April 25, 2018 – The ESA held its 2018 Southeast Regional Surfing Championships presented by Surfer Dudes, Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism and Long Doggers this past weekend at Paradise Beach Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida. Surfers of all ages from Florida, Alabama and Georgia competed for the titles of ESA Southeast Champion for their age divisions. Friday saw less than ideal wave conditions but perfect weather for the ESA adult and Open divisions. Waves on Saturday increased in size from the strong onshore winds that continued throughout the end of the event on Sunday, bringing torrential rain during the youth finals in the morning of the last day.
“Having waves for our competitors to put on a good event is key, and we certainly had contestable surf for this year’s contest,” said ESA’s executive director, Michelle Sommers. “It wouldn’t be an ESA championship event without some sort of crazy weather to deal with.”
Standouts this weekend proved that they can excel in any condition. Central Florida’s Steve Moldenhauer and Jonathan Wallhauser showed everyone how to surf their home break, both claiming first place finishes in their respective divisions. ESA’s North Gulf Florida’s Taylor Greene claimed the top three spots in all of her finals. All-Stars Carl Burger and Braeden Kopec were on fire providing spectators and online viewers a fantastic show of surfing.
Surfer Dudes were on the beach offering their fun product for the young kids to play with while the big kids surfed. Buddy by the Sea provided its apparel to spectators and prizes for the finalists. Sharkbanz, Beach Gladiator and Sticky Bumps Surf Wax gave spectators demos and samples of their products throughout the weekend.
This ESA event brought back the exciting All-Star Tag Team competition in which ESA districts compete against each other with teams of 4 surfers. Central Florida claimed bragging rights, and a cool trophy, over Palm Beach, North Florida, St. Augustine and North Central Florida districts. All-Star Coach Jason Motes said, “I’m super stoked that the Tag Team Challenge has returned. In this individual sport, it gives the districts a chance to work as a team to go head-to-head against one another.” Motes competed with his local ESA NFL district who came in third. “We were rooting each other on in the water, communicating with each other on who had a good wave and who needed one, and worked together to truly have a blast out there!”
ESA also offered a competitors’ luncheon at the beach on Saturday so surfers didn’t have to leave for food while surfing their heats. Shea Lopez and James McMullin kept everyone informed throughout the weekend as the professional judges, headed up by Gordon “Gordo” Lawson, tallied up the scores.
Special thanks to all of the event sponsors and people who made this event a success:
Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism
Buddy by the Sea
Eastern Surf Magazine
Ron Jon Surf Shop
Sun on the Beach
Doubletree Melbourne Beach
Crom Equipment Rentals
Kala Brand Music
Tara Mosley Graphic Design
Samantha Gallo Art
Surfers from South Carolina through Delaware will meet at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina next week, May 4-6, for ESA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Surfing Championship presented by The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau & Surfer Dudes. There will be a live webcast beginning with the first heats and running through the weekend. Be sure to mark your calendars to attend in person as Surfer Dudes, Buddy by the Sea, Sharkbanz and Beach Gladiator will be on the beach each day, and Pamlico Jack’s will be hosting the competitors’ banquet on Friday evening at 7pm.