ESA Appoints New Executive Director

Ocean City, Maryland (1/12/06) — The Board of Directors of the Eastern Surfing Association is pleased to announce the appointment of their new Executive Director, Ms. Debbie Hodges of Virginia Beach, VA. Ms. Hodges will be formally introduced to the surfing community this weekend at SURF EXPO in Orlando, FL on Saturday evening, Jan 14, at 5:30 pm in Room 210AB.

Kathy Phillips, of Ocean City, MD, recently stepped down as ESA Executive Director after a 15 year career at the helm of the largest amateur surfing organization in the world. “The search for a new Director was extensive and thorough,” Phillips commented, “and I have full confidence in turning this organization over to Debbie Hodges. She shares our vision for the future, but she’s very grounded in the history of the ESA.”

Hodges has lived in Virginia Beach since 1985, where she brought her two children up through the ESA programs. Since 1989 she has been involved in all aspects of local ESA VA District programs and for ten years she has assisted Region Director Harry Purkey in the adminstration and management of the ESA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships. “I feel that I have a strong understanding of the “on beach and “off beach aspects of running an event, a District and a Region,” commented Hodges.

Recently retired from a twenty year career in regional retail management, she has a strong background in administrative and managerial duties. “My work had me on the road for many days at at time. When I would come home on the weekends, I found some of the best times I spent with my children were at the ESA contests. It was and is a wonderful way for the three of us (and my husband) to be involved together. As I see it, the spirit of the ESA is its professionalism and the people that represent it, whether they are competitors, directors or “worker bees that make the organization run so successfully. I have always been a part of that spirit.”

“I’m honored and humbled,” stated Hodges. She continued, “My goal will be to remember our heritage with an eye and mind wide open to the future. After over fifteen years as an ESA volunteer, I’m excited to work with the BEST group in surfing-the ESA Board of Directors – and to take Kathy’s hard work to the next level.”

Debbie Hodges will be available for interviews at Surf EXPO and can be reached at the show through the ESA booth #1927 or call 757-287-7045.

The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), the largest amateur surfing association in the world established in 1967 and founding member of Surfing America–the National Governing Body for the sport of surfing in the USA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the sport of surfing through their regional programs & 26 districts on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes and Puerto Rico. For more information on the ESA or The Easterns"¢, please visit

The 2006 ESA Championship Season is proudly sponsored by ESA National Sponsors: Globe, SoBe, Rip Curl, Bolle, Surfing Magazine,, FCS, Morey & BZ Bodyboards, Surfco Hawaii, Sharkinetics Multimedia, Aquafluence Productions, Chums and Lost.