Eastern Surfing Association: founded in 1967 | Photo: ESA

Time passes quickly and, in 2017, the iconic Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Surfing on the East Coast of the United States has always had a special. Not only because there are great American surfers on the Atlantic shores, but also because the region created the best competitive surfer of all time.

The Eastern Surfing Association was founded in 1967 by Rudy Huber and Cecil Lear. Back in the day, their goal was to unite several small groups of competitive surfers and create a powerful East Coast team that could shine in the United States Surfing Championships.

Initially, the organization was divided into seven districts from Maine to Florida and the Gulf Coast. They promoted not only surf contests but also beach clinics and surf clinics.

The ESA Championships, also known as "The Easterns," have been successfully running since 1971 at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and never stopped growing.

"Most people I've been involved with in the surf industry have had some ties with the ESA. They've come up through the ESA, they've been in the ESA All-Star, they've been a pro," explains Michelle Sommers, executive director of the ESA.

"The ESA just creates that family type of relationship among all the surfers on the East Coast, and you're instantly bonded as soon as somebody says that they're a part of the ESA.

The East Coast of the USA "produced" two world champions - CJ Hobgood and Kelly Slater. Why? Because the ESA teaches the basics of competitive surfing, good sportsmanship, and to have fun in the waves.

"I think it helped me a ton. I had a lot of pride in surfing the East Coast events, and also being on the East Coast teams. ," notes Slater, who started surfing in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

The documentary by Will Baker and Keith Nicholson is an important piece of surf history and features many stars of the ESA generation including Shea and Cory Lopez, Wes Laine, Matt Kechele, Ben Bourgeois, Noah Snyder, Jesse Hines, Sean Slater, and others.

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