What is Surf Casting?
THE AMERICAN HERITAGE
Imagine two or three anglers on a beach in New Jersey or Long Island two or three centuries ago at the dawn of recreational fishing. It’s a slow day, so these surf fishermen turn their attention from an unproductive tide to boasting about how far into that tide they can cast. It’s difficult to settle the matter by continuing to lob sinkers, floats and lures into the water, so they decide to cast their tackle at a nearby field in order to measure their dis-tances against one another’s.
Although the origin story is incomplete, organized surf casting competitions in the US reportedly date back to the late 19th century. In the 1930s through the 1950s, a Californian named August “Primo” Livenais shattered all known records with casts upward of 800 feet. These distances piqued the interest of British surf fishermen looking for innovative ways to increase their cod catches from shore. The British perfected long distance tackle and techniques which were adopted in Europe and beyond, leading to an international interest in distance casting tournaments. Eventually, achievements from outside the US eclipsed those of American casters, and the last American to compete internationally was North Carolina’s Tommy Farmer in the early 2000s.
THE MODERN SPORT
The sport of surf casting consists of competitions where casters gather on a measured and marked field. It’s a 30 degree wedge shape radiating from the “oche” (pr. AH-kee): the point where competitors cast from.
There are four sinker weight classes: 100 gram, 125 gram, 150 gram, and 175 gram, each with corresponding minimum legal line diameters (thinner line = farther casts). Casters are free to use any rods and reels they like, but most serious competitors use very powerful rods from 13 to 15 feet in length, paired with a customized – or “tuned” – small conventional reel.
The object of these competitions is to cast the farthest within the bounds of the “casting court”. Depending on the number of athletes, a caster will have several casting opportunities on a given day of competition.
The goal between all the efforts of the USA Surf Casting team and organization are three-fold:
- Beginning in 2024, send an inaugural men’s American surf casting team to the FIPS-Mer World Championship in Viterbo, Italy followed by both men’s and women’s teams for subsequent World Championships appearance.
- By 2029, host a Pan-Am tournament and a FIPS-Mer World Championship on US soil.
- Through our marketing and publicity platforms, promote the sport of surf casting in the US to attract and cultivate the highest-achieving surf casting athletes this country has to offer.