You’ll have to forgive Kyle Busey if he seems to be a little sleepy these days.
Busey, 32, became a father for the first time when he and his wife, Maxie, welcomed Charlie Joseph into the world July 29.
Between changing diapers and getting almost no sleep the past few days, Busey, a five-time state surfing champion, decided to compete in this weekend’s South Carolina Governor’s Cup of Surfing, which concluded Sunday at the Washout on Folly Beach.
Busey won the men's open division at Governor's Cup for the second straight year and the fifth time overall. Bree Labiak won the Wahine Division of the Governor’s Cup for the second time in three years.
Labiak, 15, started surfing when she was 7 after watching the movie Soul Surfer.
“I saw Bethany Hamilton get her arm bit off by a shark and I was like, ‘this girl is strong and I want to be that strong someday,’” said Labiak, who won the event in 2017 at the age of 13.
Busey, who operates Carolina Salt Surf Lessons, wasn’t even going to compete this year until a friend told him that waves at the Washout would be good enough for the contest.
“I haven’t had any sleep in a week and I hadn’t surfed for about three or four months before today,” Busey said. “My wife was nice enough to let me out of the house. She’s been with the baby all day, so I want to get home to her as quick as a I can and let her get a break.”
Busey has been a professional surfer and still enters the occasional pro contest. But his primary focus of late has been on his business, which includes surf, paddleboards and kayak lessons and rentals.
“It’s hard to get by on surfing salary, so I do a little bit of everything to make extra money,” Busey said. “I’ve done construction, you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve had some of the worst jobs you can have to make ends meet. I still dabble in remodeling from time to time.”
As much time as Busey spends in the waves, he doesn’t get many chances to surf.
“I’m in the water every day, but it’s all about the customer then,” Busey said. “The last thing I want to do after spending 12 hours in the water, is sit out in the sun. I want to go home and sit in the air conditioning and hang out with my family.”
The waves on Sunday were chest high with some shoulder-high sets during the morning. However, as the tide went out, the waves became smaller for the finals.
“The waves tend to dissipate as the tide goes out, even with this swell," said Busey, who at 6-5 is one of the tallest competitors of the event. " I was hoping they were going to run the heats this morning when the waves were better, but they kept to the original schedule and when the tide goes out, it’s tough for a big guy like me.”
One of the youngest finalists in the men’s division was McHenry Jackson, who just finished his senior year at School of the Arts and will enroll at College of Charleston in a couple of weeks. It was the first time Jackson has made the finals of the Governor’s Cup.
“It was pretty fun to surf against all those local heroes,” Jackson said. “Kyle Busey is the one I looked up to the most, he rips the hardest.”
Labiak, who is from Conway, hopes to become a professional surfer one day.
“I want to get into professional surfing and continue to get better and hopefully make the Championship Tour one day,” said Labiak, who is a rising sophomore at Coastal Leadership Academy. “I think I surfed pretty decent considering the conditions in the finals. Winning means I get to put my name back on the trophy again, which means a lot to me."
Three generations of the Costa family made it to the finals on Sunday. Noah Costa was a finalist in the Boys U-12 division, while his father Chris is was finalist in the Open division and grandfather Milton won the Grands Legend division.
Girls U-12: 1. Whitney Gwisc; 2. Libby-Kate Hammel; 3. Kallady Youngblood; 4. Rylie Smith.
Boys U-12: 1. Cole Dilling; 2. Charlie Abraham; 3. Noah Costa; 4. Bodhi Millis; 5. Judah Costa; 6. Dylan Bailes; 7. Kolton Youngblood.
Girls U-14: 1. Cameron Foley; 2. Mary Claire Morgan; 3. Libby Kate Hammel; 4. Molly Loring; 5. Ella Bethard; 6. Rylie Smith.
Boys U-14: 1. Mako Musilunas; 2. Cole Dilling; 3. Wyatt Deaton; 4. Palladin Pelliccia; 5. Jasper Fun; 6. Charlie Abraham.
Girls U-16: 1. Ashton Loring; 2. Krista Grace Hammel; 3. Zola Rucker; 4. Lilly Abraham.
Boys U-16: 1. Cam Davis; 2. Palladin Pellaccia; 3. Mako Musilunas; 4. Griffin Jackson; 5. Scout Stephens; 6. Brycen DePass.
Jr Women U-18: 1. Bree Labiak; 2. Sylvia Windham; 3. Kayella Youngblood; 4. Ashton Loring; 5. Krista Grace Hammel; 6. Natalie Scarpa; 7. Cheney Crowe.
Jr Men U-18: 1. Jack Spahr; 2. Jasper Millis; 3. Griffin Jackson; 4. Ben Allen; 5. Ronan Lurkin; 6. Brycen DePass.
Women’s: 1. Hampden Thomas; 2. Kristin Tanner; 3. Rhi Scarpa;
Ladies: 1. Vivian Jordan.
Men’s: 1. McHenry Jackson; 2. Chris Moore; 3. Evan Tanner; 4. Hartley DePass; 5. Dominick Schettini; 6. Kimble Youngblood.
Masters: 1. Kyle Busey; 2. Anthony Osment; 3. Chris Costa; 4. Caleb Costa; 5. Charlie Hussey.
Senior Men: 1. Todd Youngblood; 2. Shawn Clark; 3. Randy Lackey; 4. Jeff Wasselchalk.
Legends: 1. Kai Dilling; 2. Paul Martin; 3. Mik Musilunas; 4. Charlie Stonecypher; 5. Billy Hancock. 6. Bennan Wesley. 7. Lucky Moyer.
Grand Legends: 1. Milton Costa; 2. Norman Godley; 3. Wilton Jordan; 4. Thornton White.
Menehune U-14: 1. Mako Musilunas; 2. Wyatt Deaton; 3. Cole Dilling; 4. Jasper Fun; 5. Cameron Foley; 6. Charlie Abraham.
Jr Women U-18: 1. Kayella Youngblood; 2. Bree Labiak; 3. Ashton Loring; 4. Zola Rucker; 5. Cheney Crowe.
Jr Men U-18: 1. Mako Musilunas; 2. Jasper Millis; 3. Griffin Jackson; 4. Ronan Lurkin; 5. Jack Spahr; 6. Avery Fun; 7. Porter Balderson.
Women’s: 1. Hampden Thomas; 2. Kristin Tanner.
Men’s: 1. McHenry Jackson; 2. Hartley DePass; 3. Charlie Hussey.
Masters: 1. Shawn Clark; 2. Todd Youngblood.
Legends: 1. Kai Dilling; 2. Paul Martin; 3. Billy Hancock; 4. Lucky Moyer; 5. Mik Musilunas; 6. Charlie Stonecyper; 7. Stephen Fletcher.
Grand Legends: 1. Norman Godley; 2. Thornton White; 3. Milton Costa; 4. Stephen Fletcher.
SUP: 1. Hartley DePass; 2. Cameron Foley.
Open Bodyboard: 1. Charlie Stonecypher; 2. Brycen DePass; 3. Mako Musilunas; 4. Kimble Youngblood.
Wahine Open: 1. Bree Labiak; 2. Kayella Youngblood; 3. Hampden Thomas; 4. Krista Grace Hammel; 5. Sylvia Windham; 6. Ashton Loring.
Men’s Open: 1. Kyle Busey; 2. Chris Costa; 3. Shawn Clark; 4. McHenry Jackson; 5. Anthony Osment; 6. Chris Moore.