From Georgia to Delaware, surfers young and old scoured their quivers for their weapon of choice last week as the ESA Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition kicked off, lasting Thursday through Sunday. While the waves may have been less than epic, the stoke was prominent - and it was contagious.
This year's contest roster was filled with strong competitors, all shooting for the top spot in their divisions. Showcasing hopefuls such as Virginia Beach local, Ryan Leopold, The Regional paves the way for a future in competitive surfing. "To be even considered in the The Easterns(r), you have to do well in The Regional," commented Harry Purkey, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director.
With great weather on Saturday and Sunday, the semi final and final heats saw large crowds on the beach. All eyes were fixed on the Legends Longboard Division, the highest age bracket, which was "fiercely competitive," as said by Debbie Hodges, Executive Director of the ESA. The heat scores were extremely close between the top 3 surfers but in the end, South Carolina's Rick Anson came away with the win.
In addition to awarded performances, the region recognized its two youngest lifetime members with the first ever "Future of the ESA Award." The recipients were 5 year old Leo Delyannis of Virginia, and 3 year old Carson Mosley of Georgia (pictured, right; photo by Tara Mosley). These "Menehune" are the only surfers their age with a lifetime membership to the ESA, pledging a long future of growth with the ESA in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
"The event was a massive success and we could not have done it without this year's sponsors," said Hodges. "We owe them all a great deal of thanks - especially Transworld Surf and Gatorade."
The Mid-Atlantic proudly boasts the largest membership over its Northeast and Southeast sisters at over 3,200 people. With over 40 years of contributing to East Coast surf culture, the Mid-Atlantic Region is integral in preserving the surfing lifestyle.