The Eastern Surfing Association held its 2015 Southeast Regional Surfing Championships at Paradise Beach Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida this past weekend, showcasing the best amateur surfing from throughout the state of Florida.
“We had the best waves of any event I’ve seen this year,” said ESA Executive Director Michelle Sommers. “There was consistent sizable surf throughout the entire contest, and the competitors put on a fantastic display of progressive surfing.”
Competitors qualified for this event through their local ESA districts over the past year and were competing for a coveted slot at the ESA’s premier event, the 48th Annual Eastern Surfing Association Championships (aka The Easterns®), scheduled for September 14-20 at Nags Head, North Carolina. The ESA’s three Regional events are also qualifiers for the Surfing America Prime Series and the Surfing America USA Championships.
There was a live webcast during all three days of competition on the ESA website (www.surfesa.org). “It was wonderful to be able to allow people who couldn’t attend the event in person to view it live online while it was happening,” says Sommers. “Travis Ajay and former ESA All-Star and ASP pro surfer Shea Lopez sharing the microphone were entertaining for everyone watching the event both on the beach and online.”
The GoPro Open Shortboard Division was won by North Florida’s Nick Groshell, who took home a brand new GoPro camera with accessories for his efforts, with CJ Llano and ESA All-Star team mentor Rodney Logan finishing second and third, respectively.
The Reflekt Polarized Mens Division saw West Florida’s Michael Kapica place first, followed by North Florida’s Christian Gyland in second and Josh LaSalle from North Central Florida in third.
O’neill Wetsuits offered up new gear for first place Boys and Girls Divisions. Christian Daniels won the Boys Division for the second year in a row, with Kelton Beardall in second and ESA All-Star Noah Dovin in third. Rachel Presti dominated the Girls Division, scoring two perfect 10s throughout the three-day event and garnering a Hot Wave Award as well. ESA All-Star Braidyn Cunningham and Nicole Fulford took second and third in Girls, respectively.
Taking the Menehune Division this year was North Florida’s Kaleb Kirshenbaum, followed by Ryan Huckabee and Evan Tyson rounding out second and third. Winning two years straight was Nick Groshell, who bested ESA All-Star Charlie Current and Patrick Conklin in the Junior Mens Division. North Florida’s Sophie Falzone took the Junior Womens win, followed by ESA All-Stars Lily Whatley and Shealyn Cunningham.
The Iron Man and Junior Iron Man Awards were presented to Bill Austin and Zack Sjuggerud, who competed in multiple divisions and had the highest placings in those divisions during the event. Another Hot Wave Award was presented to Rodney Logan, who also scored a perfect 10 during his Grandmasters heat on Friday.
A complete list of all the results can be found at www.surfesa.org. Photos of the event will be posted on the ESA website as well as on both the ESA and event photographer Mickey McCarthy’s Facebook pages.
In addition to the great surfing that took place, ESA sponsors were on the beach making sure everyone had a fun experience. Liquid Shredder brought various types of boards for everyone on the beach to demo each day. OluKai sponsored an ESA raffle offering exclusive prize packs and a Quiet Flight surfboard that Florida artist “Cheeta” (Chad Ruis) painted under the tent for a grand prize. Jack Link’s Beef Jerky was distributing their fantastic products to the spectators in attendance.
“The ESA has wonderful sponsors who truly enjoy being a part of the experience,” states Sommers. “We are so excited and thankful to have the support from both national and local businesses and individuals. Everyone loves the ESA and wants to be a part of our future.”
Special thanks go out to ESA National and Local Sponsors, including Reflekt Polarized, Rip Curl, Liquid Shredder, OluKai, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, GoPro, Surfer Magazine, Swellinfo.com, BNG Construction Inc., Sticky Bumps Surf Wax, O’neill Wetsuits, Surfco Hawaii, Chums, Catch Surf, Media In Motion, Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, Paradise Treats, Longboard House, Paddleboard House, Salty Sista Apparel, Pepsi, KKRows, Banxblock Sunscreen, Subway, The Beach House Restaurant and local artist Damien Share for this year’s T-shirt design. The ESA also wants to thank the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Beach Oceanfront, Gnarley Charley’s Grom Surf Series and Mickey McCarthy.
Also, just a reminder to stay tuned for info on the ESA’s 2015 Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regional events, which will be taking place in Nags Head, North Carolina April 30-May 3, and Belmar, New Jersey May 15-17.
The ESA, which is in its 48th 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.