Local surfer Christopher Herbert shined at the 2019 Eastern Surfing Championships that were held at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC.
After a successful season in which he qualified for the Eastern Championships, Herbert did himself one better by finishing fourth in the stand-up paddleboard competition, as well as fifth in longboard, sixth in shortboard, and seventh in bodyboard in the major amateur event.
“We kept our eyes on the weather the whole time, but it’s one of those things where once you are in the water it is up to the judges to score you. You can only do what you can and hope for the best. I was able to make it to the semifinals in all of my divisions and even to the finals, so overall it was great,” said Herbert.
Herbert has emerged as one of the top amateur surfers in the Northeast region over the past two years, and would have been set up to compete in the Eastern Championships last year had severe weather not affected his ability to compete in the Northeast Regionals, the qualifying event that takes place earlier in the summer.
Although Herbert has become very fluent in the local surfing scene and locations, getting adjusted to the conditions in North Carolina took some time, especially when mapping out his strategy and how he would attack the waves.
“I’m usually pretty confident when I surf in Rhode Island because I know the conditions so well. Surfing (in North Carolina), it is a tough place to surf. I had been there previously, so I kind of knew the spots and had that in my back pocket which helped. When you surf on small waves you can just paddle right out there, with big waves like this, you have to take every advantage that you get,” said Herbert.
Herbert was excited to have such a strong finish and is looking forward to getting even better for next year’s event, with his focus shifting on his cardio and conditioning.
“Since I competed in four divisions, I was tired. In my final heat I wanted to catch one more wave but the time ran out and had I done that, I may have been able to get to the finals in that event. So that’s one thing that I am going to focus on, is my conditioning. I surfed about as well as I hoped but that is something I’m going to have to work on. If you don’t push yourself, then why bother? Every year I have improved, it’s only up from here,” said Herbert.
Herbert was also proud to compete with some of the top amateur surfers in the country, and proving that Rhode Island surfers are a force to be reckoned with.
“The other guys brought it. The guys from North Carolina, Florida they always bring it. They are some of the best, they are surfing pretty much from the time they get out of the womb. However, I am on a surfboard, the ocean is nearby, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to compete with them,” said Herbert. “It’s a great camaraderie competing with them but I do want to win. Being a champion is my goal.