Youngsters flocked to the beach for an opportunity to hang out with pro surfers from Hurley, test-drive their competitive surf boards and compete in a no-pressure, fun surfing event. Hurley began as a surfboard shaping factory in California in 1979 and has grown from a small company into an international clothing giant specializing in skateboarding, surfing and music.
A barbecue and awards ceremony was also held at MACkite in Grand Haven following the competition.
Since there were no waves in Lake Michigan, Wednesday’s event was turned into a paddleboarding competition. Children — some two or three on a board at a time — maneuvered around the tall, white buoys about 30 yards out into the lake. Grand Haven 13-year-olds Logan Snider and Kevin Swain were two of the more successful boarders, as they easily maintained their balance while completing the course.
“With calm days like this, you just have to wing it,” said Hurley pro surfer Timmy Curran, one of a handful of pros who made the stop in Grand Haven. “But it’s all about hanging out with the kids and having a fun day at the beach.”
The “Rip My Shred Stick” tour is a 17-stop tour that started in Puerto Rico on June 16. Grand Haven was the tour’s lone stop in the Midwest.
Curran, who is now retired from pro competition, competed in the World Championship Tour for 10 years and was consistently in contention for the world championships.
“Now, I just make surf films and play music,” he said. “My band actually just put out an album. It’s a combination of folk and indie rock.”
Curran also is enjoying traveling the country and spreading his enjoyment of one of the most exhilarating sports in the world, he said. From Grand Haven, the tour will travel to Santa Cruz, Calif.
“It’s a blast to have the opportunity to teach kids how to surf,” he said.
“It’s definitely been a blessing to have been able to do it for a living. What I tell the kids is there’s nothing like riding a wave. I’ve played a lot of different sports and there’s no other feeling compared to it.”