Powell won first place and took home $5,000 in the pro division of the sixth annual Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest at Wrightsville Beach on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Wrightsville native, and recent UNC-Wilmington graduate, said he felt confident about his performance, but wasn’t sure about his standing.
â€śI had no idea I was going to win,â€ť he said. â€śI felt like I did alright. I just tried not to think about what the other guys were doing.â€ť
Most of Powell’s waves came in the first 10 minutes of the 30-minute final. He attempted to ride a few toward the end of the session, but couldn’t gain enough speed to complete any.
â€śNothing really came my way,â€ť he said. â€śI was waiting for a wave to come that would put me over the top.â€ť
Powell garnered the loudest cheers from the crowd throughout the competition. The applause became even louder when his name was called as the champion.
â€śThere are a lot of people that came here to watch me, so that feels great,â€ť he said. â€śI was just doing my best out there and everybody said afterward that I did really well.â€ť
Ben Bourgeois, another Wrightsville native and local fan favorite, finished second and won $2,500. The surfing veteran said he was just happy to be in the finals.
â€śIt was a fun day of surfing,â€ť Bourgeois said. â€śWe’re all friends out here. I’m starting to get old so I don’t really have that competitive drive anymore.â€ť
Michael Powell of Wilmington; $5,000 Purse Ben Bourgeois of Wilmington; $3,000 Purse Heath Walker of Australia; $2,000 Purse Dylan Goodale of Hawaii; $1,500 Kate Easton of Virginia Beach Kayleigh Winslow of Wrightsville Beach Leldon McCleary of South Carolina Carleigh Sion of South Carolina Emily Ruppert of Florida Haley Watson of Florida Julia Barrett Jo Pickett of Wilmington Tony Silvagni of Kure Beach Bradley Rose of Carolina Beach Steve Mangiacarre of Wilmington Weston Williams of Wilmington Cam Richards of South Carolina Noah Sweizer of Florida Luke Marks of Florida Luke Gordon of South Carolina Cam Richards of South Carolina Hunter Heaverly of Emerald Isle, North Carolina Shane Burns of Wilmington, North Carolina Keto Burns of New York