By Michelle Sommers
The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) started its 2023 championship season with the Southeast Regionals this past weekend at Paradise Beach Park in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. Surfing competitors from local ESA districts in Florida and Georgia traveled to Florida’s Space Coast in hopes of qualifying for The Easterns® Surfing Championship that is held each September.
“Florida’s Space Coast is one the best locations for our regional event,” said ESA’s executive director Michelle Sommers. “We always seem to have waves and it’s a great area for our competitors to visit with so many things to do.”
The holding period for the ESA’s regional events is three days, but due to the number of competitors and Mother Nature, this year’s event was consolidated into two days, with officials running double beaches the entire time.
“Surline’s forecast for Sunday was minimal surf, so we opted to get all of our heats completed by Saturday afternoon,” added Sommers.
Competitors found great waves with high scores throughout both days, including ESA All-Star Kyan O’Rourke from ESA St. Augustine’s district, who claimed the event’s Hot Wave Award with an 8.62. O’Rourke won all three of his divisions in the event – Open Shortboard, Jr. Men U18 and Boys U16. He also won the Jr. Ironman Award.
“I have been competing in ESA’s Southeast Regionals since I was nine and struggled to make any heats those first years,” said O’Rourke. “I have been putting a lot work into my body, surfing and competition strategy these last few months so it feels great to finally win this event that I have wanted for a long time.”
North Central Florida’s Carlie Eastwood also had a great event winning both her Jr. Women U18 and Girls U16 divisions.
“I have had a lot of runner-up finishes in the past and wanted to have been chaired up the beach for a long time,” said Eastwood. “I’m so happy that my hard work paid off for this year’s ESA Regionals.”
Full results can be found by clicking here.
NPI Productions provided a live webcast during the entire event that can found at the following links:
Day 1 webcast – click here
Day 2 webcast – click here
Dick “Mez Meseroll and Tom Dugan from ESM / www.eastensurf.com were on hand to capture many photos throughout the weekend. These can be found on ESA’s social media pages with extended photo galleries on ESA Facebook.
Finalists were offered awards and prizes from ESA’s sponsors Plak That, BWP Awards, Sharkbanz and OluKai.
Special thanks to Florida’s Space Coast, Brevard County Parks & Recreation, LiveHeats, Brace Scaffolding, Jungle Organic Restaurant & Market and all of the officials and volunteers who made this year’s event possible.
The ESA’s 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regionals will be at Jennette’s Pier April 28-30 in Nags Head, North Carolina, followed by its 2023 Northeast Regionals in Ocean City, Maryland May 12-14.