MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The weekend’s wet and foggy weather broke just in time for the Water Brothers Pro 2018 surf contest to take over Second Beach on Sunday.
And the event brought some serious competition with a total of $5,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Rob Kelley, a pro surfer from Ocean City New Jersey returned to the contest as the defending champion in 2016’s debut event. At the end of the day however, Kelly, and three other finalists were defeated by a new champion–Lucas Rogers, a professional surfer from Virginia who rides for Billabong.
Rogers surfing style is very progressive and judges aside, the local crowd seemed to especially enjoy Rogers’ performance in the surf heats against world-class competitors.
“It was evident early on that Rogers came prepared to challenge Kelly for his crown,” said local surfer and all-day spectator of the contest, Craig Borden.
“Although Everhart and Kai surfed strong all day, none of the other competitors were generating the power and speed that Rogers and Kelly displayed in the conditions,” Borden continued.
The local contest is organized by Sid Abruzzi in memory of his friend Ryan Roberts, a surfer who made a positive and lasting impact on the surf community.
It was launched in 2016, but last October’s event had to be canceled due to a lack of waves. This year Abbruzi partnered with the town for more flexibility, and a window of dates between May 12-25 to hold the contest.
On Thursday, Abruzzi made the call, announcing on the Water Brothers official Facebook page to hold the competition Sunday.
The event benefits several charitable causes. Clean Ocean Access returned again this year, and has pledged to donate 90 percent of funds collected onsite to go directly to hurricane relief efforts.
“Today was a great, all-inclusive family-friendly community event that not only promotes a great sport, but awareness and respect for the beauty of our beaches and ocean,” Borden summarized as he and his young daughter and friends watched the event while sipping on Dell’s Lemonade.
PHOTO GALLERY: WATER BROTHERS PRO 2018