Local surfer Christopher Herbert had a big 2018 summer, winning the Eastern Surfing Association’s Northeast Regionals in Belmar, New Jersey, and qualifying for the even larger East Coast Championship in September.
Unfortunately, Herbert was hit with bad luck as Hurricane Florence forced the association to reschedule the event, which also ended his ability to make the trip to compete.
Herbert was right back at it though in 2019, and has once again qualified for this year’s Northeast Regionals.
Although Herbert was unable to take the next step in 2018, he feels even stronger this time around, and looks to once again take home first and punch his ticket to the East Coast competition.
“Each year I have been improving, and I feel like I know what it takes to win now. The guys that saw me last year will be gunning for me this year. It kind of feels like I am starting over again, I did the local stuff and now I’m doing this, I really want to push myself. When you get the top spot, you want to go into Easterns and have a good showing. That’s been my motivation both in and out of the water all year,” said Herbert.
Herbert has been training all year both in and out of the water, and feels that he is set to put on a show in New Jersey.
“I have been doing a lot of physical training both in and out of the water, I have been doing a lot of skateboarding which is the closest you can get. I have also been keeping an eye on the swells which will obviously determine much of (my approach),” said Herbert. “I’m confident because I know that I can win. Although I was disappointed last year, it helps me knowing that I am going in as the defending Northeast champ. I’m just going to dive into the water and try to have the best heat that I can.”
Herbert has also noticed a continued growth in the surfing population of Rhode Island, and feels that the sport has plenty to offer to those in the Ocean State.
“The local scene is growing; we are getting more and more people every year. It’s good to see the younger kids get out there and do it. It’s definitely grown a lot since I started, there’s more people on the beach, even if they are not competing,” said Herbert. “There’s a new pro contest that only started a few years ago in Newport called the Water Brother Pro, so that’s great to see some really high-level surfers make the trip out here. The popularity has grown. We’re the Ocean State, more and more people are learning about it and as long as they can handle the cold water for nine months of the year, then this is the place for them.”