Long Beach, Long Island, NY (September 5, 2011) — The Long Beach surfing community has never experienced an opening ceremony for an international professional surfing tournament, so a huge crowd turned out today to witness first hand what the $1million Quiksilver Pro New York presented by vitaminwater is all about.
Between the beach site, the flanking boardwalk and surrounding highrises, more than 40,000 watched on as Quiksilver’s Hawaiian ambassadors Mel Pu’u and Titus Kinimaka joined the world’s best surfers to share in the global surfing spirit.
A traditional 6-man Hawaiian canoe draped in flowers was the focal point as Pu’u explained that in order to set a canoe into motion, it takes the cohesive efforts of all aboard. And that has been the saving grace of the Quiksilver Pro New York. Despite a direct hit from a hurricane and a seemingly impossible cleanup and rebuild, the event is alive and well because of the synergy that developed between local surfers, the Long Beach City community, the ASP World Tour and the global Quiksilver family.
Local wildcard Balaram Stack, who turned 20 today, received an enormous ovation when he was presented to the crowd. Stack will face the world champ Kelly Slater straight off the bat.
Slater spoke enthusiastically today about being on the East Coast to surf: “I like being on the East Coast, I sort of feel like I’m home. Even today on the beach the crowd just seemed so into it and there’s nothing going on yet. Everyone’s just cheering it on and I think there’ll be an impressive crowd when Balaram paddles out because he got a pretty big welcome on the beach today. I’ve never surfed a world tour contest since I’ve been a pro on the East Coast.”
With a solid Surfline forecast in hand, organizers anticipate an 8am start tomorrow with competition running four consecutive days to a Friday climax, when waves are expected to peak at eight feet.