The Tour’s Next Stop: East Coast, USA

Owen Patchell knows that timing is everything when it comes to Atlantic hurricane swells. Photo: Lusk

Many of the Top 34 call one of the Mainland coasts home, but unless their last name is Gudauskas, they haven't surfed their home break on Tour. But with the plethora of breaks the US coastlines offer, are there any spots besides Lower Trestles that are worthy enough for the world's best? The ASP thinks so.

According to the 2011 ASP World Tour schedule, a new stop will be added at "East Coast, USA," nestled snugly between Teahupoo and Trestles on the contest calendar. With over 3,000 miles of coast from Maine to the southern tip of Florida, "East Coast, USA" is just about as ambiguous as you can get. The ASP refused to comment further, as they probably have their hands full trying to figure out what no one before them has: how to predict a hurricane. Without one, most East Coast breaks look impotent compared to the rest of Tour schedule, which includes posts like Jeffrey's Bay and Pipeline. However, the US is arguably the heart of the surfing world and a new Tour stop could be huge for their red, white, and blue surf fans.

The decision, however, has undoubtedly raised many questions. Why the East Coast? Are the wave possibilities there the best the US has to offer? What factors go into choosing a WT venue? Aren't there better options on the West Coast? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a bit more complex. Two months ago, ASP officials and surf forecasters were contacted about the potential for a new World Tour stop, but nothing they said seemed to point to an impending East Coast event. "The continental US enjoys a slew of excellent wave venues that could host an ASP World Tour event," said the ASP International Media Manager Dave Prodan. "The Eastern seaboard is home to several solid waves as well - albeit, consistency is a problem." A lack of consistency can be a pretty big problem. Lay days, heat restarts, and groveling competitions can make a contest at one of the best spots in the world look like an attempt at a Lake Michigan Pro. This factor is what makes a competition at one of the premier East Coast breaks seem like a gamble.

"I think there are less than 20 spots in the world that meet the standards for a WCT event," said ASP North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins. That's an incredibly short list, and one that I would be shocked to find any East Coast spots on. Although the hurricane swells that hit the East can make some of the most gorgeous tubes imaginable, consistency remains king in the contest world.