That day I arrived with the storm. Five minutes on the beach and the skies went black, thunder and lighting started and the winds were howling. But there was hope for the madness to pass and the winds to switch offshore. After a couple of hours of hiding in a tent, we were in for a treat. The perfect storm hit National Blvd in Long Beach, NY for an epic afternoon of pro surfing talent, camaraderie and community celebration.

NY Surf Week kicked off with the NY Sea Surf Open Contest, where 24 surfers got to indulge a full day of perfect waves. It was a summer surf playground with a twist of dark and stormy.

"Being in the NYSea Open takes me back to the days of being a grom at all the amateur surfing events around Long Island. I met so many of my friends in the surf community at these contests. It's amazing that 10-15 years later I'm still competing against these guys," Jeff Anthony told me.

"Most of us are not out on any tour trying to compete for points and glory anymore, but we all come back to do the NYSea Open," Anthony added. "From Rockaway to Montauk all the boys still have that connection that started as 10 year olds. Now we are just a little bit older and there is more cash and bragging rights on the line. I get a good bit of nostalgia every year that I enter the contest and that's why it is basically the only competition that most of us do all year. Can't wait for the next years of NYSea Open!"

The finals—full of amazing airs, cut backs, salty pockets and sunset sparkles—saw Long Beach local surfer TJ Gumiela face off against returning champion Leif Engstrom. Third place was tied and went to Balaram Stack and Alex Fawess. Thanks to all the surfers, it was a rocking show of Atlantic Ocean beauty, energy and surf art.

By Andreea Waters