the semi-finals to place 10th in the tournament.
“Avery surfed really well in poor conditions, against a ton of great surfers, most of which were twice his age,” said Baltrotsky.
“This was my seventh tournament, but the ocean was much colder than in any other tournament,” said Sieg. “I still had a great time, though.”
Tommy Harris, of Salisbury University, winner of the Maryland ESA’s first tournament of the year, was fortunate enough to win a $200 cash prize and 1,000 points towards the hotly contested regional standings. The top point earners will earn a trip to compete in the Eastern Finals in the Outer Banks, N.C.
“Anyone in the final could’ve won. There wasn’t a great selection of waves, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Harris.
Along with Harris, Ted Smith and Wyatt Harrison, both of Ocean City, placed second and third respectively, and Baltrotsky, of Berlin, Md., nabbed fourth place. Mark Harrell, of Frankford, squeezed in at fifth place, and Randy Jenkins, of Ocean City, picked up 6th.
Harris, a new ESA member, moved up in the surfing world beating some of the Mid-Atlantic’s best surfers with his first ever tournament victory. Smith, Harrison and Baltrotsky all placed in last year’s Eastern Finals at North Carolina.
Harris only began surfing six years ago, but has traveled to some of the world’s most beautiful surf spots to hone his skill. “I’ve surfed in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and North Carolina — but if you can surf in Ocean City, you can surf anywhere,” said Harris.
With the first ever Frozen Surf Open behind the surfers, their attention has been shifted to raising more money for Tsunami victims.
“Raffle tickets for our K-Coast gift card can be bought right up to midnight, Feb. 27 with the winner being announced the next day,” said Baltrotsky.
To make a donation, purchase raffle tickets, check out the highest donations to date, view thousands of contest photos, see the 2005 events schedule, or get more information about the ESA, go to the Maryland Eastern Surfing Association’s Web site at www.MarylandESA.org. Or contact MD ESA Director Art Baltrotsky, P.O. Box 207, Ocean City, MD 21843, call at (410) 641-3329, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.