2005 ESA Easterns Update

Surf: semi-crumbly chest-high-plus
Events Run: Finals for Masters, Senior Men, Grand Masters, Men's Bodyboard, Ladies Longboard, Men's Longboard, Master's Longboard, Senior Longboard, Legends Longboard, Women's, Legends, Grand Legends, Men, Ladies, Women's Bodyboard
Nature's Call: I've only just begun.
Predicted: Youth in revolt.The Adult portion of the ESA Easterns is a lesson in commitment, competition and, most of all, good style. Not just the way the Grand Master Grand Master Glenn Tanner cross-steps with experience. Or how Ladies Longboarder Jo Pickett throws a power-cuttie to shame the twiggy wahine movement. It's also the way they encourage each other before heats, congratulate winners afterward and - on the rare case a bit of tension may arise - defuse any friction with a well-timed self-deprecating comment. As Tom Warnke pointed out after finishing last in Legends Longboard : "Hey, I earned my sixth place." They also earn a lot of respect, which is sometimes even better than a trophy. PERFORMER OF THE DAY:
Jason Motes. The first final struck this morning around 8:00, and though the conditions may have been clean, the action was dirty. "There was a lot of trash-talking go on out there, "said 2003 Masters champ, Pat Emery who held the lead most of the heat. At least until Motes found a last-minute left, busting a big air and forcing Emery to "shut my big mouth." It was Motes' first Easterns shortboard title and his third championship overall. 'It's been a while," he explained. "I won longboard in 1996 and 2000." Motes wouldn't have to wait another four years for another win. That afternoon, in the Masters Longboard heat, he led the pack with an aggressive approach that stepped on the toes of the Hang 10 crew, pulling critical floaters and lip-pitch spinners for a second 2005 crown in what was one of the best heats of the day.HEATS OF THE DAY:
Actually, the best heats of the day were almost all longboard clashes as they cruised past the more crumbly sections that frustrated shortboarders. Sure, the Women's final saw some last minute action where returning champ Kelly Nicely snagged the win from Jen Abrams in the closing seconds. But the Ladies' Longboard heat was twice as active as Beth Schub connected a long left to eliminate usual suspects, like Tracy Derbin and Mindy Fitzpatrick. But two heats were especially exciting: the Men' Longboard, which saw North Carolina nosereider Tony Silvagni nearly combo his competition - until a last-minute charge by nemesis Todd Kinsey closed the gap with several seconds of tip time. And the Senior Longboard had it all: radical wipeouts, interferences, multiple exchangees between Glenn Tanner, Chris Tilghman and Mitch Kaufmann, and a last-minute lead change courtesy of Bill Whatley, who in the final seconds snagged a long set-wave, hanging ten to the shore for disco spin finish, stealing the win from Kevin Grondin. SHOCKERS:
Can a winner have a shocker? You can if you're Men's Champ Rob Cordero, a UNCW student who only started competition in the last couple years after moving down from New York. Ironically, it was fellow finalist and student Erik Schub who " got me doing this carzy stuff, " says Cordero. Erik would pay for the mistake today as he was unable to find the waves to join his mom on the victory dais. While Shcub and fellow finalists Tony Silvagni and Sean Clingerman were left bobbing in a wave starved heat, Rob managed to find and filet the few lined up rights.And the rare one his competitors could get to, Cordero kept him off. "Yeah, I was trying to surf smart out there," said Rob. 'But to be honest, competing is so secondary to me I was really just trying to have fun." NIGHTLIFE:
More than {{{100}}} competitor gathered last night of the annual kick off party, drinking beer, eating barbecue boogieing to reggae band Scholarsword. But there was more to this fiesta than just saying hellos and raffling prizes. It was also a going away party for Kathy Phillips. Following emotional speeches from ESA founder Cecil Lear and US Team coach Peter Townend - and receiving the 2005 Colin Couture Award for Outstanding Service — Kathy offered a few short words of her own, emphasizing "We've done a lot in my 15 years, and whoever takes my place will continue to do even more." Afterwards, folks continued to get down, and New York director Rick Anthony earned the MVP award for rounding up some cases of beer after the kegs died. (Speaking of which, despite all attempts neither Lear, nor Phillips nor Surfing America's mike Gerard could be coerced into doing keg stands - at least as far as you know. )INSIDE SCOOPS:
The times they area a changin' ...and a changin'...and a changin'.On the beach today Competition Director Brian Broom revealed some of the motions approved over last weekend's directors meeting. Among them: form now on, every district must run at least four events. Furthermore, only four events will be counted. This will help keep the best talent coming to Easterns by making sure enough contests are run to produce real leads while not penalizing top surfers who may not be able to surf all events. More strikingly, the Amateur Code has officially been abolished, removing some of the strict red tape that forced kids leave the ESA early so as not to penalized for taking prize money or sponsorships. "Everything we do should be for the benefit of the athlete,' says Brian. "I we're gonna be the biggest, it's time to start being the best."QUOTABLES:
"At least I went down in good company." - Kevin Grondin to Bill Whatley after both lost to SNJ's Joe Grotolla in Grand Masters "If you've ever ridden a surfboard on the East Coast at any time, you just might be a redneck." - one of countless funny quips coming from the stand-ups on the mike"Good luck. See the sand on my knees? I just came from the judges tent." - Senior Longboarder Ricky Carroll to Glenn Tanner before their finalEditor's note: this story was compiled prior to the awards ceremony. Stay tuned to www.SurfESA.org for official results.