The ESM Q & A with Jason Motes By Jason Hoover:
“Jason’s enthusiasm for surfing and competing is what makes everyone love to be around with him. His motto is that it’s all about the kids, which is his focus. Jason has so much respect from everyone in the surf industry and the ESA is blessed to have the support of not only Jason, but his entire family, including Krissy, Josh and J.D.” – Michele Sommers / ESA Executive Director –
Jason Motes has been a competative machine for a couple of decades now. He’s also a surf dad, native Floridian, multi-time East Coast Champion, current Eastern Surfing Association ( ESA ) All Star coach and founder of the recently formed Motes Militia with ESA NFL district co- director and fiancee, Krissy Torelli. The “Militia’s” mission statement is to help aspiring young surfers get to the next level in their surfing and they couldn’t turn to a better, more seasoned comp vet then Coach Motes. We recently sat down with him at the Wave Riding Vehicles Outer Banks Pro to learn more about the winningest Eastern Surfing Association competitor ever and to catch up find out what’s next for the always energetic, surfing dynamo from Jax Beach, Florida. – Jason Hoover –
ESM: How many ESA East Coast titles do you own?
Motes: 30 East Coast Championships.
ESM: We know Billy Curry has a shed full of divisional and Ironman titles is there anyone with more?
Motes: Bill probably has more IronMan Titles—I love that guy, he is one of my all time favorite surfers. No one to my knowledge has more East Coasts Championships than myself.
ESM: Any pro hardware on the mantel ?
Motes: I won two Aqua East Pro AM’s that were held here in Jax Beach in the 90’s. But my best pro finish was a quarter final appearance in the Heritage Pro in New Jersey 1997.
ESM: You are a bona fide shredder free surfing but putting on a jersey and competing seems to be in your blood. What’s the motivation?
Motes: I just really enjoy competing. Most of the time, I’m a terrible free surfer (LOL) but when I put that jersey on, things just seem to come together.
Motes: My fiancé Krissy keeps me from eating “Ice Cream” LOL –Other than that, I am blessed I am able to spend so much time in the water with my GROMS “the MOTES MILITIA” –they really keep me going.
Motes: As a kid it was absolutely amazing sharing the water with my Pop. He was our ESA NFL director when I was a kid and that is when I really started loving surfing and competing. Then to have Josh with a passion for surfing, it’s been incredible to experience both sides of the equation (the son role and the father role).
ESM: With the resurgence of wave pools 2.0, have you ever or would you ever do a wave pool contest?
Motes: Heck Yea! Especially Kelly Slater’s wave pool.
ESM: Are you doing the new season of the ESA’s Talk Story? Yes, Michelle (ESA Executive Director) and I are discussing the details now.
ESM: Who’s on your dream guest list with maybe an 11-time world champ to kick it off?
Motes: Ha, I love it Definitely Kelly, Dave Speir, Matt Kechele, my dad and my son –surfing cloud break for a week straight. And of course all of my Motes Militia Groms They are too much fun to leave out.
ESM: Tell us about the Motes Militia?
Motes: So the Motes Militia was something I came up with for my advanced groms that I coach here Jax Beach. We surf and work with the kids and it’s a total blast doing it, the energy is so good and positive. You have to earn your spot by making it consistently through finals in our local ESA NFL district events or by winning some other big comp on the East Coast. We have so many kids getting so good so fast and it’s a joy to work with them along with my son Josh and my Pop ( former top East Coast competitor, JD Motes ). The pay off is I get to surf not only with all the groms but my family too. I had stickers and T-shirts made and the Groms and their parents are stoked on the program.
ESM: How many years have you now been the ESA All Star coach and anything new in the pipeline?
Motes: This Easterns® will be my 5th year as ESA All Stars coach and it has been absolutely incredible. A dream come true.
ESM: As the ESA All Stars coach, what are some of the things you try to impart to your kids both in the water and, more importantly, on land as human beings?
Motes: The most important concept I try to teach it to HAVE FUN and enjoy this time of their lives. They are so young and grow up so fast, that I really want them to enjoy this time of building relationships together through surfing and competing. As far as on land, I want to teach them about “giving back” and helping others. Giving back is one of the most gratifying things in life. I think so anyway.
ESM: How does it feel to be named a nominee for ECHOF recently?
Motes: I am still blown away with the nomination. I am so thankful to be in a list of many hero’s of mine.
Motes: I think there are many on this list that are much more deserving than I am, but I am truly honored to be placed with so many incredible surfers.
ESM: You work closely with ESA Executive Director Michelle Sommers on the All Star team as well as the Talk Story online series, any thoughts on that and the crew behind the curtain like Pam Hill, Joe and Lisa among many other hard working volunteers helping run the organization? It really does seem like a family affair at Regionals and Easterns® especially.
Motes: The “ESA Crew” defines true TEAMWORK. Michelle, Pam, Joe, Lisa and Krissy are the Dream Team of ESA insofar of how well we all work together and with all the killer regional support staffs up and down the coast. We all travel up the EastCoast for every big event – the three Regionals and the Easterns -and we have become a family. I am grateful that I get to be a part of ESA’s team.
ESM: Anyone you’d like to thank for helping you on your path?
Motes: Oh gosh yes….I would like to thank my fiancé, Krissy, as she was the one who pushed me to start surfing again after I took an absence from surfing during my darkest days. She was also the one who helped bring my family back into my life. I would also like to thank Michelle, Pam, and Lenny who went to bat for me to be the ESA’s AllStar coach. I would also like to thank my shaper Kenny Briel (Savage Surfboards) as he believed in me as a surfer and shaped my first board I rode on my “comeback path”.
ESM: What has surfing meant to you beyond just being a beloved sport?
Motes: Surfing is who I am. Surfing brings out the best in me and contributes to my ongoing growth in recovery.
ESM: We know you really appreciate and know your East Coast surf history so, when you see ECSHOF legends like Ed Fawess from New York, Pete Pan from Rhode Island and Billy Curry – one of the winningest dudes ever in the ESA – from North Carolina still showing up at Regionals and Easterns well into their 60’s and ripping and wanting it bad, does that inspire you to keep donning a singlet and getting after it?
Motes: Oh absolutely!! These guys were doing Easterns® in the 70’s when I was a grom and to see them “getting after it” still today, is absolutely inspirational. I don’t want any of them in my heats!! HAHA!