New York surfer wins Red Bull Night Riders

  • Balaram Stack, winner of the 2019 Red Bull Night Riders at the Jacksonville Beach Pier, celebrates on the winner's podium. (photo by Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool)
    Balaram Stack, winner of the 2019 Red Bull Night Riders at the Jacksonville Beach Pier, celebrates on the winner's podium. (photo by Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool)

Balaram Stack of Long Beach, N.Y., took the win in one of the premiere surf contests on the East Coast, Red Bull Night Riders. The tow-at surf competition featured six pros squaring off under the moon and stars, all attempting to pull off the best big air trick.
Each surfer was given 15 minutes to pull off their best aerial. With the momentum of the jet ski towing them toward the waves, and the bigger than average swells in Jacksonville Beach, the crowd was treated to a competition they will not soon forget.
The event has roots in North Florida dating back to 2010, and the airs seen here were some of the biggest yet. After his victory, Stack reflected on what sets Red Bull Night Riders apart.
“It’s so fun to have guaranteed air with the jet ski assist," said Stack. "It makes it such a fun event. It’s nice it’s at night, too, because it attracts the best crowd. Thanks to everyone at Jacksonville Beach.”
Besides Stack, participants this year included former championship tour surfer Cory Lopez, siblings and previous Red Bull Night Riders winners Evan, Cody and Tristan Thompson, and winner of the inaugural event in 2010, Eric Geiselman.
Stack was the last rider of the night, and knew he had to eclipse Cory Lopez’s score of 6.0 to take the win. He was able to land a tweaked out frontside air the judges scored a 6.5, giving him his first Red Bull Night Riders win in his third attempt. Eric Geiselman rounded out the top three.
The Thompson Brothers are Jacksonville Beach natives, so the crowd was pulling hard for them on their home turf. Cody Thompson, a two-time winner, acknowledged the strong support from his hometown.
“The surf community is just unreal in Jacksonville Beach," said Thompson. "They really back us. The local vibe and crowd make it a perfect place for Red Bull Night Riders every year.”
His brother Evan, winner of Red Bull Night Riders in 2016, echoed his sentiments.
“It’s a great feeling having so much support," he said. "It’s one of the few events you can feel that support out in the water and when you’re walking through the crowd before you paddle out. It’s a really legitimate stage for surfers and makes you want to perform for everyone.”
Surfers were judged by a panel of their peers: pros Oliver Kurtz, Asher Nolan and Blake Jones.
As winner, Stack took home the entire prize purse of $5,000, and automatic entry next year when Red Bull Night Riders returns to Jacksonville Beach.

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