Chances are that you have already heard about the Eco Pro Surf Series. For those that haven’t, let us introduce you to Florida’s newest surf series. The EPSS was the brainchild of South Florida’s Jim Tolliver, Donny Ottofaro of Future 6 Helping Hand, Kelly Kingston of Share The Stoke Foundation and Evan Miller of Citizens for Clean Water. As a team, they wanted to create a surf series designed to give up and coming pro surfers a place to compete for cash while providing a legitimate contest for amateurs looking to increase their competitive experience. The thing that defines this surf series and sets it apart from the others is that each contest in the series highlights and brings awareness to local non-profits that are making a difference in the world.
The first contest in the series, The Future 6 Pro took place last October at Ft. Pierce State Park and was the first Pro surfing event in almost 15 years at the North Jetty. The event is rumored by competitors to be the largest event in the state, especially for a one day event, in 2017 with 142 paid registrations. It was easy to see right away that this series would be showcasing some solid talent from surfers all over the world. Surfers from California, Trinidad, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Jamaica competed alongside the Florida rippers including several riders from the WQS like Chauncy Robinson, Tommy Coleman, and Giorgio Gomez. With waves in the 4-6 foot range, it was the perfect atmosphere for the surfers to go head to head with Mother Nature, themselves and the other competitors. With the successful contest under their belts and more awareness for Future 6’s amazing work providing children with disabilities opportunities to participate in free ocean-centric programs, their mission had been achieved.
Contest two, the Lagoon Awareness Pro, was held in head high waves at Stuart Public Beach in less than favorable weather conditions. With 96 registrations, it was clear competitors now had an idea of who was there to win. C4CW (Citizens For Clean Water) provided a solid location that had the Rox locals curious and supporting the second charity event. The Lagoon Awareness Pro had all the rippers from the first contest plus the addition of a local Pro out of Massachusetts. C4CW is a Florida leader in protesting the public’s right to clean and safe water and educating the masses on Lake Okeechobee discharges. Founder and Pro surfer, Evan Miller, was an excellent host and got his message across a packed beach.
The last event of the season was hosted by Share The Stoke Foundation; a non-profit dedicated to creating surf clubs and teams, hosting kids surf contests and donates Firewire Surfboards complete with FCS gear to kids all over the world. The Share The Stoke Pro was held at Jupiter Beach on April 15th. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this event to find out who would capture the series titles in all the divisions and the STS Pro had a super tight race heading the Men’s Pro for that chance to win a seat on Huey Surf Charters in the Mentawai Islands. This contest didn’t disappoint in any division and champions of the series were crowned!
Men’s Pro season champion Top 20 WQS competitor, Tommy Coleman, won the final event to seal the season title with overall points lead. Men’s Pro season runner up and top 25 WQS competitor, Giorgio Gomez, was the points leader going into the final event creating an exciting and aggressive match up. Several current & past WQS competitors along with the USA Team made for a very competitive field in our inaugural season. WQS competitors Coleman and Gomez followed by Junior Pro champs Chase Modelski and Chauncey Robinson, Daniel Glenn, Corey Howell, Michel Flores, Travis Beckman, Hunter Rolland, Jensen Callaway were Men’s Pro standouts the entire season. Tommy Coleman was crowned Champion and won the grand prize trip to Mentawai Islands courtesy of Huey Surf Charters (www.huey.com.au).
Junior Pro standouts this season included champion Chase Modelski, Tommy Coleman, Darian Pitcher, Blake Speir & Sutton Kerlin. Women’s Pro division was led by season Champion Coral Schuster followed by runner up Maddy Malezia, Ellie Barimo & USA team members Avery Adellotte, Zoe Bennedetto & Rachel Presti. Masters Pro standouts were season Champion Kent Compayre, David Speir, Jay Smith & Dave Hoag. Longboard Pro was dominated by Sam Duggan who went undefeated this season followed by Saxon Wilson, Brian Bowen, Ryan Conklin & Steven McLean.
Our season Champions for our amateur divisions included Men’s Open Champion Dave Hoag and runner up Darian Pitcher. Women’s Open Champion was Maddy Malezia with runner up Ellie Barimo. Boys U12 Champion was none other than the prodigy Kepa Mendia who battled it out all three events with runner up Sterling Makish. Girls U12 Champion was Sophia Kalantzis with runner up Kelsey Pitcher.
Eco Pro’s first season was a complete success thanks to our non profit partners Future 6 Helping Hand (www.f6helpinghand.org), Share the Stoke Foundation (www.sharethestokefoundation.org), C4CW (www.citizensforcleanwater.org) and our staff. Check out the amazing things these organizations do for the surfing community in our backyards.
Eco Pro founders and Competition/Event Director Jim Tolliver and Event director Donny Ottofaro of Future 6 are gearing up for the upcoming 2018 season along with Contest Directors Skye Robinson, Randy Nolan, WSL/ISA head judges Gordon Lawson, Chip Hall, Jeremey Saukel and WSL announcers William Kimball and Professional Surfer/Shaper, Shea Lopez. While friendships and partnerships were created, the Eco Pro crew is sad to see Kelly Kingston moving to North Carolina and giving up her charity spot in the series. The 2018 South Florida charity selected to replace Share The Stoke Foundation for the December 2018 Jupiter finale is the Surfing Florida Museum headed up by retired ESA Director, Tom Warnke.
The 2018 season will start with the opening event, C4CW PRO, at Ponce Inlet the weekend of September 8-9 followed by the Future 6 Pro at Paradise Park in Indialantic the weekend of October 13-14. The season finale and championship, Surfing Florida Museum Pro, will be held at Jupiter Beach the weekend of December 8-9. Stay tuned to the entire series and pre-party Surf Industry Nights at www.ecoprosurf.org and on all social media at @ecoprosurf.
The Eco Pro Surf Series mission is to plan, create, host family oriented surfing competitions and promote activities related to the beach and surfing while stimulating public interest in all aspects of these activities. The Series serves as stepping stones for Amateur and Pro level competitors looking to attain a higher level of competition experience. The Series will also include recognizing and benefiting selected small charities that positively impact our surfing community through surfing outreach programs, coastal conservation initiatives and Florida’s rich surfing history preservation.
For information on sponsor opportunities for the 2018 Eco Pro Surf Surf Series, contact Phil Lutz at Phil@f6helpinghand.org. All other questions can be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.