Photos and captions by Dick “Mez” Meseroll @mezapixels *
( * The ESM management would like to apologize for the slight tardiness in getting this comp report posted but, we’re not going to lie to you, the waves have been going OFF the past two and a half weeks since the event ended and well, we played hooky and chased waves. We hope it was worth the wait and you all got some great waves as well- enjoy! – Mez – )
A less-than-ideal sandbar and finicky waves created a lot of schedule changes, lay days and double-beaching, but the ESA was fully prepared for whatever was to be. “We have learned to expect the unexpected whenever we have an event in the Outer Banks,” said ESA executive director Michelle Sommers.
While the ESA had contingency plans to move the contest site due to less than ideal sandbars the south side of Jennette’s Pier turned on just enough when she had to and providing tricky, yet at times very contestable, waves thanks in large part to Hurricane Fiona.
“Our officials were ready to consolidate the schedule and make sure heats were run in the best possible conditions. We had multiple location permits, extra judges, additional equipment and a larger beach set-up to accommodate whatever we needed.” The weather was amazing all week long and Fiona provided waves for competitors of all ages to showcase their skills among the best of the East Coast.
The occasional barrel was there to be had in the shore break but it just depended on the what an individuals risk and reward tolerance level was. In this case Beau Chan’s was, obviously, extremely high.
The Adult and Open Longboard divisions kicked off the event a day late on Monday, followed by the youth divisions Tuesday and Wednesday. Surfline’s forecast was showing Thursday to be the best of the week so ESA officials moved the Open, U18 and U16 divisions to the final day, which proved to be the right call.
Junior Womens U17 Longboard and U18 shortboard winner, ESA All-Star from Jersey, Audrey Iglay was once again a study in versatility and ability.
ESA All-Stars swept the first place trophies across all youth divisions with some claiming more than just one first place title. Central New Jersey’s Audrey Iglay won both Jr Women U18 shortboard and Jr Women U18 longboard divisions, while North Florida’s Lanea Mons claimed the win in both Girls U16 and Girls U14. South Florida’s Marylnn Glaub and Central Florida’s Sebastian Peters took first place in the Girls U12 and Boys U12, respectively.
UI2 victor Sebastian Peters, perched here atop former top ESA competitor dad Eric Peters shoulder, had to wage a full on seesaw dogfight with Athan Robertson to take the win and, if there had been just a few more minutes and one more set wave on the clock it easily could have swung the other way. We’re calling this one between the CFL and NFL wunderkinds the hardest fought, most entertaining heat of the entire event.
Central Florida’s Sebastian Peters ( left ) and North Florida’s Athan Robertson paddled battling it right up to the the final hooter. What a heat this one was and it’s going to be big fun watching these two very talented young guns go at it in the years to come.
Lenea Mons was, perhaps, the talk of the entire event after utterly dominating the Girls u16 and Girls 14 divisions with an amazing display of beyond her years fluid rail work and powerful, carving turns punctuated by heavy smashes off the top you would think her slight body frame couldn’t possibly accomplish.But she did. Handily.
ESA All-Star from North Florida, Lanea Mons smashing and ( next photo ) slashing her way to two very decisive wins in both the Girls U14 and U16 divisions at the 2022 Easterns.
“Winning two divisions at Easterns means so much to me,” said Mons. “It’s a tough competition because you have to perform in all conditions and while I’ve come close a couple times, I was hungry to get a win.”
Lanea Mons, hungry like the wolfette.
Southern North Carolina’s Fletcher Whittle won first place trophies for Boys U14 and Menehune Longboard. Central Florida’s Teddy Witteman is the Boys U16 champion and Delmarva’s Kai Sommers claimed first place in the Jr Men U18 shortboard.
Maryland’s Kai Sommers carved and muscled his way through some chunky, dumpy Fiona waves to win the marquee U18 event, arguably the pinnacle division of Easterns.
Southern North Carolina’s Kai Nau won the exciting Open Longboard division, while ESA All-Stars Gabe Griffin from Central Florida and Mako Musilunas from Northern South Carolina took home first place in the Open Shortboard and Open Bodyboard divisions.
South Carolina’s Kai Nau, winner of the Open Longboard division, gets an ice cold water victory shower from MC Phil Jackson.
“I was so stoked to come away with my first ESA title against strong competitors,” said Griffin. “The waves finally showed up and everyone was ripping on the last day. Thank you ESA for another great event.”
Central Florida’s Gabe Griffin, winner of the hardest hill to to climb and become the king of, the Open Shortboard division, made it to the mountain top at this year at the 2022 ESA Easterns Championship in Memory Of Cecil Lear.
Click here for full results
The ESA also celebrated the life of its cofounder Cecil Lear with a memorial paddle out and viewing of a short film about his legacy produced by Luda Ronky Captures on Monday evening. Cecil’s family, including wife Mary Lou, and a number of East Coast legends like shaper Rick Carrol and writer Matt Walker – both East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame members of the organization Cecil co-founded with Greg “Da Bull” Noll – were in attendance for the public gathering atop Jennette’s Pier that was sponsored by the Surfalorus film festival.
The paddle out for Cecil Lear, who co-founded this organization as well and supported it until the very end of his illustrious life, was attended by surfers from up and down the east coast.
Click here to view the short film about Cecil Lear
“Cecil will forever be here at Easterns with us,” said Sommers. “We miss him so much, but we know that he will always be with us and send us the waves we need, just like he did this year.”
Mary Lou Lear ( middle ) surrounded by her loving Lear family during the Luda Ronky produced Cecil doc premier which kicked off this years Surfalorus Film Festival at Jennette’s Pier.
Special thanks to the Town of Nags Head, Jennette’s Pier, The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau for hosting this event each year.
Please support ESA’s national and local sponsors and go to https://surfesa.org to join, support and follow the worlds premier, longest running amateur surfing organization . – Michelle Sommers –
The View from the ESA judges house for finals day at the 2022 Easterns Championship In Memory Of Cecil Lear. Just what you hoped to see as you crest the dunes at Jennette’s Pier courtesy of hurricane Fiona.
Central Florida’s Teddy Whitteman earned his “Shreddy Teddy” nickname this year as he surfed what seemed like dozens of heats over two days to win the Boy’s U16 division. Our hats are off to each and every competitor whom all showed so much heart, commitment and sheer stamina heat after heat in oft times challenging conditions.
Everybody seemed like an Ironman or Ironwoman this year. Teddy Whitteman summoning up the strength at the end of the Boys U16 finals heat and beating out Beau Chasn, Cose Stoyanoff and Gabe Griffin, a gaggle of the ESA’s most talented groms all on the cusp of doing great things going forward.
Talk about heart and commitment… New Jersey’s Beau Chan took it right to the limit barely surviving a dump floater in the shore pound and onto exposed sand to get the score that might might land him on top in the hotly contested U16 only to fall a bit short to winner Teddy Whitteman 16.17 to 13.17. It’s safe to say all competitors gave it maximum effort leaving nothing on the playing field or in the tank by contest’s end.
South North Carolina’s Fletcher Whittle shaped this board he’s riding and totally ripped on it all the way to the Boys U14 win. We mean, who the heck does that at his age ?!? Color us way beyond impressed with both groms surfing prowess and board building skills.
Audrey Iglay winner of the Women’s U18 shortboard.
Audrey Iglay with her two beautiful, Plakthat Brian Nevin’s photographed awards for her U18 Women’s Shortboard and U17 Junior Women’s longboard victories.
Central Florida’s Sienna Fleming from took third overall in the U16 Girls behind the surfing juggernaut that is Lanea Mons but left her own mark on the crowd, judges and the waves themselves.
And it isn’t all about the Youth Divisions especially when we’re talking about the battling Adult side of the comp. These guys and girls go after it hard, give no quarter and surf their heats with great energy and stoke like Georgia’s Ryan Trenary, winner of the Masters 30-39 division. GO Dawgs !
ESA All-Star Coach Jason Motes had, what was for him, a shocker at this years Easterns. He made the finals of the Senior Mens 40-49 ( getting second to on fire Shaun Arthur losing by 2.17 ) but no cigar, almost made the Open Shortboard final ( just needing a 4.17 to get to surf against a bunch of groms a third his age for a trophy ) and couldn’t quite advance in the Open Longboard which is when we think we felt the world tremble on it’s axis for a brief second, even with balls to the wall moves like this. Bottom line don’t ever, ever bet against Coach Motes, the leader of the Motes Militia, because like the contest Terminator he is, he’ll be back in 2023.
High tide at Jennette’s Pier during finals day with local legend and ESA set up man, Perry Creef ( second place in the appropriately named Legends 50 + division ) keeping a watchful eye on his home break.
Without a doubt Creef’s local sandbar knowledge and scouting weeks before the comp gave the ESA an edge on where the best break would be for the comp and where Perry surfed during the +50’s final.
Little Miss Dynamo and Girls U12 winner from South Florida, Marlynn Glaub.
Now this is an ear-to-ear grin. ESA All-Star Marlyn Glaub had a long ride back to South Florida but we’re sure her big win in the Girls U-12, and that trophy riding shotgun in the family car, made that trip go by fast with that smile probably plastered to her face the whole way home.
Coach Motes cranking hard in the Open Shortboard semi almost making it into a finals bracket filled with kids he either coaches or are near a quarter century younger than him or both. We’re pretty sure the groms all breathed a sigh of relief not to have to go up against the ESAs winningest competitor and some of the loudest cheers heard during the 2022 Easterns is when this Wiley vet surfed an Open Shortboard heat and kept advancing.
Nags Head / Jennette’s Pier drone pano during 2022 Easterns.
Virgina / OBNC districts Cose Stoyanoff, taking second in the Open Shortboard and third in the U16 Boys, impressed with moves like this every heat he paddle out into.
Becca Kennedy from Southern North Carolina took out second in the Women’s 18-39 Division.
Finalist in the Mens U18 with winner Kai Sommers getting doused with the double fisted victory ice water bath by Phil Jackson as judge Wiley Robinson looks on.
U12 winner Sebastian Peters banks off the top dappled in early Autumn “Golden Hour” sunlight.
Kai Nau gliding with 5 over en route to his U17 Junior Mens Longboard win.
Lanea Mons with her surfboard sized first place trophy for Girls U14.
Lanea Mons snapping.
See ya’ at Southeast Regionals next Spring ! Event co-MC Travis Ajay ( left ) and veteran judge Barry Pasonski relaxing at the judges house after the end another successful ESA Easterns Surfing Championship.