* – All Photos by Mickey McCarthy Photography
The Eastern Surfing Association’s (ESA) 2015 Easterns® Surfing Championship presented by the Outer Banks Tourism Bureau was held his past week at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina with a nor’easter stalled off the coast for the entire event. Competitors from the Great Lakes down through the Gulf Coast of Florida braved the high winds and choppy surf to prove who is the best amateur surfer along the East Coast.
“While it wouldn’t be Easterns® without some type of crazy weather, this is the first one that we’ve had to contend with a nor’easter for the entire week,” says Michelle Sommers, ESA Executive Director. “Our competitors were still stoked to surf and we had some exciting days of competition.”
The GoPro Open Shortboard Division was held in overhead waves and 20-plus mph winds. Rodney Logan from Florida took the win against an all ESA All-Star Team final, taking home a GoPro Hero 4 camera and a pair of OluKai sandals. Logan, who is a former All-Star and now an All-Star Team mentor says, “These were the toughest conditions I have ever surfed in a contest. I wanted to give up many times but these kids motivated me out there to keep going.” The crowd was happy Logan did keep going because he put on quite a show, securing a perfect 10.0. Logan also claimed first place in the Grandmaster’s Shortboard Division on Tuesday.
The adult divisions were run at the beginning of the week and benefited from the waves increasing in size. Branden DeFilippo from Florida won the Reflekt Polarized Men’s Division and Grace Muckenfuss from South Carolina won an Athleta Gift Card for taking the win in the Women’s Division. The Stand-Up-Paddleboard (SUP) Division was won by Jason Latham from Florida who received a free pair of OluKai sandals for his efforts.
Conditions were deteriorating on Thursday when the youth divisions began so the ESA officials moved everything to the Pier. “We are so thankful to Jennette’s Pier for allowing us to set-up everything we needed to continue to run the event,” says Sommers. “We would have had to cancel without this alternative so we are very appreciative as the Pier already had other events going on.” With the wind and waves increasing in size, the ESA put water safety officials in the water during the youth divisions. “There were several guys who paddled in and out all day long with each heat,” adds Sommers. “They are a group of true watermen and the ESA is grateful for their willingness to keep the kids safe.”
Outer Banks’ own Quentin Turko took the Junior Mens Division and Lily Whatley from Florida won the Junior Women. ESA All-Star Simon Hetrick from Maryland won the Boys Division and Storm Portman from Florida won the Girls Division for a second year in a row. Robbie Goodwin claimed first in the Menehune Division for Shortboard, taking home a new Catch Surf Beater Board. Zach Sjuggerud from Florida took first in the Menehune Bodyboard Division. ESA All-Star Parker Sawyer took first in the Junior Longboard Division, which was the last completed division of the event ending on Friday evening.
The competitor banquet was held at Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head where a Liquid Shredder surfboard was raffled off. “The local businesses are welcoming to the ESA and excited to work with us each year as we return,” Sommers says. “It’s important for the ESA to support the local business owners.” Sun Realty, Waveriders Coffee, Café Lachine, Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship, TW’s Bait & Tackle and Kitty Hawk Surf Company are a few of the many who support our Easterns® each year.
Due to the weather deteriorating through this weekend, the final day of the event was canceled. “We worked hard to get as many divisions completed and are thankful we were able to get this far,” adds Sommers. “We could not have done it without the help of so many people. The two divisions that were unable to run will receive refunds for those divisions.”
The full list of results can be found at www.surfesa.org/competition/easterns
The ESA wants to give special thanks to the Jennette’s Pier and all of its staff, as well as to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and the Town of Nags Head. The ESA thanks all of its sponsors for supporting the 2015 Easterns® Surfing Championships.
- Outer Banks Visitors Bureau
- Jennette’s Pier
- Town of Nags Head
- Reflekt Polarized
- Rip Curl
- Liquid Shredder
- O’neill Wetsuits
- Sticky Bumps
- Board Buddy
- Aerial Media Productions
- Sun Realty
- Jack Link’s Beef Jerky
- Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship
- Café Lachine
- Waveriders Coffee & Deli
- Ocean Atlantic Rentals
- TW’s Bait & Tackle
- Carolina Brewery
- Pamlico Jack’s
- Plak That
- Surf Scorer by Leonik Engineering
- Harrington Graphic & Screenprinting
- Lasting Image
- Ben J. Hicks Photography
- Damien Share Art
- Mickey McCarthy Photography