ESA Northeast Competitors Persevere Through Gnarly Conditions to Claim Top Spots

The groms stated many times that the waves were “fun” on Saturday despite the rain and wind. PC: MEZ/ESM

The Eastern Surfing Association held its final Easterns® qualifying event this past weekend in Belmar, New Jersey, despite harsh conditions on Friday and Saturday. The ESA’s 2018 Northeast Regional Surfing Championships presented by Surfer Dudes concluded on Sunday in near-perfect conditions following rain, wind and chilly temperatures for the start of the event.

“Surfing along the east coast can be challenging, but our northeast surfers tend to be tested more than others,” Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director said. “They charge the waves in any condition, never complain and actually seem to enjoy the crazy surf that enables them to showcase their talents.”

ESA All-Star Maddie Ryan on her way to two big victories in Belmar, NJ. PC: MEZ/ESM

ESA All-Star and Northern New England standout Maddie Ryan worked her way through multiple heats to win both the Jr Women U18 and Girls U16 divisions.

“As always, this ESA event was exceptional and I had an amazing time,” Ryan said.

Chase Lieder, another ESA All-Star, took top spots in the Sharkbanz Boys U14 and Menehune Longboard divisions. “I’m so stoked to get the wins in the Boys U14 and Menehune U14 Longboard,” Lieder said. “The entire New York district and I had a great time and everyone was ripping.”

Junior Ironman Cole Deveney PC: MEZ/ESM

Central New Jersey’s Cole Deveney was the most winning competitor earning the Junior Ironman Award for claiming top spots in multiple divisions. Following his second-place finish in the Open Shortboard division on Friday, he charged Saturday and Sunday to win first in Boys U16 and second in Junior Men U18.

“Sunday was the most focused I have ever been,” Deveney said. “It was difficult going from one heat to the next, but I surfed the hardest that I’ve ever had to, paddling and battling with everyone in my path. I could not be any more stoked than I am right now.”

ESA’s Southern New Jersey won the All-Star Tag Team Challenge beating out other ESA districts. PC: Sommers

The ESA has introduced a new format for the All-Star Tag Team event that was once so popular at the ESA championship events. ESA districts compete against one another for bragging rights, along with a big trophy. The Southern New Jersey ESA district claimed victory over New York, Northern New England and Central New Jersey districts.

“One of the highlights of the weekend was closing out the event with the ESA All-Star tag team event,” Ryan said. “It really created a sense of unity among all the districts.”

Event and national ESA sponsors provided giveaways and prizes for competitors and spectators. Surfer Dudes handed out surf boomerang toys to the Menehune divisions. Sharkbanz offered their shark repellent wearables to the U14 divisions. Buddy by the Sea provided apparel for the winners. Several finalists were awarded free OluKai sandals and Unsinkable Polarized sunglasses. Ryan and Deveney won Kala Brand Music ukuleles as the top finalists in the Junior Men & Women divisions.

Full results can be found on the event’s webpage.

The ESA wants to thank its national and local sponsors who supported this year’s Northeast Regionals:

  • Surfer Dudes
  • Buddy By The Sea
  • Sharkbanz
  • Beach Gladiator
  • The Town of Belmar
  • Eastern Lines Surf Shop
  • Eastern Surf Magazine
  • Florida’s Space Coast Tourism
  • The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau
  • OluKai
  • Unsinkable Polarized
  • Kala Brand Music
  • Swellinfo
  • Chums
  • Surfo Hawaii
  • Fins Tropicali
  • Coffee Surf Company
  • Playa Bowls
  • Jimmy’s Pizza Place
  • E Street Bagels & Catering
  • Surfer Magazine
  • Tara Mosley Graphic Design