April 5, 2011 : – – The 19th annual NSSA East Coast Championships presented by Nike 6.0 is set to kick off April 7-10 at New Smyrna Beach. Over 350 participants from the NSSA’s four east coast conferences (Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Southeast/North and Southeast) are looking to earn prestigious Regional titles while qualifying for slots to the 2011 NSSA National Championships in California this summer. The East Coast Championships will feature competition in Open Divisions, Explorer Divisions, Collegiate Divisions and the Airshow Championships.
After 18 years at Sebastian Inlet, the East Coast Championships will make its return back to New Smyrna Beach where the first championship was held in 1993. New Smyrna Beach boasts a welcoming population and passion for surfing events as well as one of the most consistent waves on the eastern seaboard.
Some of the most notable names in East Coast surfing have claimed East Coast Regional titles. Past champions of the event include CJ and Damien Hobgood, Ben Bourgeois, Gabe Kling, Matt Keenan, Cam Anderson, Brian Toth, Dylan Graves, Yancy and Sterling Spencer, Jeremy Johnston, Eric and Evan Geiselman Michael Dunphy, Blake Jones, Karina Petroni and Amy Nicholl.
Top seeds in the lineup at this year’s East Coast Championships will be reigning Regional Open Junior Champion and New Smyrna Beach local Noah Schweizer who will be competing in his backyard. Schweizer will lay it all on the line in the hopes of defending his Juniors crown and also step up to compete in the premier Open Men’s category where he earned an impressive 4th place in the final last year. Number one Men’s seed out of the Mid Atlantic is Evan Barton who finaled in the Explorer Juniors at the 2010 Regionals.
Also representing the Mid Atlantic is Dylan Kowalski who took home his first Regional title last year in the Explorer Men’s. Southeast Conference number one ranked Nolan Tyler is coming off an impressive breakout season and will be in the hunt for his first Regional title. Along with Schweizer, top seeds headlining the competition in the Open Juniors 15 & under category include Billy McGarry and Knox Harris from the Mid Atlantic Conference, Sam Duggan and Giorgio Gomez from the Southeast Conference, Patrick Schmidt from the Northeast Conference and Nathan Colburn from the Southeast/North Conference.
Six-time East Coast Regional Champion Cam Richards will aim to keep his title streak alive. Richards, 15-years-old from Garden City, South Carolina, has walked away with Regional gold every year since 2007. Leading the top billing in Open Womens competition is Nikki Viesins who claimed the East Coast Explorer Womens title in 2010 and 2-time Regional Champion Jasset Umbel.
East Coast College Championships: With the NSSA college surfing programs expanding significantly drawing more teams to its events than ever before, the 2011 East Coast College Championships is scheduled to have a record number of teams competing for Regional titles. These teams will contend for slots to the 2011 National College Championships June 16-18 at Salt Creek.
This year’s National College Championships will for the first time air as part of CBS Sports Network’s “Alt Games: College Action Sports Championships” coverage with a one hour show televised on CBS Sports. Defending East Coast College Champion University of North Carolina Wilmington has been dominant at the Regionals the past two years and they will be back powerful as ever to try and make it a three-peat.
However there are teams vying to unseat UNCW from their throne including last year’s runner up FIT who are the number one ranked team from Florida and the spirited UCF squad who finished the 2010-11 regular season in the number two position. Team lineups for the East Coast Championships by ranking order are as follows: UNCW, FIT-A, UCF-A, Daytona State College, UCF-B, Flagler, Stetson, FAU, FSU, FIT-B, UF.
East Coast High School Championships: Melbourne and Jupiter High Schools will go head to head competing for Regional glory and qualify for a berth at the 2011 National High School Championships at Salt Creek June 16-18.
In celebration of our move to New Smyrna Beach, several special festivities are on the agenda:
Thursday, April 7: Opening day of the East Coast Championships! Immediately following the contest, there will be a Pizza party at the New Smyrna Beach Civic Center 103 Pine St, New Smyrna Beach. Cost is $5.00 at the door to all NSSA members, family and friends.
Friday, April 8: Movie night at with the special opening of Soul Surfer, the story of Bethany Hamilton. They are offering a special rate of $6.00 to all East Coast Championship competitors.
Saturday, April 9: NSSA competitors dinner buffet at Clancys Cantina, a New Smyrna Beach favorite! The 2010-11 NSSA Conference Awards will be presented here. ESM will also provide entertainment with a special 20 year anniversary slide show with classic photos of surfing history from our Right Coast! Clancys is located at 301 Flagler Ave, New Smyrna Beach.
Sunday, April 10: the fourth and final day of the NSSA East Coast Championships. Awards ceremony and pizza party for the NSSA competitors on the beach hosted by Nike 6.0. Awards ceremony will be held immediately following the last final of the day.
The 2011 NSSA Championship Series is presented by Nike 6.0 and proud to have support from Huntington Surf and Sport, Surfing Magazine and Sex Wax. The 2011 East Coast Championships gives special thanks for the generous local support from Clancys and Red Dog Surf Shop. The NSSA is a member of Surfing America, the ISA-recognized National Governing Body for Surfing in the United States.
The NSSA East Coast Championships is the third of six events in the 2011 NSSA Championship Series. The 2011 Championship Series events include the Interscholastic State Championships at Huntington Beach Pier March 5-7 (completed), the Hawaii Championships at Kewalo Basin, Oahu, HI March 15-20 (completed); the East Coast Championships at New Smyrna Beach Inlet, FL April 7-10; the NSSA Jr. Championships at Huntington Beach Pier, CA April 9; the West Coast Championships at Huntington Beach Pier, CA May 18-22; the NSSA National Championships at Salt Creek and Huntington Beach Pier, CA June 16-July 3.