Reef Warriors Rock Wave Jam (recap)

Casey’s Blog:

What a memorable 2015 Hatteras Wave jam!   With 4 Local (Lake Erie) Reef Warriors signing up to compete and take on the very best. We were all on a mission to prove that Reef Warriors rock and will leave no wave un-ridden.

Cam put on one awesome show, even though he is still relatively new to the wind surfing sport (just recently learning to a ride a short board and gybing some). After getting pounded in the Hatteras shore break multiple times, he finally made it out on his longboard.  Using all his Big Wave experience from Da reef, he literally rode the 2 biggest waves of the day, drawing the biggest cheers from the crowd.  Normally he would have scored enough to move on to the next heat, but since he was riding a longboard/Sup the scoring system is less for that. As a result he didn’t get enough points to move on to the next round.  (Tied 17th Amateur/open division)

Sandro entered the always tough masters division. During any contest you need a lot of “luck” to do well and, unfortunately for Sandro, he had no luck. His first heat he made it passed the shore break and scored some nice wave rides and was doing awesome, then the judges abruptly cancelled it mid heat, due to lack of wind/waves???? I didn’t understand that call!  The next day when it was time for his heats, the wind and waves shut down at that particular moment, leaving him getting beat up in the shore break, unable to find any good scoring waves. It was just horrible timing of nature, and zero luck ended his day too early.  As always Sandro keeps on smiling and was more stoked then ever for the experience. His wide grin even scored him a cameo in the AWT event recap video. True Reef Warrior stoke! (Tied 9th Masters division).

Dave was on a mission to kick some wave butt. Since getting some new awesome boards and sails (Goya quads/Severne sails), and the birth of his son Levi (most awesome name ever), Dave’s confidence and shredding ability has improved steadily.  It was really showing on the water as he was catching great waves and attacking the Lip hard. He made it all the way to round 3, where he faced off with (Local Legend/Pro), Donnie Bowers and super (Maui Kid/Pro) Jake schettewi. Despite catching some good waves and rides he just couldn’t pull off the upset. Overall Dave achieved a very impressive showing for just his first contest, and in a division stacked with half pros. (Tied 9th Amateur/open division).

Casey (Myself) What a week! Once again Cape Hatteras provided me with one of the most memorable weeks of my life, second only to the week I got married there to my awesome wife Amanda of course! Hatteras is so special to me just like Da Reef! Both are the ultimate water playgrounds. Again to do well in competition you need tons of luck and wow I was one lucky person! The waves were finding me again and again all week. That’s the hardest part of the whole competition, finding the wave and catching it. Once you’re on the wave it’s just up to your ability. Plus I swear I could feel all the Energy from the Reef Warriors just pushing me along, especially in the “Final” amateur heat. With about 5 min left to go in the heat my gas tank hit zero. I was so tired I barely could stand on the board and I was literally about to give up and just float in the water from exhaustion. Then I thought to myself, “Reef Warriors don’t give up”.  At that point I swear it was like somebody gave me an Adrenalin shot (or kick) in the butt.  I hit a few more tacks and found a sweet wave to ride right under the gun earning enough points to bring home the coveted “Amateur/Open” title back to Da Reef! Just so Stoked. (1st Amateur/open division)

When I heard I received a “wildcard” to the Pro division. I was not really that excited about it for two reasons: One, those guys are freakin insane good, (Best in the world) they are going to kick my ass with their hands tied behind their backs. Second, they usually send the pros out in some stupid gnarly conditions which are not that friendly.  One of the things I have been preaching my whole life is you have to “at least give it try” even if you know you’re going to get your butt kicked.  So I followed what I preach. Lots of the luck again ensued and the conditions at the lighthouse were just like every day at Da Reef so I was able to excel even though it was port tack wave sailing. I was able to pick out some good waves and stay out of trouble for all the heats. After every heat I sailed in downwind and my awesome “Reef Warrior entourage” said I was moving on to the next heat. I couldn’t believe it! And yes, I was the only Pro there who had a “entourage”: A board caddie, a sail caddie and a Rum caddie. You should of seen the look on the faces of the other pros when I walked by them with my entourage after every heat.  Priceless!

When they announced that I made it to the finals it completely caught me off guard. They made the final heat a 20min heat and added a jump to the scoring. I knew I was definitely screwed then. I have never done a major port jump in my life. At that point I decided to just relax and “take in” the moment. It was so cool to be out there sailing with 3 of the world’s best wave sailors in a “final” with the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in the background and with some absolutely awesome sun/cloud scenery. I found a couple of nice waves to ride but couldn’t find a nice ramp that I felt comfortable with to hit so I didn’t end up with any jumping points. Without that I didn’t stand a chance to move past the other 3 pros, so I ended up in 4th Pros/division. Not bad for a farm kid from Buffalo N.Y. who sails on a lake and works 50hrs at a factory every week. Just goes to show ya “you always have to at least give it a try” anything is possible.

That’s a lot of stoke!
Dave Z. crushing the Lip
Sandro setting up for a down the line ride.
Cam Snaking the big waves.
Moondoggie (Casey) doing what he does best, Ride waves!




7 thoughts on “Reef Warriors Rock Wave Jam (recap)”

  1. We keep schooling them at Wave Jam and we’ll be seeing the pros at da reef……………..nice work? boys, couldn’t have had a better team of ambassadors to represent in Hatteras.

  2. Great job on the recap, and congratulations to you all!
    It has long been said if you can sail our part of Lake Erie, you can sail anywhere. You guys sure proved that right.

  3. Way to go guys-now it will be even harder to follow your moves on da’Reef. I cant wait to sail with you all again on our home surf!

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