Photos: East Coast Marines ride waves to win Camp Pendleton surf contest
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — East Coast Marines took home bragging rights and new surfboards for the second year in a row Saturday night in a dusk-till-dark surf contest on the base beach, beating the West Coast Marines by just one point.
This was the third year Red Bull sponsored the friendly rivalry, though the format was different than in other years and for the first time featured the added challenge of being at night.
The competition began at 6 p.m. at the camp’s Del Mar Jetty, with the East Coast team heading out into the water for a 15-minute, inning-style heat. After four heats, the contest ended with the West Coast team surfing in the dark, with bright spotlights shining down on the waves.
Capt. Chris Buscemi, captain of the East Coast team, said his guys could have used more practice together, since surfers are not used to competing together as a team.
“Surprisingly, we pulled it off in the end,” he said.
Master Sgt. Eric Franklin, captain of the West Coast team, said he thought they had thrashed the competition.
“I think we played a good game,” he said, adding that the team had a strong strategy and used their timeouts efficiently.
Still, he said, “I had a good time -- I got some good waves.”
The action was judged by National Surf League judges. After it was over, spectators and team members had the chance to surf under the lights.
The Pendleton-based surfers earned a spot on their respective teams in the Commanding General’s Surf Tournament in June. The surfers were assigned to their teams based on where they attended boot camp.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Jay Michael Auwae earned MVP honors for the West Coast team, while Chief Petty Officer Randy Adalin was named MVP of the East Coast team.