Written by Michelle Sommers, photos and captions by Mez
Ocean City, Maryland – The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) held its final regional surfing championship this weekend on 36th street in Ocean City, Maryland. This was the third qualifying event for ESA competitors for a chance to be invited to ESA’s The Easterns® at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina September 17-23, 2023.
Sweeping drone pano of the 2023 ESA Northeast Regionals comp site and its surrounding barrier island environs. OCMD is one of the truly iconic surf towns on the East Coast and and the perfect time and place to hold the NER.
Amateur surfers from Maine through Maryland, as well as the Great Lakes, traveled to Ocean City, Maryland for ESA’s three-day event. The Northeast Regionals offered youth and adult divisions. Due to small surf and forecasted rain and wind, the ESA officials consolidated the event by double-beaching all day Friday, which allowed for a short day to finish on Saturday.
The gold …
“We were happy to have the waves that we had as Surfline’s forecast was for much smaller surf on Friday and Saturday,” said ESA’s executive director Michelle Sommers. “Our Northeast competitors are used to harsh weather conditions, so it was nice to offer this year’s event in summer-like air temperatures, sunshine and not a lot of wind.”
With long and winding, crisp little walls like this the longboard crew had a field day.
ESA All-Star Emmi Major was a top performer winning all three of her divisions, which gave her the event’s Iron Woman Award.
Emmi Major garnered major results with victories in the Girls U16, Junior Women’s U18 and Junior Womens Longboard securing her the vaunted Ironwoman Award as well.
It has always been a dream of mine to win an ESA regional event,” said Major. “I am stoked to win three divisions and looking forward to competing in The Easterns®.”
Miss Major with one her first place awards, a Plakthat plaque adorned with a beautiful water shot taken by the very talented South Carolina photog, Theo Potgeiter. Now THAT is one heck of a wall hanger, yeah ?
Another ESA All-Star, Declan Fitzgerald, won Jr Men U18 and Boys U16, as well as walked away with second in Open Shortboard. These results gave him the Youth Iron Man Award.
Declan Fitzgerald, won the Jr Men U18, the Boys U16 and copped a solid second in the marquee Open Shortboard division. Those results added up to winning the prestigious Youth Ironman Award.
“I am really happy with my results this year,” said Fitzgerald. “This was a fun event run by great people, and good job to all the competitors.”
The Mother Ship loomed large in the heart of OCMD and the ( mostly ) beautiful Spring weather brought the spectators out in droves for the sun and surfing.
Southern New Jersey’s Kaiden Cameron claimed wins in both ESA’s Open Shortboard and Longboard divisions.
Southern New Jersey’s super stylish Kaiden Cameron claimed wins in both ESA’s Open Shortboard and Longboard divisions. Quothe the young gun :I’m grateful for the opportunity to surf against a solid generation of groms,” said Cameron. “Stoked to see the impact that the ESA has on these kids as it’s a really cool atmosphere and glad to be a part of it.” Well said young rippah, well said.
“Grateful for the opportunity to surf against a solid generation of groms,” said Cameron. “Stoked to see the impact that the ESA has on these kids as it’s a really cool atmosphere and glad to be a part of it.”
U14 winner, the Garden States Gavin Mitchell cracked the code of the small, inconsistent conditions to go on to win the always hard fought clash of the U14 groms, one of the funnest most entertaining divisions to watch.
Ocean City local surfer and ESA All-Star Kai Sommers won the Hot Wave Award for having the highest scoring wave of the contest – a 9.0.
To the Hot Wave Award winner goes the guest shot on the local TV news. Kai Sommers explains to the reporter how he crushed one for the 9.0 that was the events highest score which was no mean feat to pull off in two foot waves for a strapping young lad who’s shaped like a full back.
Full event results may be found by clicking here.
The event webcast that was produced by Delmarva Aerial 360 can be viewed on ESA’s youTube channel – SurfESA.
Special thanks to the Town of Ocean City for hosting this event and to the local community for supporting the ESA.
With really ( really ) small waves initially predicted we’ll take this any day of the year for any comp. OCMD’s 36th street’s south bank looking fun, fun, fun during the morning high tide push.
The Northeast squad of the ESA All-Stars group up for a team photo with coach Jason Motes.
The DelMarVa’s very own Legends Longboard winner, Bryan Gloyd getting it done on a softie.
Womens Longboard winner, Cat Volmer.
Boys U12 winner, OCMD homegrown grom Christian Winter did his hometown proud.
Christian with his hard earned hardware.
While we count our good fortune for the waves that we had – small as they were for all three events – we will remember most all the laughs, good times and fellowship shared at each of the three Regional events this year on the long and winding Road To the 2023 Easterns. See you at Jennette’s Pier for the upcoming ESA Championships in September. Enjoy your summer !