Although he has not competed in every year of the contest, Wrightsville Beach local and pro surfer Ben Bourgeois said winning his first O’Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am in his hometown was a great feeling.
Bourgeois had surfed his way into the finals of the pro shortboard division of the contest on Sunday, July 13, to face past event winners Aaron Cormican and Evan Thompson, and Phillip Gould.
After securing a wave score of 7.1 early on in the heat, Bourgeois never gave up the lead and evened bettered his score by a tenth of a point on a wave near the end of the finals heat.
The three other surfers in the heat made last minute attempts to steal the title from Bourgeois but with the poor surf conditions deteriorating even more there was no chance.
Greeted by his friends and family members on the beach after the victory, Bourgeois was lifted on shoulders and carted up to the victory stage.
Event coordinator Brad Beach said this year’s contest was another successful event with large crowds every day and plenty of talent in the water. Although he would have liked to see better wave conditions, Beach said everyone from the pros to the guppies made the most of what was available.