Monday, June 17, 2024

Inaugural Surf City Ocean Fest “to surf and protect” this October

To kick off the day, the Surf City Ocean Fest will host an "adaptive surf clinic" for young people with disabilities. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Morris)
On the board, Cody Leutgens helps a girl learn how to surf at the Cowabunga Surf Retreat for teens with Apert syndrome. In the water, Cody Monday shows his support. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Mark Morris)

SURF CITY — Three local surf buddies have organized the islands’ first Surf City Ocean Fest to achieve three goals: “to surf, to protect, to party.”

The idea was sprung by adventure journalist and filmmaker Mark Anders, who teamed up with Corey Snydes and Cody Leutgens to pull off a surf clinic, surf contest, and street festival held near the Roland Avenue beach access on Saturday, October 12.

Leutgens, owner of nearby Shaka Taco and the Surf City Surf School, said the day will begin with the Vintage Surf Contest, capped at 50 contestants using a dozen vintage surfboards made in the sixties and seventies. Before each heat, surfers will be assigned their boards from a random drawing.

RELATED: No attempt to protect 110 acres of open land on Topsail Island after $7.9 million listing

“You don’t get to pick the board, the board picks you,” Leutgens said.

From 10 a.m. to noon a team of surfing instructors will host a free “adaptive surf clinic” for young people with disabilities. More information on the types of disabilities they’ll be able to accommodate will be available in coming weeks (check their website for updates leading up to the festival).

According to the website, participants will surf “under the watchful eye of a team of mental health experts and skilled surfing instructors.”

Throughout the day a Vendor Zone and Beer Garden will be set up at the parking lot directly across the street from the Roland Avenue beach access, including food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, and booths to raise awareness of ocean protection and preservation efforts.

Live music will begin at 3 p.m., including The Turkey Buzzards from California playing their new album, appropriately named “Swing Bridge.”

According to Leutgens, all money generated by the event will go towards charities like Don’t Drill NC and UNCW’s Plastic Ocean Project. Other than a $25 entry fee to participate in the surf contest (sign-ups begin September 1), the event is free for all to attend, with sponsorships and an option to donate on the website.


  • Vintage Surf Contest (8am-2pm) at the Roland Ave. beach access.
  • Vendor Zone (10am-8pm) at the corner of Roland Ave. and South Shore Dr.
  • Adaptive Surf Experience (10am-noon) at the Roland Ave. beach access.
  • Beer Garden (2pm-8pm) at corner of Roland Ave. and South Shore Dr.
  • Live Music (3pm-8pm) at the corner of Roland Ave. and South Shore Dr.

A festival “weather/makeup day” is set for Sunday, October 13.


Related Articles