There’s a reason Red Bull picked September for the Carissa and Maya Project. Not only does it coincide with several Women’s Pro surf events in New Jersey and New York, but it’s also a magical time of year in the Northeast.
The first day of what is Carissa Moore’s first trip to the East Coast proved to be 80 degrees and sunny with blue water, a perfect welcome for the Hawaiian. She spent the day in the sun and sand in Long Beach, New York, watching her new friends compete at the Unsound Women’s Pro.
Carissa arrived on Friday and headed straight over to Unsound Surf Shop, where many fans awaited her arrival. Once there, she kicked off the project by signing autographs, meeting fans and enjoying a BBQ with the local surf community.
Brianne Canner, 13, of Long Beach, who has been surfing for four years and won “Queen of the Beach” title at Skudin Surf Camp, was ecstatic to meet Moore.
“I think it’s an honor. She’s really good and she takes time to meet her fans,” said Canner.
Saturday revealed a gorgeous September day. Seemingly the entire town of Long Beach came out to watch the 12th annual Unsound Pro. Carissa grabbed her board and strolled down to the freesurfing area with local boy, Balaram Stack.
“I’m really stoked to be out here, getting to know the girls. Each one has her own unique personality and story." -Carissa Moore
The tide had just backed off enough to allow fun little lefts to peel down the beach with perfect, sculpting offshore winds. Moore picked off the first peak to roll through, and the entire contest stopped to watch her unleash a series of clean backside turns.
“It was really hot on the beach, so I figured I’d just surf in a bathing suit, but it was a little cold out there,” Carissa laughed afterward.
She did several interviews with press, including one with a seven-year-old girl reporting for the Kids’ page of “News Day,” New York.
It was a great day for New York surfing overall. Stack, 20, of nearby Point Lookout, won the Men’s Unsound Pro.15-year-old Quincy Davis, of Montauk, a key element to the Carissa Maya Project, won the Unsound Women’s Pro.
“I’ve met Carissa before,” said Quincy, “but we haven’t surfed together in a long time. I’m really excited to hang out with her again.”
In fact, the four-woman final was stacked with surfers from the Project, with Carissa filling in as a guest judge. Quincy caught a long left early in the heat and executed three solid turns to earn a 7.17. She would eventually edge out second-place finisher Jamie DeWitt Baittinger, a native of Long Beach Island, New Jersey who now lives on the Outer Banks, by a score of 11.87 to 10.83. Third place went to Alexis Engstrom with a 7.53, and fourth to Cassidy McClain with a 5.93.
“The waves had gotten a lot better since this morning. I was just having fun with my good friends,” explained Quincy.
At night, the ladies all made their way to the infamous Inn of Long Beach, where they danced and celebrated the start to the Carissa and Maya Project.
On Sunday morning, all of the girls packed up their gear, got into a van and made the trip east to Montauk - “The End,” as it is known, of Long Island. It was a much chillier day, but that can be expected in September. Montauk is where Quincy Davis, Ariel Engstrom, and Alexis Engstrom live, so the local girls are already showing Carissa around and planning their fun.
“I’m really stoked to be out here, getting to know the girls. Each one has her own unique personality and story. And the East Coast is very different than home,” added Carissa.
Stay tuned for more from the Carissa and Maya Project.