It’s a mere two hours from Long Beach, but Montauk, New York, might as well be another planet. Known as “The End,” Montauk is situated on the most eastern point of Long Island. The apartment buildings, boardwalk, and steady air traffic coming into JFK Airport seemed a world away on Sunday afternoon as the ladies of the Red Bull Carissa and Maya Project arrived in Montauk, home to Project surfers Quincy Davis and Ariel and Alexis Engstrom.
Montauk is a traditionally seafaring community which has recently become “the last Hampton,” and somehow the NYC social elite coexist with the salty local fishermen.
The girls’ families spend May to November in Montauk and then head to Rincon, Puerto Rico for the winter months. The Davis home was the first stop, where the ladies checked out Quincy’s digs and even took turns on the trampoline where Quincy trains with her brothers and cousin.
“There are no pro contests here,” shared Quincy. “People just don’t think it’s worth the drive out here, so no one ever comes to our houses. It was cool to have them there and play with the dogs.”
Then they checked into Gurney’s Motel, a traditional Montauk resort on the infamous cliffs known as Hither Hills, where Quincy’s aunt, Ginny Davis, is a conference manager.
After the day of travel, the entire crew sat down with Carissa for a good old-fashioned Montauk dinner, straight from the sea. They caught some of the MTV Video Music Awards and were tuckered out.
Though the ladies were up bright and early, the Atlantic Ocean was slow to wake up on Monday morning, showing barely a two-foot swell. The cool, gray morning was less than inspiring, but the ladies were undeterred and at the beach early.
Even Ditch Plains - known to be overrun by tourists and Manhattanites on stand-up paddle boards - was devoid of even a single surfer. But this is the East Coast, where you learn to make the most of what you’re given.
With the surf tiny, the girls took turns towing behind the Red Bull ski. Even the surfers who hadn’t towed before were quick to pop up and get whipped at the little sections, and some of them threw down some very impressive runs. Ariel Engstrom had some of the cleanest hits.
“It was my first time and I had so much fun. I suck in small waves, but this is sick because you get the speed of a huge wave,” Ariel said, coming in from the water.
Whether in Hawaii or a chilly beach in New York, getting in the water is still a number one priority for Carissa.
“With surfing, the conditions can make it really hard to get motivated. Sometimes you just have to go through the motions, put on the wetsuit and just get out there to paddle around for 45 minutes,” said Carissa. “I’m really excited that the girls are so inspired.”
Stay tuned for more from the Carissa and Maya Project.