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Surfrider hosting Diamond State Surf Classic

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Tropical depressions making their way up the Atlantic Coast in early autumn bring predictable, rideable waves to the northside of the Indian River Inlet just south of Dewey Beach.

With the introduction of the inaugural Diamond State Surf Classic in September, October and November, the Surfrider Foundation Delaware Chapter is looking to take advantage of these waves.

John Doerfler, Surfrider chapter president, said there couldn't be a better way to celebrate the ocean, the surfing community, and everything chapter volunteers do than to be out playing in the waves.

"It's the only official designated surf break left in Delaware that still breaks," he said in a June 28 email. "All of the other officially designated surf breaks in Delaware, I believe there were eight total, have all disappeared due to replenishment efforts."

With the tournament window running from Saturday, Sept. 24, to Sunday, Nov. 20, the Diamond State Surf Classic will be held in waves at least chest high. A call will be made to contestants every Monday to recognize the potential for a contestable swell to hit Delaware. The tournament will be called on Friday of that weekend for the contest to be held on Saturday or Sunday - the best day for contestable waves.

The East Coast doesn't typically get to host major surf tournaments due to the finicky weather, but this format results in prime conditions for the surfers, said Doerfler.

"We wanted to mimic the optimal conditions of Big Wave Surfing Contests, which give participants a window of opportunity that the contest will take place in," he said. "After that, they wait for Mother Nature to determine the time."

Doerfler estimated the northside of the inlet averages chest-high waves once every two weeks, but, he said, most people don't see them because they're at work.

"If you ever wonder why the contractor isn't working on your house or someone is sporadically sick in the office, it's either because the waves are firing or the fish are biting," he said.

Doerfler said competitors can expect a fun, predictable wave that will be forgiving to a novice and still offer enough playability for a pro to showcase what they can do.

"I, as well as a lot of Delawareans, learned to surf on that wave," he said. "It's a beautiful break, that's consistent."

Doerfler said Surfrider decided to host the event to bring some fun back to the chapter. Volunteers spend so much time behind the scenes answering emails, phone calls, and participating in education events, he said, it's fitting to bring some fun back.

The northside of the inlet holds a bit of sentimental value too. It's the first replenishment project where Surfrider worked with the state to protect coastal recreation as part of the replenishment plan, said Doerfler.

In the end, said Doerfler, the Diamond State Surf Classic will be all about fun.

"We're a grassroots organization composed of beach lovers, wave warriors and surfers," he said. "Let's let our salty hair down and learn to have fun with our community, neighbors, and fellow beach enthusiasts again. Surf's up!"

For a complete set of rules, registration information, sponsorship opportunities, go to

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Original Publication Date: July 8, 2016

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