Presented by our Friends Of The Porpoise @ Wave Riding Vehicles

Story, captions and all photos by Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

According to esteemed surf historian Matt Warshaw of the Encyclopedia Of Surfing ( link here  ) competition surfing has been going on for hundreds of years.  Ancient Hawaiian Chiefs held surfing shows in the 1800’s.  Hawaii and California first reported contests around 1918 and the first international contest was The Makaha Championships in Hawaii in 1954. The actual first World Surfing Championships were held in 1964 in Sydney, Australia.

It took a long time for competitive surfing to figure out how to score big airs but that never meant you should stop practicing them. Logan Radd fins out and busting big. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Fast forward to 1967 and the ESA (Eastern Surfing Association) was formed and in 1971 the first ESA Championships now usually called the “Eastern’s” were held at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton North Carolina on September 11th & 12th.   In 2001 the competition was held over a seven day period and had almost 600 competitors ages 7 to 71.  As surfers, we all like to be a better wave rider than the next guy and we strive for greatness whether we know it or not.

A little sideline practice for Carl Burger. Twelve o’clock high. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos


When at a contest there is always one side or the other that people go to practice ( aka freesurf ) before their heats to get out and warm up so you feel their best and ready to compete.  Eastern Surf Magazine ( ESM ) and now has covered decades of events both large and small and pro and am, up and down the coast every year.

Dave Speir was in attendance at the USA Prime to see all the new young talent coming up. As always though he needed to get wet and get some aggression out . Speed float across the top. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

And while the main focus of our cameras are on heat after heat of competition, what takes place just off to the side is also an important part of the coverage and followed as closely as the heat out in the water as the surfers blow it up free surfing and under no pressure to win. The following photos are just a bit of that side action going on at a few contests and it’s alway a chance for ESM to check in on new talent and get some shots.

Between heats at the Prime event Girls U18 & U16 winner Zoe Benedetto staying sharp for the event. Practice makes perfect as they say. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Sterling Makish takes to the air during the ECO Pro’s Phenom Grom contest. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Each event on the East Coast is always a crap shoot for a swell. Most contests are held in two foot surf but when it’s the O’Neill Grom Search with clean waves like this one no one is complaining. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

ESA All-Star coach Jason Motes is not just going to sit on the beach all day, even a hard working dude like him deserves a break. Jason smacks a lone to the beach and kids take note, this is a proper, in form off the top to score points and something coach Motes knows a wee little something about as the ESA’s all time winningest competitor. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

All cameras are on Cose Stoyanoff’s tail slide snap in the shore pound. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

A nice tail slide from Ethan Lowe between heats. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Tommy Coleman always shows up to surf and support. Nose pick to reverse. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

When you come from a family of competitive power house surfers (Anthony and Kora Passarelli), it’s never too early to start getting your surfing in order. At just 6yrs old Stella has already been surfing for 5 years and is taking after her dad as a goofy foot charger. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

In any and all contests, this guy is a huge threat to the rest of the competition. Cody Thompson fins out. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

The ESA Regionals held in Indialantic, FL this year had great waves and great side action. Corbin Buckley air’s on a left. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Clean waves and clean moves. South Florida’s Vance Weyandt snaps on a nice one at the ESA Regionals. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Cooper Jewell AKA The Board Monkey gets up and over with a nice air. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos


There are more and more coaches these days, and CT Taylor is one of the best. CT showing how to do a proper backside snap. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Blake Tanner bangs a nice fins free turn. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Randy Nolan showing why his Instagram is @randolphrips. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Charlie “Gnarly Charley” Hajek has been competing longer than most, and still can win an event at any time. Charley gettin’ gnarly smacking one hard off the lip on the sidelines at the 2021 ESA SE Regionals. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Between his coaching duties Michel Flores get’s out to do a bit of surfing and rail turns. Coaches need to always stay fresh. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

When not surfing and the wind is blowing, take to your second passion. Cody Thompson on the sidelines during the Melbourne, Florida leg of the Boardriders Club comp at Paradise Beach / Howard Futch Memorial Park. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Young competitor Kylie Puicini is making a name for herself in and around the contest game. Nice tail slide on the inside. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Blayr Barton between heats warms up. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

The 2021 SE Regionals held in central Florida were at one of Sebastian Peters local breaks. At just 10 yrs old hitting the lip with a clean stylish approach will always win a few heats. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos

Clean snap at the Boardriders comp in St. Augustine. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos