Garden City’s Cam Richards taking surf world by storm

In what is being described as a “David versus Goliath” matchup, Garden City Beach’s favorite surf son created a nationwide storm of support in his effort to live out his dream of surfing in a World Tour event.

This year’s Hurley Pro is set to begin on September 15 at Trestles in Southern California. The event will feature 32 of the world’s top surfers competing for cash and prizes. Normally, the event receives a wild-card entry that is reserved for a team rider or corporate partner of the event. Hurley, however,has decided to allow the fans to vote on this year’s wild-card entry.

In order to be considered, competitors were encouraged to submit a two wave video clip to be judged by a panel of experts, who then narrowed it down to the top 16 clips. From there, fans were encouraged to vote daily as the field was narrowed down to a single winner, the wild-card recipient.

Garden City Beach’s Cam Richards easily made it through the first and second rounds before coming head to head with Dane Reynolds, a former world tour competitor that walked away from the tour, and who is widely regarded as one of the most influential surfers of this generation.

Reynolds is a giant in the surf world, capable of winning any event he enters, and well-liked in the surfing community. Richards is a 17 year old “grommet” from South Carolina, trying to fulfill his dream.

Voting became frenzied early in the day as the East Coasters shared the word of a local boy potentially making good, with supporters taking to social media sites, and news organizations, including this one, in order to gather votes and support.

Things began to get crazy when 11-time ASP World Tour Champion Kelly Slater came out in support of a then losing Reynolds. That was followed by a massive push locally and regionally to gather votes for Richards.

Shortly before midnight, the stars, both figuratively and literally began to align for Richards, with Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx tweeting his support, actor Will Smith’s son Jaden, current ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson, artist Drew Brophy, tour surfer Jordy Smith, and many others coming to the rescue in an attempt to propel Richards into the finals.

With the voting set to end at 3am Eastern Time, most started to think that the East Coast would begin to settle while the West Coast came alive in their support for the more recognized athlete.

Reynolds finally began to pull away in the final 45 minutes of voting, with his force of Quiksilver, broadcaster Sal Masekela, Kelly Slater, 5-time womens ASP World Tour Champion Stephanie Gilmore, and even skater Tony Hawk providing their support and just edging out the local favorite.

Reynolds moves into the final round against 20 year old Luke Davis from San Clemente, California.

Today, the collective surf world asked, “Who is Cam Richards, and where is Garden City Beach, SC?” The answer is a 17 year old with a dream, and a community that did, and will, continue to carry him on their shoulders.

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6 responses to “Garden City’s Cam Richards taking surf world by storm”

  1. Bo Bacot says:

    It was a real rush to get to see just how close Cam Richards came to getting a wild-card into the Hurley Pro. The outpouring of local support was amazing to witness. I know my Facebook feed was filled with posts rallying support for Richards all day, and especially into the evening. But, hey, who can really fight Quiksilver’s corporate media machine? Seems like anyone who got a paycheck from them (Slater, Gilmore, Hawk, Reynolds himself, etc.) became a hydra of support for Reynolds; each calling for brand-loyalty from their millions of fans via any means necessary: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, telegram, smoke signals. Joel Parkinson almost had it right when he called Richards versus Reynolds a “David v Goliath” story, save for the corporate Goliath ducked this time instead of getting rocked.

    Good on ya, Cam. And good on all those that had your back. Next time, we’ll just need a bigger rock.

  2. kelly richards says:

    Tyler. Your article says it all. Thank you and the community for the support you give my son

  3. Pete Burbage says:

    Go Cam! Stoked you got so much support but bummed we didn’t roll out enough votes for ya.The Lowcountry’s got your back my friend.

  4. Clint Wills says:

    Way to go, Cam! Kelly, you gotta be so proud of your son! If the son is anything like the dad, this couldn’t happen to a nicer guy! PS. I’m living in Charleston now, still surf only Perfection boards – need to get up there soon to get a new one!

  5. Adam Warden says:

    Way to go Kelly an all of Garden City!!! Seeing so much support for one local kid something a lot of towns don’t always have… Something to be seriously proud of! Yesterday was awesome!!!

  6. Eric Powell says:

    Very accurate article – the international surf world knows who Cam Richards is now – if they didn’t already. Dane might not be as well-known as Kelly Slater to most people but he is as beloved as they come in the surfing world. Congrats to Cam and his family – keep up the hard work and excellent surfing. Cam has a very bright future. If I could recast my vote I would.

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