The 16th Annual Rell Sunn Surf Contest, benefitting local families coping with cancer, will commence this Saturday, August 2 at Ditch Plains beach in Montauk.
The surf contest honors Rell Sunn, a Hawaiian-born pro surfer who died of breast cancer in 1998. Sunn was a pioneer of women’s surfing, integral in forming the Women’s Professional Surfing Association and the women’s pro surfing tour.
“This is the 16th year we’ve been doing it,” says Roger Feit, organizer of the event. “First was to celebrate her life and to do something for the communities as far as raising cancer awareness and funds for cancer research. [Now, the funds go to] local families who are struggling with cancer or some other catastrophe.”
Because this is a community event, Feit knows exactly who the funds raised would help, citing four area families who are struggling with cancer is various ways.
The contest is open to surfers of various ages and abilities, as Reit says that Ditch Plains provides a “pretty gentle break.” Categories include surfboard, bodyboard, longboard and Stand-up Paddleboarding (aka SUP), for kids and adults. Those who want to ride with a little more style are welcome to enter the “Wet, Wild and Whatever you want to ride of wear” category. Anything goes, and Reit expects lots of costumes.
Reit, who owns Treewise Organics, a tree-care company based in Wainscott, once met Rell on the surf circuit and was enamored with her personality.
“I used to surf competitively. I started hanging out with the Hawaiian team at an amateur national contest. Sunn was lovely and sweet.”
Pre-registration for the August 2 event begins at 8 a.m. at Ditch Plains. The after party and art auction, featuring music and a pool party, will be held at The Atlantic Terrace in Montauk beginning at 2 p.m.