LOCAL LADIES ARE PUTTING FOLLY BEACH ON THE SURFING MAP
By Lorne Chambers | Editor
Last month a few local ladies packed surfboards atop cars and in the beds of trucks and headed north for the 28th annual Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic. After a full weekend of shredding and representing Folly Beach at the North Carolina coast, Savannah Bradley, Perng Hutson, and Kate Barattini returned to Folly with more than just their boards. They came back with two first place plaques, two second place plaques, and a third place plaque from one of the largest and most prestigious ladies’ surfing events along the East Coast.
Held Aug. 14-16, the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic welcomed more than 130 surfers from New York to Florida, ranging in age from toddlers to 65. Events included surfing and paddle surfing, with competition categories divided by age age and skill level. “This is a weekend when the men and boys have to move over,” says event chair and former U.S. National Champion-Shortboard (2004) Jo Pickett, who currently serves as a mentor for the Eastern Surfing Association All Star Women’s Team. “The Classic provides a venue for ladies to play on the beach, learn from others, improve skills, and build confidence.”
If their confidence wasn’t already as high as a North Shore honker before they arrived in the Wilmington area, Bradley, Hutson, and Barattini sure had to leave North Carolina feeling pretty good about their skills. Bradley took first place in the Pro Shortboard category and Barrattini took third place in the Pro Longboard category. Hutson added the Folly girls’ haul with a first place finish in the Women’s Longboard category, and second in the Ladies Shortboard and the Women’s Shortboard categories.
Barattini, who won first place in the same category at the Folly Beach Wahine Classic earlier this year, was full of Folly pride after the Wrightsville event. “You gotta represent your home and, not gonna lie, our lady shredders are really, really good,” she says. “We have a really special beach and our community of surfers reflects that.”
Hutson agreed that when out of town, there’s an added desire to represent Folly Beach, but also says that it’s more relaxed in some ways for her because it’s not her home turf. “When we’re surfing here, we all want to stand out to each other. But when going up to that contest, its way more relaxed because I’m not focusing on what I should be doing or shouldn’t be. I just relax and have fun.”
Hutson, who placed first and second respectively in the longboard and shortboard categories, says that she feels equally comfortable on either and that it just depends on the waves and her mood which board is her favorite. “It was the longboad that day,” she says about winning her first-ever first place finish in competition.
Barattini had high praise for her fellow Folly surfers. “Savannah Bradley rips … just rips! Waves are still sending us letters saying that she tore them to shreds,” jokes Barattini. “Perng (Hutson) has all around beautiful style no matter the board; she even managed to get a sweet little tuck into a micro barrel. I was stoked to have gotten a coffin ride in tribute to the legendary Linda Benson.”
Overall, the event was a success for our Folly girls, the female surfing community, and the city of Wilmington, which was named as one of National Geographic’s 20 Best Surf Towns in the World. While Barattini enjoyed her visit to North Carolina, it also made her appreciate what we have right here at home. “Folly is really lucky to have so much maritime forest existing on our island. It was sad visiting those North Carolina beaches (Wrightsville and Carolina) and there was absolutely no shade … just a palmetto here and there,” she says. “Our cops are way nicer too!”