The Board of Directors of the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) voted unanimously at their annual meeting in Nags Head, North Carolina to realign their age division structure to more closely align with International Surfing Association (ISA) standards. The move follows the ESA’s efforts to work more closely with Surfing America, the National Governing Body (NGB) of surfing in the United States.
“This is something young surfers and their parents have been asking for and will help the ESA integrate our program more closely with those of Surfing America and the ISA,” says ESA Executive Director Michelle Sommers. “It’s important that the ESA remains responsive to the needs of its competitors, and that the organization continues to evolve and grow to reflect changes in the larger world of competitive surfing.”
These changes will also help streamline the process of feeding ESA surfers into the Surfing America Prime East Series and the USA Championships, and also enable young surfers to “surf up” to other divisions to test their skills against older, more experienced competitors.
The new age division changes will go into effect for the start of the 2015 competition season in January but, because the 2015 ESA Regionals and Easterns® are based on last year’s competition season, the changes will not affect ESA post-season competition until 2016.
While the ESA youth divisions will almost directly match those of Surfing America and the ISA, the ESA’s adult surfing program will reflect our continued commitment to surfers of all ages.
“The ESA has always provided an outstanding and comprehensive program for its adult surfers and this will not change,” states Sommers. While the age breaks in several adult divisions will shift slightly to address current levels of participation and ISA ages, the ESA will continue to provide an expanded adult program. “We currently offer much more than other surfing organizations with regard to adult competitors and will absolutely continue to honor our commitment to that demographic. In fact, we’re hoping to see Surfing America and the ISA follow the ESA’s lead and expand their adult offerings.” Adds Sommers, “I think ESA alumni Kelly Slater proves the relevance and level of surfing older surfers are capable of these days.”
A complete listing of age division changes can be found on the ESA website at www.surfesa.org.
The ESA, which is in its 47th 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.