September 04, 2011

"The teenager from Long Island was so comfortably gliding through the barreling waves..."

NY Times '“He was riding the barrel so well, and we were like, ‘How did this kid get so good coming from New York?’ ” said Rod Brooks, Quiksilver’s director of contests, referring to the surf prodigy Balaram Stack. Describing the scene that day last year when Stack and other young surfers were attacking the surf for a video shoot, he added, “Everybody was pretty impressed.”' By JIM RUTENBERG

'And so began Quiksilver’s unlikely quest to stage one of the riskier gambits of modern professional surfing history, a full-on, world tour contest in the waters of New York — an incongruous stop on an annual surf odyssey that otherwise includes breaks of world renown along the Gold Coast of Australia, at Teahupoo in Tahiti and at Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.

'That contest starts Sunday off Long Beach, N.Y., Stack’s hometown, under the auspices of the Association of Surfing Professionals, and with Quiksilver as its main sponsor. It is one of 11 competitions that determine this year’s world champion.

'The top professionals in the world, including the reigning champion, Kelly Slater, and his leading challengers, Joel Parkinson and Jordy Smith, will be competing not only for their place in the standings but also for a record $1 million purse. Thrown into the mix will be Stack, 19, and two other Long Islanders trying to win a wild-card entry during Sunday’s trials: Leif Engstrom, 23, of Montauk, and T. J. Gumiela, 21, of Long Beach.'

"The talent of Long Island surfers like Balaram Stack helped persuade Quiksilver to sponsor an Association of Surfing Professionals event in Long Beach, with a record purse of $1 million."--Mike Nelson for NY Times

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