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World's best surfers shred big waves in New York

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Reigning champion Kelly Slater surfs within the barrel of a wave as he competes in round 5, heat 2 of the Quiksilver Pro New York off Long Beach, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.

At least that's what East Coast residents and the best surfers in the world should be saying as the Quiksilver Pro New York enters its final rounds on Friday.

Though many events were curtailed by planners not wanting to further strain infrastructure weakened by Hurricane Irene, locals still made their way out to the beach to watch top talents compete on the beaches they frequent on weekends.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Thomas and Jessica Hetherington arrive at the Long Beach station on the Long Island Railroad to watch the Quiksilver Pro New York on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. The couple lives in New York City, and is excited to have the tournament here. "It's great to get this close to the surfers. If this was basketball, you'd be right there on the court." Thomas, who lived on Oahu in Hawaii for six years, misses being this close to the pros that frequented surf meccas like the Banzai Pipeline.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Spectators crowd Long Beach on Long Island, N.Y., to watch surfers compete at the Quiksilver Pro New York off Long Beach, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. Long Beach is roughly 5 miles east of the New York City limits in Far Rockaway, Queens.

Spared the wrath of Hurricane Katia, but graced by the large waves pushed ashore in her safe passage over the Atlantic, the Association of Surfing Professionals' tournament is enjoying some of the best waves Long Island will see all season.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Reigning champion Kelly Slater surfs as he competes in round 5, heat 2 of the Quiksilver Pro New York off Long Beach, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

A steady crescendo in the quality of surf and weather has helped increase crowd size as well. With a break in the rain, many of the competitors stopped to work the ropes, exchanging a few words and signing autographs.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Jeremy Flores signs autographs for fans after competing in round 5, heat 2 of the Quiksilver Pro New York off Long Beach, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

The contest ends Friday, just after some of the best hurricane-driven waves are slated to crash ashore.

Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com

Spectators crowd Long Beach on Long Island, N.Y., to watch the surfers compete at the Quiksilver Pro New York off Long Beach, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.