The Eastern Surfing Association held its second championship event of the season last weekend at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina. The weather and waves provided great conditions for the best surfers from Delaware through South Carolina to claim an ESA Mid-Atlantic Champion title, and to qualify for The 2019 Easterns® Surfing Championship.
“The Outer Banks delivered again,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director. “This is one of the best locations for our championship events because there always seems to be contestable waves at each of our events.”
While the high tide delayed the early morning start times, the waves showed up when required for the adult and youth divisions throughout the weekend.
“Surfline gave an accurate forecast for the weekend calling for the swell to increase each day,” adds Sommers. “Jennette’s Pier provided a good sandbar when the tide dropped out, as well as offered our competitors great parking, restrooms and close proximity to lodging, shopping and places to grab a quick meal.”
2019 is ESA’s first championship season of running 4-man priority heats in several divisions to help prepare its competitors for their possible ESA-sponsored slots into upcoming WSL QS & Jr Pro events. It was the Mid-Atlantic Men’s champion Chris Moore’s first opportunity to use priority while competing.
“Surfing with priority is a better challenge for surfing at a higher level,” said Moore after accepting his first place award. “It makes us multitask by watching and being aware of so much more than when we aren’t surfing with it.”
“Priority offered the competitors a more professional experience,” adds ESA All-Star coach Jason Motes. “Competitors made it more about the surfing instead of competing for waves.”
Blayr Barton used priority to claim victory in both the Jr. Men U18 and Boys U16 divisions. He also won ESA’s Open Shortboard division, Jr Iron Man and the Hot Wave Award with a 9.1.
“Offering priority is a great way of showing kids the real aspects of major competitive surfing,” said Barton. “I felt super confident throughout all of my heats, and it’s always fun surfing against my friends while watching them excel during the competitions.”
Bree Labiak had the power in her surfing to win both the Jr Women U18 and Girls U16, and All-Stars Will Deane and Camden Hoover won in the Boys and Girls U12 divisions, respectively.
“I am really excited about taking two Championship titles at Regionals,” said Labiak. “It was a lot of fun using a priority in my heats as it’s just another step towards the next level.”
Owen Carter and Kylee Heath claimed champion titles in the Boys & Girls U14 divisions. Charles Oblinger and Camden Hoover claimed the Rip Curl sponsored slots for the upcoming Rip Curl GromSearch Series that will be held at Jennette’s Pier as the highest-ranking ESA All-Stars in the U14 divisions.
“The surfing I saw, especially in the U16 U18 divisions, proved that there is a very strong wave of competitors on their way to Easterns,” adds Motes. “There is a lot of talent in this region.”
Full results can be viewed on the event webpage.
Be sure to plan for the ESA’s 2019 Northeast Regional Surfing Championship in Belmar, New Jersey May 17-19.
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