Ocean City has a big heart and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than at the Heart of Surfing’s annual surf contest.The event, beginning 9 a.m. on Saturday June 11, includes a division for special needs surfers. Following the all-day event, an after party with raffles and prizes will take place at Gregory’s on Shore Rd. in Somers Point.Heart of Surfing co-founders Bob and Cindy Fertsch knew the positive impact surfing had on their autistic son, Jamie, now 22. And they felt others could benefit from their experiences. The result was their organization, which also teaches skateboarding to children with special needs.“Bob always took our son out with him when he would surf and it gave (Jamie) improved confidence and self-esteem,” Cindy said. “There is a contest in Belmar that includes special needs surfers and it fills up quickly. We thought, ‘why can’t we do something like this?’ ”Why not, indeed.The contest begins with 8 a.m. registration. Entry fee is $30 with all proceeds going to the non-profit Art of Surfing. Divisions will be contested in open long board, open short board, women and groms (12 and under). The event didn’t just happen.“I knew that if I reached out to our surfing community they would be there for us,” said Cindy. “It is a great community of great people. But I didn’t know how great they would prove to be. They were just incredible. It is nice to get recognition, but the event is really made by the volunteers, businesses and the community.”Volunteer Tim Kernan assists 6-year-old Landon Peddicord in catching a wave at last year’s Heart of Surfing Contest. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, June 11Last year’s event raised more than $1,000 to benefit the Heart of Surfing. It included a full competition for area surfers in all divisions, age groups and genders. But unlike conventional contests, it also included a division which attracted more than 15 individuals with special needs. Volunteers and contest competitors aided the special participants. They assisted in helping them stand on the boards, catch waves, and sometimes rode tandem with them.The three major surf shops in town, Heritage, 7th St. Surf Shop and Surfers Supplies also play a major role, donating the use of surfboards, wetsuits and other needed equipment, organizers said.“We need a lot of stuff,” Cindy said. Boards and other equipment. All we have to do is ask and (the surf shops) are there for us.” This year, Cindy Fertsch said she expects as many as 25 special needs surfers and more than 40 volunteers. Organizers also hope to raise the bar and top last year’s fundraising total as well.The contest is run by a local Ocean City-based surfing club, No Passports Needed, or NPN, which also provided some of the volunteers. NPN member Willie Fannon worked the microphone for the contest as emcee, and helped organize it.“This event is a true testament to the surfing community and how it helps others,” he said. “It’s nice to give back. But it’s also nice to see what surfing can do to help people. Before I took part in this contest, I was oblivious to autism and how many families and people are affected by it. Now I see autism from another perspective. Surfing is a sport that changes a person when they get out in the water. That’s one of the great things about this contest.”Fannon said that he hoped to help raise awareness of autism, the Heart of Surfing and to pass the word along to others inside and out of the surfing community.For more information, check out the Heart of Surfing Facebook page.Smiles were on the faces of the volunteers and the participants at the Art of Surfing contest.
Phish just finished up their second annual destination event in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The band filled the weekend with amazing music, playing three tight shows that were a continuation of the focused and driven playing that fans witnessed at their recent in Las Vegas and New York. One of the best moments of the weekend came on Saturday night, when Phish dropped an epic “Mercury” on the crowd at the Barcelo Maya Beach resort.While fans had a mixed reaction to Phish’s 2016 album Big Boat, perhaps the most beloved song written during the recording sessions is “Mercury”. Although the song was eventually left off the album, it showcases an adventurous and aggressive songwriting style that fans have really latched on to. It’s become one of their more reliable vehicles for improvisation as the band has grown more and more comfortable playing the song. Fans in Mexico were lucky to experience another strong version of “Mercury”.Check out the full pro-shot video of “Mercury” from Saturday night in Mexico below.
Troy can see the Blue Ridge Mountains from his apartment beside the interstate in downtown Asheville. But the nine-year-old had never hiked in them until last month.Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine has helped create the Trail Blazers Youth Adventure Club. Children from inner city communities are learning outdoor skills on a series of adventures throughout the summer. Kids from public housing projects learn about the plants and animals while hiking, swimming, and exploring the summits and waterfalls of Southern Appalachia.Currently the Trail Blazers are borrowing an old bus that has seen some miles. However, the Trail Blazers are hoping to raise $4,000 to purchase their own used 15 passenger van. View photos and a short video about the Trail Blazers’ efforts to grow their hiking program here.
The EC JV and Varsity volleyball teams traveled to Southport on Saturday. Both teams faced Tri-West and Indy Lutheran in pool play and then Indy Scecina Memorial in crossover. The JV team came home with the championship, while varsity finished 2nd in pool play and then won the cross over to finish 3rd overall.EC VB vs Lutheran (8-22)EC VB vs Scecina (8-22)EC VB vs Tri West (8-22)It was a great day for us. The loss against Lutheran makes it seem a little less successful than it really was. We fought every point of every match. Both Tri-West and Lutheran were long matches that went point for point and we were pushed to 3 sets in both.Our biggest struggle right now is the mental aspect of volleyball…making good decisions in pressure situations. We lost too many points at the end of a game due to our own mistakes.Ultimately, that’s what lost our match against Lutheran. They were a strong team with a big front row, but we competed with them until there was no other option but to score a point. In those situations, we lacked mental strength.‘Overall, I am very pleased with how the invitational went. We have put a lot of focus on passing and getting the ball to our setters. We could not have passed better than we did Saturday. As a team we only had 4 serve receive errors all day. I am very proud of our back court and hope they continue to live up to the standard they set this weekend.’ Trojans Coach Cassie Laker.Next up- all three levels will face Rushville on Tuesday at EC starting at 6pm. (Note the late start time)