By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on September 17, 2021
When longtime friends Greg Sherman and Stephen Lamm were kids growing up in Southern Shores and catching waves at the local break, neither of them could have known that their love of surfing would morph into something that would benefit the Outer Banks community every year.
But for the past 12 years, the two friends have created a popular local annual event that has raised more than $150,000 in sponsorships and entry fees for Outer Banks residents in need. At the same time, it has become a much-loved community event and tradition among many families.
The Throwdown Surf Classic first debuted in Chicahauk in 2009, when Sherman and Lamm turned their idea of holding a fun local surf contest to raise money for a good cause into reality. Originally called the “Throwdown North of Town,” this year’s event will be held on Sept. 25 at the Chicahauk beach access in Southern Shores.
While the event’s board has traditionally selected a person or family in need to receive the proceeds of the event, usually one facing a health and financial crisis, Sherman said that over the past two years, the Throwdown has been partnering with the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and Executive Director Patty McKenna.
“The growth of this event has been amazing to think about,” Sherman observed, noting that in the second year, he asked longtime friend and local pro-surfer Noah Snyder to get involved.
“Noah came in like an angel and took the event to another level. From there we really had a great team of families and businesses supporting the event and those have continued to grow every year,” he said.
Bolstering the event further in 2016, Lynn Shell with Outer Banks Boarding Company brought in major surf sponsor Rip Curl. “This year, we have almost eighty sponsors with most of those being local businesses right here on the Outer Banks,” Sherman explained. “This event would not be what it is without all of them.”
The Throwdown each year draws about 165 children and adults who compete, and this year, the event has a record 172 competitors. “To hear so many kids talking about how this is their favorite event of the year is really cool,” Sherman acknowledged. “And it makes me, and everyone involved, feel so proud. We put our heart and soul into this every year, and as soon as it’s over, I’m ready to do it again.”
Sherman said the million dollar question every year is what the ocean conditions and surf will be like on the day of the event.
“For the past twelve years, we’ve experienced it all – super windy, northeast choppy ocean, no wind and perfect glassy conditions, six to 10-foot gnarly waves, barely one foot and rideable waves, and everything in between,” he added,
But, regardless of the conditions, the Throwdown has always gone on. “I truly believe God has his hands on this event and blesses us each and every year,” said Sherman. “I never imagined this would become what it is today, but I feel that it’s been God’s plan because his plans are the greatest.”