2005 ESA Easterns Wrap-Up And Results

Jesse Heilman, Christa Alves and Evan Geiselman sail to Easterns victory Surf: chunky, wind-torn chest-to-head-high plus
Events Run: All Youth Finals
Nature's Call: You want clean faces? Go to a spa.
Predicted: Smiles for some, long faces for others, long drives for all"Warning: because of change in hydrography, charts are not available for Diamond Shoals. Navigation is extremely dangerous for all types of craft."

The warning that appears on nautical maps for Cape Hatteras' most challenging stretch of coastline is equally fitting for its gnarliest surf contest. Numerous young watermen and women go down in the Easterns' shifting heats and treacherous conditions — enough lost amateur surfing lives to perhaps share the moniker "Graveyard of the Atlantic." Especially on a day like today, when the once sculpted offshore lines returned to chunky confused state, a lineup so awash the ocean's surface blindingly twisted and shimmered like crumpled tin foil. Fortunately, the preceding days of groomed, rippable walls made sure that today's final match-ups featured the right crews. Now they just had to prove they were seaworthy in all conditions to prove they were true masters of their crafts.

PERFORMERS OF THE DAY: Where do we start? Was it Keenan Lineback , the diminutive SC wahine who gracefully tamed big beastly sections for most of the Girls final only to take second thanks to a last-minute rally by Leilani Pickett? What about Charlie Broughton, the Junior Longboarder who upset Justin Quintal with a single, rail-grab frontside cuttie that shamed many of today's shortboarders? Or perhaps it was Zack Humphreys, the Jersey Junior Man who lost out in his shot at the title, but won his fifth place heat with the highest score of the whole contest , backhanding out a 9.33 with just three turns and throwing the filthiest chunks of water we've seen since the Park Service Port-o-Johns? (Yes, even the ones quarantined off by yellow police tape saying "CAUTION".)

Nah, let's start with Jesse Heilman. Last year, Jacksonville's Eric Rheaume captured the two marquis shortboard divisions: Open and Junior Men. This year, it was {{{Daytona}}} Beach boy Jesse Heilman who earned the title of double-trouble, fulfilling the prophecy set forth by previous NCFL standouts like Eric Geiselman. And he did it with no losses, taking down the likes of Chris Duff, Eric Rheaume, Zach Humphreys and - most notably — Hunter Heverly the NC US Teamer billed to be his biggest threat in Junior Men's. And he did it in his last year of competition. "I kind of knew this was the all or nothing Easterns," Heilman sighed. "I'm just glad it finally worked out like I hoped." We'll see if his plans work out as well when he gets a slot in the coming weekend's OBX Pro.

And then there's Evan Geiselman. This12 year-old kiddie is no Captain Feathersword. While three of his fellow Menehune finalists picked off wedgey shorebreak straight of the sand, Evan easily penetrated rows of whitewater, airdropping into a bomb left, then making it back out for two more set waves. In fact, for the most of the heat he sat outside alone, literally and figuratively a competitor unto himself — only taking to the inside in the closing minutes and shanghaiing his very first Easterns title.

Equally vindicated is Christa Alves. This Cocoa Beach betty took second in 2004 to Amy Nicholl in a sickeningly close Girls final. This year, she moved up to Junior Women's, where, surprisingly enough, she seemed to find even less competition as she was the only surfer to capitalize on open-faced waves while most of her rivals did faceplants.

BEST HEAT OF THE DAY: Boys, Double Elimination Number One. How long has it been since New York crowned a champ in one of the marquis divisions? So long, nobody can remember. And it almost didn't happen this time as well. Long Island's TJ Gumiela was far from the first pick on anyone's list this year - hell, it was his first year competing in the ESA - but as guys like Fisher Heverly and Nick Rupp lost over the week, TJ became the man to beat, advancing to the end of the double elimination round with zero losses. Waiting for him with one loss was VB's Michael Dunphy another dark horse from another district strong in competitive history but lacking in recent accomplishment. They headed into the first double elim with plenty of hometown pressure. TJ opened up with a marathon left, methodically cracking the lip several times for a rare seven-point score. But Dunphy rallied with smaller waves but bigger moves to win the heat. Now, all he had to do was beat TJ once more and he'd be VB's first Boys champ since Drew Todd more than a decade ago.

WORST HEAT OF THE DAY: Boys Double Elimination, Number Two. The last heat of the day, the only double elimination heat to finish, and everyone waited to see what would happen. And waited. And waited. And waited. For 17 of 20 minutes, the two competitors stubbornly sat out the back without one single ride until TJ finally caved, tapping a mediocre wave twice and paddling back out. Dunphy took a better one to the beach but with less than two minutes left, ended up waiting again - this time on the inside - stuck with one ride while TJ stood up on a second time to follow Ricky Rasmussen into the history books - all by less than a point.

SHOCKERS: Fisher Heverly. Hunter Lineback. Sean Poynter. The list of past or should-be champs who somehow couldn't get far enough to even surf today was longer than a First Groin left (or what used to be a First groin left.) But for this specific 24 hours, there are three serious slips: Amy Nicholl in Girls, Nick Rupp in Boys and Devin Ricke in Junior Bodyboard.

Don't ask us how Amy Nicholl got sixth in her Girls heat. She won in similar conditions last year. Ripped the clean stuff this year. And was the first competitor on the beach today. The fact she couldn't put one ride together in the final only goes to show that the youngest female category may be the toughest of all.

Nick Rupp was another surprise. As the 2004 Menehune Champ, this SNC standout was expected to blow doors on his first year in Boys - he even skipped a chance at the Menehune Longboard final to stay fresh — but Rupp still found himself stymied by the likes of Florida's Kedren Ferrero, SC's Cole Richards and Virginia's Alex Burdette to finish sixth overall.

At least Nick and Amy got a few years left. More shocking was the demise of Devin Ricke, a former US Teamer and returning Easterns champ who - although he took fourth - put in two of the best moves, including a long lefthand dropknee barrel a forward flip dismount. "The waves were so tough out there," he later explained I figured I better put on a show." In the end, he finished his ESA career in fourth, firmly beaten by 2005 champ Dustin Anderson, with Mike Lawson in second and James Joyce in third, Gary Finnegan in fifth and Chris MacDonald in sixth.

QUOTABLES: "James Joyce took third? I figured he'd be left in Finnegan's wake." - unnamed literary geek on the Jr. Bodyboard final results"Nah. I hate longboarding." Nick Rupp — while sitting next to Men's Longboard champ Tony Silvagni — on whether he regretted his decision to skip the a Menehune Longboard semi "Ooh, a 1.83. Nine more of those and you got yourself a score." - Bystander during the Junior Women's final"Okay, I guess now you can eat tonight." - Duke Humphreys on his son Zack getting the contest's highest score after losing a shot at the title"Hey guys, we're gonna go ahead and start packing up, just let us know if you think you might catch a wave." - One tired announcer about 16 minutes into the contest-ending Boys final

A huge thanks goes out to all the ESA competitors and especially the directors, judges, members and other organizers who tirelessly worked all week to run the event. You are more appreciated than you’ll ever know. And stay tuned to www.surfESA.org for the complete final results and all breaking ESA news.


1. Jesse Heilman NCFL
2. Eric RheaumeNFL
3. Ben GraeffSNJ
4. Tony SilvagniSNC
5. Jesse DyerNCFL
6. Bryce CohnPBFL

1. Jesse HeilmanNCFL
2. Hunter HeverlyCNC
3. Chris DuffCFL
4. Eric RheaumeNFL
5. Zach HumphreysSNJ
6. Kevin Defony SNJ
7. Tyler CrawfordNCFL
8. Josh LawSNJ

1. TJ GumielaNY
2. Michael DunphyVA
3. Kedren FerreroPBFL
4. Cole RichardsNSC
5. Alex BurdetteVA
6. Nick RuppSNC
7. {{{Morgan}}} O'ConnellVA
8. Chris EavesSNJ

1. Evan GeiselmanNCFL
2. Christian MillerPBFL
3. Cameron RichardsNSC
4. Nathan ColburnNCFL
5. Tyler ThornsleyCFL
6. Sean SantiagoSNJ

1. Christa AlvesCFL
2. Marissa GuthrieCFL
3. Jessie CarnesNFL
4. Lindsey BowmanVA
5. Kimberly DiggsOBNC
6. Ashley FrancisCFL

1. Leilani PickettSNC
2. Keenan LinebackNSC
3. Sarah PfeifferSNJ
4. Alexis EngstromNY
5. Hila BallSAFL
6. Amy NichollCFL

1. Charlie BroughtonCFL
2. Justin QuintalNFL
3. EricAnderson SNE
4. Wyatt HarrisonMD
5. JT RobertsGA
6. Thomas MangiacapreSNC

1. Alex StrangewaysVA
2. Dylan AndrewsNFL
3. JC Dillon TCFL
4. Jake BuchlerMD
5. Alex MayfieldPBFL
6. Justin WeismilleMD

1. Dustin AndersonSNC
2. Mike LawsonMD
3. James JoyceOBNC
4. Devin RickeNCFL
5. Gary FinneganCNJ
6. Chris McDonaldOBNC

1. Rory RosenburgSNJ
2. Jake BuchlerMD
3. Forrest RobertsVA
4.Austin DaltonNCFL
5. Martin MurdenVA
6. Keegan McLaughlinVA


Ryan Baskin OBNC

Tony Silvagni SNC

Sindia Sosdian CNJ

Zack Humphreys SNJ 9.33