Conditions that build high waves are usually a surfer’s delight, but nor’easter conditions Friday got a bit too rough to safely run the Red Bull Night Riders surfing competition in Jacksonville Beach.
The event was postponed to 10 a.m. Sunday, making it the Light Riders instead of the Night Riders.
“The weather is just a little too crazy with all the infrastructure they need to run this event, and really there’s no beach for spectators to stand on either. The tide’s been extremely high, and conditions are just a little too crazy, so we decided to reschedule for tomorrow morning. I think it was a great call,” said Cody Thompson, a pro surfer from Jacksonville Beach who won the event last year.
The event is one of the East Coast’s premier surfing competitions.
Thompson said the six riders include himself and his brother, plus other surfers from Florida and the East Coast and one competitor who flew all the way from Indonesia.
“There’s a few others who flew in and took some long flights to get here so we didn’t want to cancel the event, so I’m happy that they’re running it,” Thompson said.
He explained that participants are towed out into the waves at 30 mph behind a jet ski, allowing them to pull off tricks and maneuvers not typically seen in surfing contests.
Organizers said contestants will be judged on the best trick of their heat by a panel of their peers, with the winner taking home the entire prize purse of $5,000.
The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Sunday on the north side of the Jacksonville Beach Pier.
“The action’s going to be probably hotter than ever and it’ll be a good opportunity for everyone to come out and see what’s going on,” Thompson said, adding that the contest should wrap up just in time for everyone to catch the start of the Jaguars game against the Buffalo Bills.