Surfers triumphed over rough conditions to impress judges and claim victory at the Eastern Surfing Association’s 2016 Southeast Regional Surfing Championship presented by Long Doggers this past weekend. Competitors came from all over the state of Florida, Georgia and even Tennessee to qualify for ESA’s Easterns® Championships that is held each September.
“It was a challenging event for our competitors,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s Executive Director. “I am so proud of everyone who paddled out and made the best of the conditions that we had.”
The best conditions were on Friday and allowed CJ Garren to claim victory in the GoPro Open Shortboard Division, with Rodney Logan and Chase Modelski following in second and third places, respectively. Logan took home the Iron Man award for placing in the top three in three separate divisions, including first in Senior Men and third in Masters Longboard. Modelski continued into the weekend to take third in the Boys U16 and placed second in Junior Men U18. He came behind Jonathon Wallhauser who took first in both Junior Men U18 and Junior Longboard.
Madeline Zeuli, All-Star Braidyn Cunningham and Coral Schuster surfed their way to first place finishes in the Junior Women U18, Girls U16 and Girls U14 divisions, respectively. Ryan Huckabee was carried up the beach for his Menehue win, and Nicholas Ferry won both the Menehune Bodyboard and Menehune Longboard. The Junior Women Longboard Division had a challenge in the overhead, blown-out surf but Lily Whatley took the win, followed by All-Star Georgia Cook and Olivia Beaven. Whatley said, “The waves were pretty crazy but conditions like those really level the playing field and shows who the real competitors are.”
All-Star Noah Dovin charged hard all weekend and took away the Youth Iron Man award for his dedication. Dovin won first in both the Boys U16 and U14 divisions, and took fourth in the Junior Men U18. Eden Lange was busy all weekend placing second in the Junior Women U18, and Girls U16 and U14 divisions, which gave her the Youth Iron Woman award. The Surfco Sportsmanship Award was voted on by competitors and ESA officials and presented to Jimmy Walker.
Casey Piester won the Reflekt Polarized Mens Division, while Angela Ray took first in the Ladies Division and was awarded a Sharkbanz shark deterrent for her efforts. All the top women and girl competitors received Pura Vida bracelets with colors representing the ESA. The top finishers of the Open SUP Division, including first place finalist Austin Hollingshead, who also took second in Junior Longboard, were offered prize packs from Chum’s. OluKai awarded several adult finalists a free pair of sandals for their wins. East Coast Custom Longboards provided custom-made skateboards for the Boys and Girls U14 divisions, and Liquid Shredder was on the beach with demo boards each day of the event for competitors and spectators. Sun Bum was the official sunscreen sponsor of this event so everyone was protected with their great products.
Results are posted on the event’s webpage at www.surfesa.org/competition/southeast, and photos provided by Mickey McCarthy and Jordan Montgomery can be found on the Eastern Surfing Association’s Facebook page. Be sure to watch the ESA’s Mid-Atlantic Regionals being held April 28th – May 1st in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, followed by the Northeast Regionals in Belmar, New Jersey May 20-22.
The ESA would like to thank its sponsors who made this a successful event:
- Long Doggers
- The Doubletree Suites by Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront
- Liquid Shredder
- Sun Bum
- Reflekt Polarized Eyewear
- Pura Vida
- Surfco Hawaii
- Ron Jon’s Surf Shop
- East Coast Customs Longboard Skateboards
- Rip Curl
- Sticky Bumps
- Board Buddy
- Salty Sista
- Leonik Engineering
- Damien Share Art
- Mickey McCarthy Photography
- Tom Dugan
- Jordan Montgomery Photography
- John Ross Webcasting
- Tara Mosley Graphic Design
- Dr. Shawn Snow
- Barry Bags
- Island Surf Designs
- Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
The ESA, which is in its 49th year, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit amateur athletic organization dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing. The organization promotes amateur competition for surfers of all ages and abilities, and is dedicated to the establishment and preservation of free access to a clean shoreline and ocean environment.
Michelle Sommers, Executive Director
Eastern Surfing Association