Summer Tradition: Cape Cod Oldtimers Longboard Classic

Text by Robin Clarke | Photo by Justin Bourassa

The Cape Cod Oldtimers Longboard Classic at White Crest Beach in Wellfleet is a summer tradition on the Outer Cape. It was started in 1974 by Jasper’s Surf Shop owner Mike Houghton to lure surfers back to the fun of riding waves on longboards. In the beginning, originally held at Coast Guard Beach, it was more of a party. Rick Weeks, an original oldtimer, remembers one surfer who “rented a helicopter in Chatham and dropped in with his surfboard.” He won the “Drop In of the Day Award.” Al Peterson, who worked at Jasper’s in the 1970s, still helps run the contest. “It was a huge success that turned into an end-of-summer celebration,” says Peterson, who remarks on the multigenerational participation. “It’s all about fun, not skill.” Today, the most popular award is Rookie of the Year, but there are plenty of categories to enter.

There’s no experience needed and no wetsuits or leashes allowed. About 200 surfers compete and many more people line the dunes to watch, setting up grills and offering food to surfers and spectators alike.

This year, the contest takes place on August 12 at White Crest Beach. Participants can sign up online or in person at the Pump House Surf Shop in Orleans. Matt Rivers of the Pump House welcomes the company: “A lot of people want to come into the store to sign up and talk surf, just like the old days.” Entry fees include a T-shirt and help fund a Nauset High School scholarship named in honor of Kenney Norton, one of the original surf contestants.

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