Surf's Up (And In): Jay 16-Year-Old Top Pro Indoor Surfer

Jan 9, 2019

Vermont is not known for its great surfing. But the second-ranked pro indoor surfer in the world lives in landbound — and snowbound — Jay, and she's not even out of high school yet. She's 16-year-old Monica Caffrey.

You can catch her riding the waves on the Flow Rider in the dead of winter every weekend at the Pump House indoor water park at Jay Peak Resort.

Monica says she got interested in the sport when the Pump House first opened and lifeguards were being trained on the Flow Rider.

"We had all the pros from all around the world and country come to teach the lifeguards and they talked to my cousin and said, 'Why don't you come down to Florida and Alabama to ride with us and compete?' And my uncle invited my dad and I to go with them," she said.

Her uncle is Mike Pappalardo, who also serves as Monica's coach. A former professional snowboarder, he was also the electrician who wired the Pump House as it was being built.

"I watched [Monica] develop from her first competition at Waterville USA in Gulf Shores, Alabama," Pappalardo relates with pride.

"The first time we got her on the Flow, she did wonderful. And from there it's been history."

As a professional sport, indoor surfing isn't particularly lucrative. At the nationals, Monica says she won $250 and got $500 for finishing second at the Worlds at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. To fund her travel costs for competitions, Caffrey designs, silk screens and sells her own Flow Dog hats and tee shirts.

Currently, she's also working on earning her pilot's license with a career ambition of flying for the Vermont Air National Guard.

Broadcast on Monday, January 7, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.