ESA To Offer Priority in Select Divisions for 2019 Post-Season Championship Events


ESA All-Star Fergus Kelly competed in his first WSL QS event at the Florida Pro in January 2019 as an ESA-sponsored athlete. Photo: DUGAN

With the tremendous success of the ESA and WSL partnership, the ESA is pleased to announce that it will now offer four-man priority heats for selected divisions in its 2019 post-season championship events.

Beginning with its three regional surfing championships, the ESA will follow the WSL rules for priority in its Men’s, Women’s, Junior Men U18, Junior Women U18, Boys U16 and Girls U16 divisions.  Four-man priority will ONLY be run in the semi- and final heats of these divisions.

WSL & ESA judge Barry Pasonski focuses on the priority system for the heats at the recent WSL QS and Junior Pro events in Cocoa Beach.

“The ESA wants to be sure its competitors are well-prepared and have experience surfing with priority when they enter into the WSL QS and Junior Pro events that we are qualifying them for,” said Michelle Sommers, ESA’s executive director.

The current WSL Rule Book, along with an easy-to-understand summary that was put together by the WSL East Coast head priority judge David Portch and ESA’s competition director Joe Grottola, is now posted on the ESA website’s WSL webpage.

A short Q&A session with Portch will be available at each Regional event to allow competitors who are new to surfing priority heats to understand it better prior to their priority heats.

“We want to be sure that the ESA competitors who qualify to surf in future WSL events will have the knowledge and confidence to surf strategically among the next level of surfers that they will go up against,” said Portch.

Blayr Barton got his first taste of WSL competition at the Florida Pro in January 2019 as an ESA-sponsored athlete. He went on to excel through both the QS & Junior Pro events at the Cocoa Beach event in March 2019. Photo: WSL

“We have, and will continue, to work closely with the WSL throughout this entire process,” said Sommers.

Please visit the ESA’s WSL webpage for more information.

For additional inquiries, please email

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