At 8 o’clock sharp the first heat paddles out for the 22nd Annual East Coast Scholastics presented by TransWorld SURF. The kids and parents are truly dedicated to the event and make the best of the small waves here in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. They travel from all over the East Coast bringing multiple districts together to compile the largest amateur surfing association in the world, the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA).
Watching the surfing ability of these competitors, it’s no surprise that the ESA has produced the most world champions of any amateur association with names like Kelly Slater, Lisa Anderson, and CJ Hobgood. Regardless of the size of the surf, these kids are true competitors with a ton of energy, enthusiasm, and smiles on their faces.
In between heats the ESA and TransWorld SURF work hard to keep the competitors entertained with dodge ball, tug-O-war, water-balloon fights, food and drinks. There’s never a dull moment with this crew.
Division standouts on day one were Keto Burns, Dylan Kowalski, Nick Rupp, Savannah Bradley, and Weston Williams among others. The activities didn’t end in the water, either, but rolled right into the night with a pizza party for the All-Star team to announce the newly appointed Head Coach Jason Motes. Jason being a competitor in the ESA since 1976, and having only missed 4 championships since then is the perfect person to help train and lead the All-Star team into the future. Jason addressed the team with his plans for the future which will included a fitness program, competition strategies, and visits to the West Coast to join the Surfing America Pac Sun USA Team coach Joey Buran to help further increase their abilities to fulfill the dream of competing on the ‘CT one day. It’s a top-notch program for a top-notch team.
The boys division kicked off the morning and rolled into women’s by mid morning. The waves weren’t showing signs of increase just yet but with the midnight prayers of all the competitors it was sure to come. Once again, the kids stepped it up to a next level dodge ball tournament organized by Transworld’s own Nate Feliz. New lines were drawn and rules were upgraded to make this event a standout of the day. Throwing in the tug-O-war, which one side let go of the rope sending the winning team straight to the ground, and day two was off and running. The pizza showed up mid-day to refuel all the hungry competitors, and hungry is an understatement when dealing with these kids. They ate everything including the box!
Boy’s division heats started after the food frenzy, on what the competitors started calling “Lake Atlantic”. The predicted afternoon swell was coming up short and produced more wind than waves. To take the focus off small surf there was an impromptu product toss, which was really only a cover for a water balloon fight from the judges scaffolding. Bad idea as the kids returned fire with the dodge balls and ended the fight with a ball to the judge’s table. Oops.
Later in the afternoon the surf prayers were finally answered with some surfable waves for the Open Men’s heats and guys like Nick Rupp, Cole Richards, Dylan Kowalski, and Anthony Osment blew it up.
On the final day of competition everyone’s prayer for surf were answered! It was stormy, but head high to overhead for most of the competitors. The event kicked off at 8 sharp and took complete advantage of the conditions that New Smyrna Beach had to offer. The competitors were really able to show their skills and that is exactly what they did. The talent was on point and it’s no wonder they’ve produced three world champions out of the ESA. Once the finals ended we went straight into the awards ceremony with the most insane trophies I’ve ever seen. Debbie, Mary Ann, and Coach Motes took turns on the mic thanking the competitors, sponsors, parents, and delivered the results. I was fortunaate enough to hand out the trophies to all the finalists.
Thanks and shakas to everyone involved in the 2008 East Coast Scholastic Championships, we here at Transworld SURF are honored to be involved with all of you!
Presented by Transworld Surf, the 22nd running of the nation’s top scholastic event went down last weekend in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Designed to award more than $50,000 in scholarships funds, this event is also designated as trial number 2 for the 2009 ESA All-Star team.
2008 Scholastics Results:Menehune: