Balaram Stack claims 2019 Red Bull Night Riders

November 25, 2019 | Surfing
Balaram Stack: getting airborne at Jacksonville Beach | Photo: Red Bull

Balaram Stack, from Long Beach, New York, pulled out the win in the 2019 Red Bull Night Riders, one of the premium surf contests on the east coast.

The tow-out 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 tonight down in Jacksonville Beach, the crowd was treated to a competition they will not soon forget.

The event dates back to 2010 and has roots in North Florida. The airs seen here was some of the biggest yet.

After his victory, Balaram reflected on what sets Night Riders apart.

"It's' so fun to have guaranteed air with the jet ski assist. It makes it such a fun event. It's cool. It's at night too because it attracts the best crowd. Thanks to everyone at Jacksonville Beach!" said Stack.

Besides Balaram, participants this year included former Championship Tour surfer Cory Lopez, siblings and previous event winners Evan, Cody, and Tristan Thompson and champion of the inaugural event in 2010, Eric Geiselman.

Balaram 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, and the judges scored a 6.5, giving him his first event trophy in his third attempt. Eric Geiselman rounded out the top three.

Cody Thompson: he never misses a chance to compete in the Red Bull Night Riders | Photo: Red Bull

An Unreal Night Surfing Experience

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 here in Jacksonville Beach. They really back us. The local vibe and crowd make it a perfect place for Red Bull Night Riders every year," added Thompson."

His brother Evan, winner of Red Bull Night Riders in 2016, echoed his sentiments.

"It's a great feeling having so much support. It's one of the few contests where you can feel that support out in the water, and when you're walking through the crowd before you paddle out," stressed Evan.

"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 the winner, Balaram took home the entire prize purse of $5,000, and automatic entry next year when Red Bull Night Riders return to Jacksonville Beach for another year of big air in the evening sky.

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