Among the many events the Crystal Coast has to offer during the summer months, there is one you don’t want to miss – the Buddy Pelletier Memorial Longboard Classic. The annual surfing competition is held in memory of the late Buddy Pelletier of Carteret County, an avid surfer and recent inductee into the Surfing Hall of Fame.
The competition, referred to locally as “The Buddy,” has hosted the Buddy Pelletier Surfing Foundation. Every year surfers from the East Coast, Florida, California and even Puerto Rico converge on the beach all over the world flock to the Crystal Coast to enjoy friendly competition and support the foundation.
This year’s event will be held July 29-30 at the Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach with age divisions from 8 and under to 55 and over. The surfing competition isn’t just for surfers, though. Entry fees, T-shirt sales and other donations help fund three college scholarships to members of the East Coast surfing community.
“We want to help students excel in and out of the water and are very proud of our 100 percent graduation record,” said Jessica Holleman, one of the event’s organizers. “The foundation also gives humanitarian aid to individuals and has provided reduced-price CPR and first-aid to members of the surfing community, who often find themselves in a position to render assistance to swimmers in trouble.”
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.
Surfing begins Saturday, July 29 at 7am each day. Saturday's heats will be followed by a beach party with live entertainment. The surfing continues on Sunday, with awards typically presented mid-afternoon. The entry form and additional information about the contest, sponsorship opportunities and the foundation can be found at www.buddypelletier.com or by calling 252-725-9277.