Saturday, November 16, in a town known for great surf, the waves were chest high – perfect for a surf competition – the first ever for the City of Delray Beach. “This town has been known for its surf for decades and continues to draw men and women from all over to ride the waves of our South 4 Surf Area,” says local surfer Sven Mautner, one of the five main organizers of this event. Mayor Cary Glickstein visited Santa Cruz, California this summer, and when he returned he said, “We need to have a Surf Festival in Delray Beach. We host many other events, and with the culture of surf that is here, it is only natural.” And from that point a committee of local surfers in Delray Beach, and city staff, began the planning. “The idea was to create an event with real surf competition but also to have a lot of fun,” expresses Sven Mautner. And it happened; there was a lot of fun had by all, the surfers, volunteers, the spectators, the sponsors and even the mayor. One of the main goals was to invite local businesses and merchants to get involved and support the event – not for the event to make money. “We needed to offset the cost of the event and any additional dollars were to be donated to the Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Team,” expressed Tommy Lehman, planning committee member. The day of the event the sponsor board listed logos and names of over 45 businesses and families that contributed to this inaugural event. The day began at 9am with registration and breakfast sponsored by Caffe Luna Rosa. Music was playing, tents lined the edge of the shore, judges were in place and the MC and former Delray Beach Life Guard Jo Wagenhals, was on the microphone announcing the heats and getting the crowd excited. Surf heats ran throughout the morning, with 32 total surfers registered to compete. The first up was the 14-17 age bracket and some of the better surfers in Delray Beach. In spite of the jellyfish, they ripped it! The final surfing event was the kids completion – 10 and under, with 6 participants. With the waves still very high, the ocean rescue team was in the water ready to assist, but these kids were amazing. “It is exciting to watch such passion about surfing from a group of 8 and 10 year olds all that are growing up in the Delray Beach area.” Crowds began to gather to watch the final heats and to prepare for the Stand Up Paddle race that took place at 1:30pm. 18 individuals were ready to fight for the hand-made paddle trophy. Finishing strong was Matt Swany, from Delray Beach Water Sports who will hang his trophy proudly in the Shack, at the southend of the beach. The Ocean Rescue team set up the Beach Flag competition and divided the races into ages – children first, of course. It is wild to see how something so simple as a race for a piece of pvc pipe can be so much fun to watch! The adult beach flag competition was a bit more serious, but in the end, Jame Scala, Ocean Rescue Superintendent, won the event. The best event was saved for last. When was the last time you participated in a “true” Tug- of – War competition? 8 teams of six people began the competition but the last Tug-of-War battle included the entire group of participants, half on each side. Over 40 people were pulling and screaming to win the Huge Tug of War battle at Delray’s First Annual Surf Festival. The Festival concluded with an Awards Ceremony on the beach, awarding the Surf Heat winners. Congratulations to the winners at Delray’s First Annual Surf Festival. 18-older: Tristin Desmain 14-17 division: local favorite, Troy Sloan 11-13 Briana Heaney 10 & under division: Jaya Kinsey For the 10 & Under category, a special award was given for this division to the Most Courageous. A custom Stoner Skateboard was awarded to Solenne Simon, who was the first in the water and paddled out the farthest. “What a great day, can’t wait for next year”, was the comment that was heard around the tables at Deck 84, who hosted a fantastic “After Party”. Lots of great stories were told about the event, and smiles filled everyone’s face, expressing that age-old axiom “the best surfer is the one having the most fun.” Checkout the tons of video and photos available on the Delray Beach Surf Festival Facebook Page.