One of Bogue Banks most beloved events is planned for the Oceana Pier in Atlantic Beach this summer. The Buddy Pelletier Memorial Longboard Classic takes over the seashore July 30-31, luring amateurs and professionals alike for a little friendly competition in a variety of categories.
For many, this mid-summer contest has become a tradition, not only for the prime chance to catch a few waves, but also to pay homage to the competition’s namesake, Buddy Pelletier. A top-ranked professional surfer and three-time winner of the Puerto Rican National Longboard Championship, Pelletier came home to the Crystal Coast in the early 1990s to spend his final days with friends and family before succumbing to cancer. It is through those same friends and family members, as well as new ones made along the way, that his legacy lives on through the nonprofit Buddy Pelletier Surfing Scholarship Foundation, which provides humanitarian aid and scholarships to the surfing community.
“Like many Atlantic Beach residents, I’m proud to have one of the Buddy Pelletier Surfing Foundation license plates on my car. The proceeds from these license plates and the other fundraising events coordinated by the Foundation provide for scholarships and other community support for our surfing community,” Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper said last year. “The community-focused mission of The Buddy is what makes it such a special tournament. All the participants are there to surf and want to win, but everybody realizes that they are serving the greater good. The sense of community and camaraderie is amazing.”
Longboards, unlike their shorter counterparts, allow competitors to ride even the smallest of waves, leaving onlookers with plenty of action to take in and giving entrants the opportunity to showcase their skill. While adult boards measure about nine feet, junior boards must be three feet longer than the youngster’s height. The annual competition is sanctioned by the Eastern Surfing Association and sponsored by AB Surf Shop. Entry fees are $25 for all age divisions, plus $35 for the amateur open heat. Winner of the open takes home an Action surfboard.
On Friday evening, visitors can enjoy surf movies at the pier. Surfing begins each day at 7am and generally lasts until 5pm on Saturday, while awards are usually given out at 3pm on Sunday. Spectators are invited to linger for a while or spend a full day on the beach. But make sure you hang around long enough to enjoy the beach party and live music on Saturday night with music by Monjah.
Parking is available both at the pier and at the Circle, with free shuttle transportation to the venue. For more information, visit www.buddypelletier.com.