After the nor'easter that pounded the Outer Banks for the better half of this week, flooding roads and shutting down power for thousands, it was starting to look like Easterns would have to be run in some pounding surf. Friday morning, things got underway after a day off on Thursday as the brunt of the storm came onshore. Thankfully no little menehunes blew away into the Atlantic, due in part to the foresight and precautions of the ESA. With the nor'easter conditions starting to dissipate, Friday saw the running of the real death heat at Easterns; the Jr. Mens semi-main death heat that is.
With conditions much more manageable today (three- to- five-foot surf and light onshore breezes), they opted to run two contests zones throughout the day to get caught up on heats after Thursday's lay day. Running dual heats throughout the day set the stage for Saturday, which is when we'll find out who will take top honors in their respective divisions. And at Easterns everyone is wondering if the sweep (Open Shortboard and Jr. Men's wins) is going to happen for the fifth year in a row.
The two Jr. Mens semi-finals will run Saturday morning, and the two competitors still in it who are most likely to pull off the sweep: Nick Rupp and Cole Richards. They both put up solid showings in the Open Shortboard final earlier this week (though the official results haven't been announced yet), and both are through to the semi-finals for the Jr. Men's division. But they've still got to make it through their four-man (top two advancing) semis heats, which are double elimination.
There were a few big upsets today in the Jr. Men's division with Balaram Stack falling in the quarterfinals, and Chris Kelly being ousted in the semi-main death heat. Balaram surfed a hell of a heat, but caught twelve waves, and was penalized costing him a first place finish in the heat, bumping him all the way down to fifth.
Chris Kelly's exit from Easterns took place in the semi-main death heat that saw six surfers (Chris Tucker, Mikee Fitts, Frank Roper, Jonathan Mincher, Kevin Cox, and Chris Kelly) all battling for the last five spots in the two semi-finals. Though Chris still has a legitimate shot at taking the Open Shortboard division from earlier in the week, with the winner being announced tomorrow. So today's narrow defeat wasn't even close to being a blemish on the year for this New Jersian by any means, though he was definitely hoping to repeat his brother Rob's sweep of both divisions from last year.
Things on Saturday will be kicking off with the continuance of the Menehune Longboard heats, then the Jr. Mens 4 man semi-final. Also set for tomorrow is the Boys, Girls, Jr. Womens finals, and will cap things off with the coveted Jr. Mens final. We’re also heading back to the Lighthouse for tomorrow’s competition. Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com and surfesa.org for updates from the final day of the 2008 ESA Easterns.
Schedule for Saturday
7:00 AM 32A Menehune Longboard Round 1
7:15 AM 33A Menehune Longboard Round 1
7:30 AM 34A Menehune Longboard Round 1
7:45 AM 35A Menehune Longboard Round 1
8:00 AM 36A Menehune Longboard Round 1
8:15 AM 37A Junior Mens 4 man semi final
8:30 AM 38A Junior Mens 4 man semi final
8:45 AM 27B Menehunes Semi Main
9:00 AM 39 Menehune Longboard Round 2
9:15 AM 40 Menehune Longboard Round 2
9:30 AM 41 Menehune Longboard Round 2
9:45 AM 42 Junior Longboard Round 2 Semi Final
10:00 AM 43 Junior Longboard Round 2 Semi Final
10:15 AM 44 Menehune Longboard Semi Main
10:30 AM 45 Menehune Bodyboard Semi Final
10:45 AM 46 Menehune Bodyboard Semi Final
11:00 AM 47 Junior Longboard Final
11:20 AM 48 Menehune Longboard Final
11:40 AM 49 Girls Final
12 Noon 50 Menehune Bodyboard Final
12:20PM 51 Junior Womens Final
12:40 PM 52 Menehunes Final
1:00 PM 53 Boys Final
1:20 PM 54 Junior Mens Final
1:40 PM 55 East Coast Hall of Fame
2:00 PM All Star Tag Team
30 Minutes – 4 prsn – 2 Waves
2:30 PM Contest Breakdown/Pack Truck/Beach Sweep
3:30 PM Awards – Natural Art Surf Shop