Story By Michelle Sommers ESA Executive Director, photos By Dick “Mez” Meseroll

The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) held its annual Easterns Surfing Championship event at Jennette’s Pier this week in Nags Head, North Carolina.  The Easterns is the ESA’s largest event bringing its top amateur surfers from Maine through Florida to the Outer Banks to compete in 23 age divisions that include shortboard and longboard.

Jennettes Pier looking dreamy.With both Hurricane Lee and Nigel dancing out in the Atlantic there was plenty of surf and quality conditions for the competitors to tango to.

“This is our favorite event of the year because it brings all of our top competitors to Jennette’s Pier to showcase their talent in the best waves on the East Coast,” said ESA executive director Michelle Sommers.  “It’s a week of great waves, tough competition and so many memories to be made.”

Kyan O’rourke was perhaps the most in form competitor of the 2023 Easterns and took out Boys U16 and the elite Open Shortboard divisions.

ESA All-Stars and St. Augustine District’s Kyan O’Rourke dominated the event by winning Boys U16 and the elite Open Shortboard division.  He also claimed second place in the Jr Men U18 division.

ESA All-Star from The Oldest, St. Augustine, Fl Kyan O’rouke beaming.

“Good things take time, and putting in the time to earn these titles was super fun,” said O’Rourke.  “Plenty of surf and good weather, solid competition and I’m stoked to participate once again in Easterns.”

“Becoming an East Coast Champion has been a goal of mine since I started competing”. Southern North Carolina All-Star, Matton Bain was crowned the Jr Men U18 Champion and copped the highest wave score of the event – a 9.50. Goal more than accomplished.

All-Star, Matton Bain, from ESA’s Southern North Carolina District, was crowned the Jr Men U18 Champion with the highest wave score of the event – a 9.50.“Becoming an East Coast Champion has been a goal of mine since I started competing,” said Bain.  “I’m glad that my hard work is beginning to pay off and I want to continue building on this momentum.”

North Central Florida’s Carlie Eastwood surfed her way through tough competition to become the Jr Women U18 Champion.

North Central Florida’s Carlie Eastwood surfed powerfully as evidenced by the waves many she absolutely crushed across all of her heats to become the Jr Women U18 Champion.

Girl Power- in and out of the water. Watch out for this one!

Central North Carolina’s Dakota Cottle won the Mens Longboard Division by impressing the judges with his style.  He impressed them again in the Open Longboard Division to surf his way to second place while Southern New Jersey’s Kaiden Cameron claimed that title in an exciting final.

Dakota Cottle’s throw back, soul arching toes over the nose poses easily drew some the loudest cheers from the beach crowds during the four day event. Kid has some seriously great moves and stomped the competition by combo-ing all three competitors by heats end in the Open Longboard final. 

Southern North Carolina’s Skylar Steinmetz made the finals of Girls U16 and Jr Women Longboard and then went on to win the Girls U14.“Easterns is one of my favorite contests at one of my favorite breaks in NC,” said Steinmetz.  “It’s a championship that I very much look forward to competing in every year as I know it consists of the best competitors on the East Coast.”

Southern North Carolina’s Skylar Steinmetz made the finals of Girls U16 and Jr Women Longboard and then went on to win the Girls U14. She calls Jennettes Pier in Nags Head, NC one of her favorite breaks to compete at and it showed in her performances.

ESA’s Southern South Carolina District’s Georgia Brown and Virginia’s Estorya Martinez won Girls U16 and Girls U12, respectively.  North Central Florida’s Sawyer Glynn claimed the top spot for Boys U12 and Central New Jersey ESA All-Star Gavin Mitchell won the Boys U16.

U16 champ from South Carolina, Miss Georgia Brown. Georgia also made the Junior Women’s Longboard final placing fourth.

Mez from Eastern Surf Magazine was there to capture the epic moments and his photo galleries can be found on the ESA and Eastern Surf Magazine’s FB pages.

Full results may be viewed on LiveHeats.

Daily webcasts provided by Delmarva Aerial 360 may be viewed on ESA’s youTube channel.

We got surf ! ESA Easterns scores yet again at Jennettes.

Special thanks to The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, the Town of Nags Head and Jennette’s Pier for hosting the ESA.

Thanks to Surfalorus, Sharkbanz and Johanna’s Catering for making the event even better with movies access, prizes and amazing food, respectively. – Michelle Sommers –

A group of ESA directors surprised Executive Director Michelle Sommers with a beautiful Plak that award of a Mike Baytoff image commemorating her 10 years at the helm of the now 55 year old, and counting organization, that is still going strong. Congrats Michelle, well deserved !

 Open Longboard champ, Kaiden Cameron

Girls U12 winner Story Martinez is a total phenom, hard stop. She not only rips beyond her years on a shortboard but commands a longboard with equal aplomb and technique. This gromette is going places and, you heard it here first, will end up on the Tour one day. It’s just a matter of which sized equipment she’ll choose to do it on. Or maybe she can be the Shohie Ohtani, the MLB two way player mega-star, of female surfers and do it on both. Story on her shorty and …

… losing by a nose – 13.43 to 13.74 – to eventual winner, Madison Bennett in the the down to the wire U18 longboard final.

Madison Bennett just pipped out Story but the final was quite the nail biter from start to finish easily and one of the exciting heats of the event.

U18 longboard finalists Madison Bennett, Story Martinez, Georgia Brown and winner Skylar Steinmetz.

Mens winner Josh Motes lit it up during the final and during several prelim heats as well.

Motes gets a lift from his all North Florida finalist heat mates and emotes some serious stoke after clinching the marquee 2023 Easterns Mens final.

The south bank of the contest area with Nigels waves roping up the beach towards the pier. Can you say FIRING ?!

Girls U-14 finalists ( L-R ) Annie Peters fourth, Marlynn Glaub second, Gemma Cole third and winner Skylar Steinmetz.

Central Jersey’s Gavin Mitchell was consistently one of the top rippers wire to wire all event long and handily took out the Boys U14.

Georgia Brown, U16 Women’s winner.

Asher eastwood, U12 victor.

Asher Eastwood goofy footed his way to grom glory in the U12 division that was filled with future rippers looking to invade to older divisions. Don’t look now U14’S and 16’S, the kids are coming and coming fast.

Maryland’s Kai Sommers slices a backhand snap front and center of the judges tower during the Junior Mens Quarters.

Hot South Florida grom Charlie Moren was easily one of the top performing U-12’S  dispatching his competition with dominant wins in the quarters and semis but fell to an on fire South Georgian Sawyer Glynn in the finals for a second place finish of 12:43 to 10.20.

You’ll get ’em next year !