Brooklyn resident Corey Stokes, 23, had never been surfing before, and said he was a bit nervous before he went in the water to catch some waves. In fact, Stokes had never even been to Long Beach before last week, when he rode his very first wave — with a little help from champion longboarder Mikey DeTemple.
“It’s definitely intense,” said Stokes, an associate market editor at Complex magazine in Manhattan. “I didn’t know what to expect, actually. I went out with Mikey, and he showed me how to stand up. It was exciting, I felt accomplished, like, ‘Oh, I did it.’”
Stokes — and several other editors and staffers from high-profile magazines — were among the approximately 300 people who turned out to International Surfing Day on June 20 at Long Beach Boulevard beach, where they received free surfing lessons from Skudin Surf school instructors, as well as some of the best surfers in the world, including two-time world champion Carissa Moore, internationally ranked big-wave surfer and Long Beach resident Will Skudin, and DeTemple. The pro surfers are sponsored by Hurley, the popular surf lifestyle brand.
International Surfing Day is held each year on or near the summer solstice, and is described as an environmentally conscious, sports-centered holiday that celebrates the sport and lifestyle of surfing, and the sustainability of ocean resources.
People of all different ages turned out to the event — sponsored by Hurley and held in conjunction with Skudin Surf — which was aimed at encouraging those who have never surfed to give it a try.
“It’s just an overall great day,” said Long Beach resident and pro surfer TJ Gumiela, a Skudin Surf instructor. “It’s free surf lessons, so everyone can come and learn how to surf. And then there’s Carissa Moore, the world champion and she’s one of the best female surfers ever. And it’s good to show all of these girls how good you can get at surfing. Today, I probably taught over 100 people, and just seeing everyone smile … everyone gets in the water and they’re kind of nervous. And then when they get out, you can’t even knock the smile off their faces. They feel more confident.”
Cliff Skudin, co-founder and president of Skudin Surf Inc., said that surfing often helps build self-esteem and improves other areas of students’ lives, especially among kids.
“That was one of the missions of the day, to try to get people who have never tried surfing to do it for the first time, and sharing that with other people was really special,” said Skudin, who is also a competitive big wave surfer.
Hurley also officially announced its sponsorship of brothers Will and Cliff Skudin as professional big-wave surfers, Skudin Surf Camps and NYSEA’s annual Surf Week, which runs in Long Beach July 16-20.
“We’re so psyched about that and it’s going to be huge,” Cliff Skudin said.