Heres a few few fun facts about the origin of our next rider.....
In 1893 one of the world's most famous soft drinks was born here, Pepsi.....
Because of the remote location which provided privacy, soft grounds and steady winds, the famous Wright Brothers finally achieved their dream in 1903 by building a heavier than air flying machine, "The Wright Flyer"
Heres one.... More American Idol finalists are from this region than anywhere else in the states......
In 1914 Babe Ruth made history when he hit his first home run here.
The coastline here was also a favourite haunt of the infamous pirate Blackbeard and the list goes on, but for the purposes of this piece please let me introduce you to our next inspirational rider.......
"Hi my name is Andrew Bitleris I am 34 and I'm from North Carolina.
My Mom bought me my first bodyboard a Morey Kahala and I was riding at age 7.
The guys I looked up to when I was growing up were Mike Stewart, Jeff Hubbard, Paul Roach, Andre Botha, & Jacob VanderVelde.
I started riding in Emerald Isle, NC at Bogue Inlet Pier, I went to college at UNCW where I began traveling all over the NC coast for waves with friends.
I would have to say an empty sandbar in North Carolina with friends is my favourite break at home.
There’s a really fun wedge in Costa Rica that I enjoy but I would have say North Carolina is still my favourite. It serves up some of the best barrels if you know where to look! I really want to go to this wedge in Nicaragua and of course go to Hawaii.
My very first board was a Morey Kahala however my first slick bottom was a blue Challenger.
I think of the Bodyboarding World as one big crew, we all enjoy surfing waves on a piece of foam. There are definitely some boys and girls I hit up when the swell looks good!
I’ve competed in some contests throughout my years. I’ve been able to compete at the Shacked Boys Shorebreak Showdown in Outer Banks the last two years in a row.
The first year I placed 2nd and last year I placed 3rd. I also competed in both Open and Pro divisions in Florida for the Flagler Surf Series placing 6th in Pro and 4th in Open.
I was also able to compete in the Belmar Pro this past September but did not place as high as I hoped, contests are tough but always make you a better rider! Its all about having fun!
My day job is in the technology industry, It really allows for me to travel! I want to give a huge shout out to Debbie Colwell, Jolan Schmidt, Pete PMA Anaya, Jacob VanderVelde at Custom X Bodyboards! Big shout out to Chris Clark at Bomber Floating Eyewear.
I can’t thank them enough for all the support and believing in me. Custom X is the last standing true American bodyboard company, best design in boards, fins, and leashes right in California! Bomber are amazing floating sunglasses, super lightweight, durable, and I can wear them out in the water and not worry about losing them! I couldn’t be happier being a part and giving back to those who want to try our sport!
I try and support Vintage bodyboard clothing such as Plastic People and The Cast both by Chuck Guarino from New Jersey now living in LES, NYC. I started NCBB and have been making shirts and stickers specifically for bodyboarders! We have big plans for 2020.
I have a lot of the older No Friends soundtracks downloaded and jam out to them! But, one of my favourite bands is right here in North Carolina, ASG!
I have a lot of memories from bodyboarding, a few stick out but really one in particular. One of those late fall days where the morning air is crisp, feeling the offshore spray on your back as your keep paddling out just past the peak. There’s a little bit of a lineup and it’s too good out there to hassle for waves. Pookie and I decided to venture down from the crowd and we ended up scoring. I don’t want to give away the spot but it’s a local wedge that really does its thing on the right swell.
We had these almond wedge left barrels all to ourselves. It would bounce and a frame and just pitch over into hardly any water. You’d have to pull up hard on the nose of your board to scoop into the barrel, I can’t even remember how long I was in there but it felt like a revolving door and I was never going to come out. We surfed that spot for 2 hours until the tide took over. I will never forget that late fall day….I’m so glad I listened to you Pookie but bummed I didn’t bring my camera!
I am currently mowing some foam in the backyard shed that I have at the house, nothing too crazy. Just cutting up some PE/PP cores and slowly learning the craft. PMA has been a huge help sharing tidbits of his knowledge when I get stuck on certain things. I’d really like to spend some time out in California with PMA as a Mentor!
I am a rep for Bomber Floating Eyewear. They support the Bodyboarding industry and that’s what we need going forward for our future. Support those who support us! I am also the owner and CEO of North Carolina Bodyboarders aka NCBB!
I travel to Costa Rica often as I have many Ticos there. I’ve also travelled to Puerto Rico, California, and Ireland. I am fortunate to be able to travel so much due to my remote job. This past 2019 year I was able to travel to Colombia, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Jersey and Portugal. I have some trips lined up for 2020, currently going to Florida in March for Dan Worley’s contest. I hope to make the Colorada Pro this coming August. I am also going to Kevin Opie’s Nicaragua Barrel Bash the end of August. That’s all I currently have planned right now!
I have been shooting since 2005. I started out with a 35mm SLR camera, it wasn’t until several years later that I started shooting digital and using a Chad Stickney waterhousing. Being a bodyboarder, I fell in love with photography, especially water photography. I am a freelance photographer and submit to Custom X, Eastern Surf Magazine, Movement Magazine, and other local magazines.
You can check out my work on Instagram @andrew_bitleris and on Facebook at Andrew Bitleris Photography.
I am currently behind the scenes running social media for APB North America and Bodyboarding US for both Instagram and Facebook. APB North America & Bodyboarding US just finished their first Bodyboarding Festival back in November which was a huge success. Currently, the Colorada Pro 2020 is confirmed in Mexico for this upcoming August. There are still talks about more contests and festivals in the future. I am glad to be apart of two great organizations who are focusing on bringing back Bodyboarding in the right way!
Photo Credits include:
Anthony Arturo Leone
John Mangini III
If you are in the UK April 24th-26th head on over to Croyde where the guys from Ocean Corduroy, Salt Water Therapy and The Bodyboard Depot are holding their "Ocean Tribal Gathering" A Family Water sports Weekend come get involved.... A proceeds will be going to Bowel Cancer UK.....
Grab yourself a bargain we have teamed up with SENNOSEN for 10% off click the link below and use promo code KRISTIANMARTIN.....
Come join us this August in Mexico, click on the link below to secure your spot........
Or if you would prefer an All female trip hit up Valentina Diaz for her girls trip to Mexico in May.....
Stevie Maher will be running his Original All Bodyboard charters this June/July to The Mentawais Islands and Telos.
These interviews are brought to you in association with: