Cam Richards needs your votes.
The Garden City Beach surfer has advanced in an online video contest that gives the competition’s winner entry into the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles surf event Sept. 9. The stop at the Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif., is part of the Association of Professional Surfer’s World Tour.
“Basically, it turns surfing into a social media war,” said Kelly Richards, Cam’s father and owner of the Village Surf Shoppe in Garden City Beach. “We’re trying to get the whole local crew and the East Coast to make sure they vote for Cam.”
Richards, who made it to the semifinals last year, is competing Tuesday with Carlos Munoz virtually until 11:59 p.m. PDT. He earned more votes than Australian surfer Jack Freestone on Monday to advance.
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“I came 200 votes short of winning,” Cam Richards said of last year’s competition. “I didn’t win, but with everything that happened it felt like the same thing.”
Cam Richards received shout-outs on Twitter from celebrities like Jamie Foxx which helped him reach the semifinals.
“It really gets our hometown on the map,” he said, of online competitions like this. “When I tell people I surf and I’m from South Carolina, they go ‘South Carolina has an ocean?’ It does.”
Cam Richards said Friday he thought Freestone was his toughest competition.
“He’s got a strong fan base and his girlfriend has a million followers on Instagram,” Richards said. “It’s the hardest person I could go up against. That’s why I need everyone’s help.”
Winning is important to his career in multiple ways.
“Right now all the companies are really concerned about your image and your social media presence,” he said. “People really like to see you do well in contests, but name recognition is a really big deal.”
Winning also would also give him a taste of the highest level of the sport.
“If I win the voting I will be able to compete in the biggest contest in the world, surfing against Kelly Slater and the best surfers in the world,” Cam Richards said. “It’s a contest I’ve always wanted to do my whole life. Right now I’m not good enough to qualify into it. It’s a good way to lead into it and maybe do well in a contest against the best in the world.”
To vote for Cam, visit www.thehurleypro.com.