Photo Countdown To The 5Oth Annual ESA Championships…

September 9, 2018 • ESA, Photos

It won’t be long until the first official hooter blows and the inaugural, green heat flag is raised up on September 16th at Jennettes Pier in Nags Head, NC signaling the start of the 50th running of the Eastern Surfing Championships. To get the competitive juices flowing the ESA and ESM will be running a daily photo countdown with some of the best action images, decisive moments and just plain fun times ( because isn’t that what it is really all about in the end? ) selected from the past years of regional qualifiers, the wave blessed 2017 Easterns and from five decades of amazing moments from deep in the ESM archives. For all info on the upcoming 2018 ESA Championship’s please go to and get ready to bring your A-game!

Shea Lopez circa 1989 Championships. Photo: Mez

If you could thoroughly check the backstories of former ESA competitors who honed their skills wearing the distinctive, iconic singlet across the five decades of it’s existence, you would find some of the most storied pros of any era or generation and from any continent across the seven seas. International amateur champs, National amateur champs, National pro champs, World pro champs including a huge number who may not claim World champ status but over came their regional barriers along the east coast to deeply impact the sport at every level and inspire each succeeding Right Coast generation to dream – and surf – big. That list is long and diversified and each name on it was born out of the Eastern Surfing Association’s womb of competition and guided by a literal army of dedicated, knowledgable and passionate volunteers and support crew from judges to tabulators to district directors who marshal these forces in the hope of bettering east coast surfers as participants in the sport. Just as important to the ESA is their development into good human beings imbued with good sportsmanship, self sacrifice, scholastic achievement and a give back mentality; all DNA markers of the goals of the organization itself. Two prime examples we bring to you for todays Photo Countdown are Gulfcoasters the Lopez brothers, Shea and Cory, who were ASP World Tour stalwarts and innovators in both small and huge waves from boosting then state-of-the-art airs, dropping into third reef Pipe like they were surfing head high Indian Rocks, Florida hurricane barrels to breaking down barriers as to what was possible at places like Teahupo’o. More important than the cover shots, posters or all the hardware they snagged, they are just all around good human beings that the ESA and great parenting helped groom them to become. It is not a stretch at all to claim the brothers as two of the best ambassadors surfing could have and that is just further testament to the undeniable, positive influences this organization has had on the Sport Of Kings since it’s inception. Somewhere Colin “Doc” Couture smiles.

Corey Lopez circa 1992 ESA Championships. Photo: Kevin Welsh / Surf NRG