ESA and WSL – Carving a Pathway for Champions

Blayr Barton is surfing into the next level of his surfing career via the WSL Ron Jon Quiksilver QS & Junior Pro events. Photo: WSL photo

Cocoa Beach, Florida – The Eastern Surfing Association was well represented at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Roxy WSL Qualifying Series and Junior Pro event this weekend during the annual Beach ‘N Boards Fest.

ESA-sponsored athletes, along with several ESA All-Stars and other ESA competitors, surfed against professional international talent throughout the four-day event.  The ESA has partnered with the WSL to create a direct pathway for east coast surfers to begin their pro surfing career path as they excel in the amateur level.

ESA stand-out and 2018 All-Star, Blayr Barton competed in both the QS and Junior Pro events to gain points that will help him in future WSL events.  Barton surfed through three difficult rounds in the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS event.  He then advanced to the semi-final of the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro event, earning a 7th place overall finish.

The ESA has partnered with the WSL to carve a pathway for champions. Photo: Sommers

2019 ESA All-Stars Rachel Wilson and Morgan Iglay, along with fellow ESA competitor Taylor Green, advanced into the Quarterfinals of the Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro.

“I learned so much from this experience,” said Wilson.  “The WSL and ESA partnership has helped open new doors for me, along with other ESA All-Stars, to improve our surfing at a higher level.”

This was ESA’s Stephen Muglia’s first WSL QS and Junior Pro experience, and Ava Drusch’s first Junior Pro.  Both competitors were awarded the ESA slots by obtaining solid final placings in the ESA 2018 Easterns® Surfing Championships.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to surf at another level through ESA to not only surf the competition itself, but to surf along side other competitors I look up to in the surfing world,” said Muglia.  “Surfing at this level has widened my perspective on competing, and I look to better myself in order to apply my skills to all levels of competition.”

ESA All-Star Morgan Iglay surfed into Round 2 of the Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro in Cocoa Beach on Sunday. Photo: Dugan/ESM

“I was honored to represent the ESA in this event,” added Drusch.  “I am going to train harder and hope to progress in future WSL events.”

“I want to thank the ESA for helping us compete at this higher level,” said Iglay.  “I’m so excited for the next WSL event!”

For full results, please visit the WSL website.

You can watch all of the ESA competitors surf at their respective ESA Regional Surfing Championships that run April 26-28 in Melbourne Beach, FL, May 3-5 in Nags Head, NC, and May 17-19 in Belmar, NJ.  Competitors will be competing to qualify for slots at The Easterns® Surfing Championships at Jennette’s Pier September 15-21, 2019, as well as qualifying for the upcoming WSL QS and Junior Pro events.

For more information, contact ESA’s executive director Michelle Sommers –


ESA All-Stars’ Epic North Shore Team Trip

March 10, 2019 (Haleiwa, Hawaii) – The East Coast offered strong representation on the North Shore of Oahu as the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) provided its All-Star team members a trip of a lifetime.  Twenty-three amateur surfers under the age of 18 surfed along the seven-mile-miracle and experienced the amazing Aloha spirit that makes Hawaii so special.

With boys coming the first week, and girls following for the second, ESA All-Star team coach Jason Motes, along with mentors, parents and professional surf coaches offered some of the best young surfers in the ESA an opportunity to learn from the best on world-class waves.

Training included surf sessions at Pipeline and Sunset with legend Tamayo Perry, technique and competition knowledge with top pro Shane Beschen and fitness programming with world-renowned Kid Peligro.  Eleven-time World Champion, and former ESA All-Star himself, Kelly Slater gave his time to the All-Stars by taking the boys cave diving and surfing with the girls.  They also had chance meetings with Jamie O’Brien, Carlos Burle, Gabe Kling, Tom Curren, Ezekiel Lau, and other famous folks.

“The surf community on the North Shore is so welcoming to the All-Stars each year, and we are so appreciative,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director.  “What these kids experienced out here, who they met and what they are taking home with them is priceless.  It’s a confidence booster and beneficial to the development of their surfing careers and personal lives.”

“Surfing these world-famous breaks and meeting the pros was so cool,” said All-Star Gabby Viorel, who was on her first trip to Hawaii. “I never thought I would be experiencing these things in my life.”

All-Star Gabby Viorel charging Sunset with Tamayo Perry. Photo: Krissy Torelli

“These kids have really stepped up and learned so much on this trip,” said Motes.  “They encountered some pretty big surf while facing and conquering their fears.  I could not be more proud of all of them.”

Since surfing is an individual sport, the ESA has created a team environment with the All-Star team.  Members are accepted each year based on contest results, ESA support and overall attitude.  Ages range from 14-17, with those 13 and under making up the All-Star developmental team.

“The friendships that form while the team members experience this together lasts forever,” adds Sommers.  “These kids now have close friends all over the east coast, and will always support one another.”

“The training with Tamayo, Shane and Kid was incredible, and having Kelly Slater surf with the kids was amazing,” said Motes.  “The way that these team members have connected over the last two weeks was great to see, as these bonds will last them a lifetime.

Tamayo Perry with All-Stars Abigail Remke & Gabby Viorel. Photo: Krissy Torelli

“I love working with the ESA All-Stars each year,” said Perry.  “I noticed how humble and talented this particular group of groms are as they were all ears and eager to learn.”

“Learning to surf Pipe and Backdoor with Tamayo was amazing,” said first-year All-Star Landon Wood from Florida.

“Working with Shane was a great opportunity as he is so technical and really helped with contest surfing,” added All-Star Kanoa Wong from Virginia Beach.

The ESA All-Star boys with Shane Beschen. Photo: Krissy Torelli

“It was great working with the All-Stars as we all had fun,” said Beschen following many days of coaching.  “Hopefully they learned a few techniques to help everyone improve.”

All-Star Callie Summerlin from North Carolina said, “This amazing experience has added so much knowledge and skills that I can use moving forward in surfing.”

Perry adds, “The WSL better realize how deep the talent pool runs over there on the East Coast because the new generation of East Coast kids are coming out of the starting blocks on fire.”

“I look forward to watching their progress in the coming years,” added Beschen.

All-Star Tucker Collins from New Jersey summed it up the best saying, “This trip was full of ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities.”

Kelly Slater poses with the All-Star team boys before taking them cave diving in Sharks Cove. Photo: Terry Reis

Several of these ESA All-Stars will compete in the World Surf League’s QS & Jr Pro events March 14-17, 2019 in Cocoa Beach at Ron Jon’s Beach ‘N Boards Fest.  All team members will be surfing in their respective ESA Regional Surfing Championships in April and May with a goal of qualifying for slots at The Easterns® in September.

Eastern Surf Magazine will feature a photo gallery from photographers Terry Reis, Krissy Torelli and Lenny Nichols.  Until then, be sure to check out the ESA, ESA All-Stars and Terry Reis’ Facebook and Instagram pages for photos and videos.

Special thanks goes to Jason Motes, Krissy Torelli, Pam Hill, Lenny Nichols, Kainalu Nichols, Michelle Sommers, Terry Reis, Tamayo Perry, Shane Beschen, Kelly Slater, Kid Peligro, Scott & Dawn Harris, Velzyland Hale, Rip Curl, Amavara Skincare, Indojax Surf Charities, the Volcom house crew, and all the parents who made this trip possible.

ESA All-Star Ladies Charge Sunset, Surf With Slater, Perry and Beschen

The ESA All-Star ladies are making the most of their time on the North Shore this week by charging big waves and learning from elite professional surfers, including Shane Beschen, Tamayo Perry and 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater.

The ESA All-Star ladies with Shane Beschen and Coach Jason Motes at Ehukai Beach Park. Photo: Terry Reis

A massive NW swell arrived on the same day that the second group of ESA’s top female competitors, ages 11-17, flew in for their seven-day adventure.  After getting acclimated surfing the famous breaks on the West Side, and North Shore, the girls had their chance to paddle out with Tamayo Perry to surf Sunset.

Tamayo Perry from Oahu Surfing Experience with ESA All-Stars Abigail Remke and Gabby Viorel following their amazing session at Sunset. Photo: Krissy Torelli

ESA All-Star Gabby Viorel on a big Sunset wave. Photo: Krissy Torelli

“These girls have really stepped up and learned so much on this trip,” said ESA’s All-Star coach Jason Motes.  “They have encountered some pretty big surf while facing and conquering their fears.  I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them.”

Local Hawaiian photographer/videographer Terry Reis, aka Surfshooter Hawaii, captured all the action and posted the video below:

Kelly Slater heading out with the ESA All-Star ladies for a surf session. Photo: Terry Reis

Pro surfer Shane Beschen, who was ranked number two in the world years ago and an ambassador for Amavara Skincare, coached the All-Stars for two days that included running mock heats.  Kelly Slater joined the ladies for a surf session on Saturday after they finished working with Beschen.

Kelly Slater showing the ESA All-Stars how it’s done. Photo: Terry Reis

Indojax Surf Charities sponsored a night out for the team members to Cholo’s in Haleiwa to celebrate their achievements while surfing in Hawaii.

“We are so thankful to the people who have provided our All-Stars with an experience that they will never forget,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director.  “Everyone gave so much of their time, energy and knowledge to these East Coast surfers.  They are truly showing so much Aloha to our youth.”

The All-Stars will train with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Kid Peligro on Monday to learn how to physically train for surfing.  They will wrap up their week on Tuesday with a final surf session before they fly back to the East Coast to implement all that they have learned.

ESA All-Star Coach Jason Motes hugs 11-year-old Camden Hoover on her session at Sunset. Photo: Krissy Torelli

“The friendships that have developed over this past week among the group has been above and beyond what we expected,” adds Motes.  “The bonding with one another is what really matters the most to me.  These relationships, along with the memories, will last these girls a lifetime.”

Be sure to check out all the photos and videos posted on the ESA and ESA All-Stars Facebook & Instagram pages.  Eastern Surf Magazine will be posting a mega gallery of the entire trip in coming weeks.  Thanks to ESA All-Star sponsors Rip Curl, Amavara Skincare, Terry Reis Photography and the Velzeyland Hale for lodging.

ESA All-Star Abigail Remke surfing Sunset during her session with Tamayo Perry. Photo: Krissy Torelli


ESA All-Stars Go Diving with Kelly Slater in Hawaii

The ESA All-Star Team members had a truly memorable day on the North Shore during their team training trip.

11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, who was an ESA All-Star himself, took the team on a diving adventure at Sharks Cove.  Tommy Coleman, another stand-out east coast surfer, and former ESA competitor, joined Slater with the kids.

“This is something the kids will remember forever, and we are so thankful that Kelly offered his time to spend with the  ESA youth,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director.

Local Hawaiian photographer/videographer Terry Reis was on hand to capture the experience in photos and video, including aerial footage.

ESA All-Stars Make Their Way to Hawaii this week

The 2018 ESA All-Star Team ladies with Coach Jason Motes and mentor Jesse McCrery during last year’s trip.

The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA)’s All-Star team members will begin their annual training trip on the North Shore of Oahu this week.  The guys are heading for seven days of surfing Hawaii’s famous surf breaks, followed by the ladies for the second week.

“This trip creates long-lasting friendships and a surfing experience that these young adults will have for a lifetime,” said ESA executive director Michelle Sommers.  “There isn’t any other place in the world that compares to the North Shore, and every surfer dreams of surfing these famous waves.”
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The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) stepped into its first World Surf League (WSL) event with amazing representation at the WSL Florida Pro Surf Competition in Melbourne Beach last week.  The ESA’s Easterns® finalists entered their next level of competitive surfing through a new partnership between the ESA and the WSL QS events along the east coast, including the Caribbean.

ESA All-Star Fergus Kelly made it through his first round of the WSL Florida Pro Surf Competition at Sebastian Inlet. Photo: DUGAN/ESM

Eight competitors, including several ESA All-Stars, were sponsored by the ESA to compete in the Women’s QS 3000 and the Men’s QS 1500 at Sebastian Inlet presented by Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.

Beautiful weather, along with rising swell through much of the week, allowed these amateur surfers to compete for points and gain valuable experience surfing against many former ESA, west coast and international competitors who have excelled in their competitive surfing careers.

“The ESA is thrilled to be working with the WSL on creating a clear pathway for its competitors to reach their surfing career goals,” said ESA’s executive director Michelle Sommers.  “The WSL is everyone’s endgame if they want to be a professional surfer or surf in future Olympics.  We want to give them the experience and ability to get to this level without any confusion.” + Continue Reading