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Cloudy,36°
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Surf Week returns to Long Beach
NYSEA event celebrates its fifth year
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Donovan Berthoud/Herald
NY Surf Week, presented by NYSEA, kicked off on Wednesday. Noel Wilson is pictured at last year's event.

Surf Week returns to Long Beach this week, with five days full of surf, skate, music, movie, and art events.

NY Surf Week, presented by NYSEA, runs from July 16-20. The event has grown into a Long Beach staple — now in its fifth year, this is expected to be the biggest Surf Week to date. The week kicks off with the open surf contest and the kids’ surf contest, and ends with skate contests and a family movie premiere, with art shows, parties, a paddle out, and concerts in between.

Surf Week co-founder Will Skudin said that the event began in memory of his late friend, George “Geeza” Geiser, a venerated local surfer. On Saturday, a memorial paddle will be held at 5:30 p.m. at National Boulevard beach, an annual Surf Week event.

“I looked up to him a lot,” Skudin said. “He was one of the first New York guys that really pushed the limits, riding bigger waves outside of New York.”

Surf Week has grown tremendously since its first year, although the fate of the event was uncertain last summer, following Hurricane Sandy. Skudin said it was a struggle, both logistically and financially, to make the event happen last year. Many of the people involved with the event were displaced from their homes, and the boardwalk was demolished. But they still made it happen.

“Running the event last year was just saying that it’ll never go away; it was something we had to do just to show that we were still strong as a community,” Skudin said.

This year, however, Skudin said that tide has turned. With the return of many residents and the new boardwalk, he said that this summer has “come full circle.”

“It’s hard to really smile genuinely when there’s no boardwalk in Long Beach,” Skudin said, calling the boardwalk the “bloodline” of Long Beach. “You can tell that people are on the other side of the hump; a new leaf has turned. I know a lot of us are still hurting from it and still feeling it, but this summer is a totally different vibe.”

The week contains a variety of events, from surf and skate contests, to movie premieres and concerts. Hurley, the popular surf lifestyle brand, is a new sponsor of the event, and Skudin said he is excited about the brand being involved.

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