The singalongs, the crafts, the red-faced excuses over a scandalously located splotch of poison ivy — something about camp just seems to stoke the summertime fires. Well, now there’s even more news to melt your marshmallow, at least for seven fortunate surfers who were recently selected to spend a week in Costa Rica as part of Surfing’s Camp Hobgood Giveway.

It was January when C.J. and Damien Hobgood first pitched the idea of a surf camp for up-and-comers in need of training, an idea we were more than happy to put in our February issue. And while we expected the twins’ popularity to generate some serious response, we had no idea just how big a reaction the Hobgoods would bring. By the time the March 31 cut-off date arrived, more than 700 competitors had volunteered to attend from places as far away as France, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Canada and Spain, proving summer vacations are much more than an American dream.

Entries were received through the guys’ website and came in the form of 50-to-150 word essays on why they want to go to Costa Rica with the Hobgoods. All letters were read and then judged on desire and creativity, but in the end, only the following young talents would fill the coveted five boys and two girls spots, working on strategy with the Florida flyers while enjoying some fun freesurfs in between:

Stu Cornuelle; 14 years old, from Honolulu, HI
Stirling McAuliffe; 16 years old, from Rumson, NJ
Drew Pringle; 14 years old, from Wadmalaw Island, SC
Anthony Palazzolo; 16 years old, Lomita, CA
Chris Robbins, 13 years old, El Cajon, Ca.

Esther Hahn; 17 years old, from Manhattan Bch, CA
Ashley Bobb; 17 years old, from Melbourne Bch, FL

Making the final selections took all three months, but it was a labor of love, one the Hobgoods found almost as rewarding as the winners themselves.

“I had no idea this would be such a hard process,” said C.J. “We had lots of really good letters, and I mean really good letters. And we had to scale it down to where we could only pick seven total….I wish everyone who entered could go to Costa Rica with us.”

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to make a living doing something we really love to do,” continued Damien. “C.J. and I know we are blessed to be doing what we’re doing, and we’re really happy to have the chance to share our experiences with and surf some waves with surfers we would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet.”

Of course, even as happy as the twins were, they weren’t half as excited as the winners. According to the Hobgoods’ manager Mitch Varnes, who had the pleasure of notifying all seven: “The kids were so stoked, about half of ’em started crying on the phone.”

No surprise there: crying on the way to summer camp has been a veritable rite of passage for excited youngsters for decades. But upon return expect nothing but laughter — and some well-crafted cutbacks — from this group of happy campers.

Look for a full report from Camp Hobgood in a future issue of Surfing magazine. The Hobgoods send thanks to everyone for participating, and especially to the Costa Rica Board of Tourism, the Terazza del Pacifico oceanfront hotel, Surfing Magazine, SG Magazine, 54321, {{{Fox}}} {{{Sports}}} Network, Rusty Apparel and Surfboards, Oakley, Globe shoes, Body Glove, X-Trak and Quiet Flight Surfboards and Surf Shops.