Ocean City, MD (9/24/03)—While the impact of Hurricane Isabel’s wrath on the Outer Banks of North Carolina has left everyone involved with the Eastern Surfing Association’s 2003 Eastern Surfing Championships in a quandary, the ESA’s District Directors held an unprecedented conference call on Friday, September 19th to discuss the fate of the 36th Easterns and lay the groundwork for establishing the ESA Outer Banks Relief Fund. This crowning event was scheduled to run this week in the devastated town of Buxton – home of the Easterns for nearly 36 years.
During the September 19th conference call, the Board was informed of the damage extent to Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Village. ESA contacts throughout the Outer Banks provided reports that were in much greater detail than any national news coverage and, unfortunately, more grave. The Board immediately realized the 36th Easterns would not take place in Buxton this week as scheduled and immediately moved their conversation to rallying to help the fragile communities of Hatteras Island. While this conference call has left the fate of the 2003 Easterns undecided until more information is gathered for the possibility of rescheduling the event, a unanimous decision was made to establish the ESA Outer Banks Relief Fund.
“The Easterns, which crowns our East Coast Champions, is very important to our members,” explained ESA Executive Director Kathy Phillips, “however, over the years, our membership has also become very attached to the community and people of Buxton, NC. Our hearts go out to them. In the 1990’s alone, millions of tourism dollars were lost due to previous hurricane threats, evacuations and ravagings. Each year during the slower, fall tourism shoulder season, this small community looks forward to the Easterns and the over one-million dollar boost to their local economy spent by our 2000 competitors, staff, spectators and media attendees. “This community has always been there for the ESA, continued Phillips. “Now it is our turn to be there for them.
All donations will be forwarded immediately to approved agencies on Hatteras Island for disbursement to those families most in need. Donations should be made payable to: ESA Outer Banks Relief Fund, P.O. Box 582, Ocean City, MD 21843. Please visit www.SurfESA.org for updates on the 2003 Easterns and information on the relief efforts.
The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), the largest amateur surfing association in the world established in 1967, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the sport of surfing through their regional programs & 25 districts on the East Coast, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes. The ESA’s programs & 36th Annual Easterns"¢ are proudly sponsored by: OP, Rip Curl, Bolle, Surfing Magazine, SG Surf Skate Snow Magazine, Surfline.com, FCS, Lost, Surfco Hawaii, Sticky Bumps, Morey & BZ Bodyboards, Chums, Hatteras Realty and 99.1 The Sound. For more information on the ESA or The Easterns"¢, please visit our recently redesigned site at www.SurfESA.org.