Welcome to the 2005 Eastern Surfing Championships and congratulations — you are among an elite group of East Coast surfers who have worked hard all year to earn an invitation to this prestigious event. The Eastern Surfing Championships is not only the end goal for so many East Coast surfers, but it is also the stepping-off platform to the next level, as you follow in the footsteps of other Easterns finalists who made a successful transition to the WQS, surfers such as Gabe Kling (SAFL), Eric Taylor, Bryan Hewitson and Falina Spires (CFL), Dean Randazzo (CNJ), Noah Snyder (OBNC), and Karina Petroni and Asher Nolan (NFL), to mention just a few.
So, surf hard this week, knowing that by virtue of your participation you are one of the top-ranked surfers on the East Coast. This event will continue to demonstrate to the world that the East Coast produces the most seasoned, talented and well-trained surfer athletes in the United States. Remember, your participation has put you in a class with other world class Easterns graduates like Wes Laine, Frieda Zamba, Kelly Slater, Shea and Cory Lopez, CJ and Damien Hobgood, and Ben Bourgeois. Of most importance, however, is the fact that your participation this week will help to inspire thousands of other East Coast surfers to set goals similar to yours, and they will now spend the next year working hard, with you as their role models, to improve their surfing skills so they too can add their names to the long list of Hatteras hopefuls.
I am so proud to be a member of the ESA and to be a part of this evolutionary process that takes place year after year after year. This coming together of friends, families, extraordinary athletes and outstanding contest officials is something unique to the East Coast — indeed the entire U.S. — and it is the very fiber that holds the Eastern Surfing Association together. So it is with sadness, but with a sense of well being, that I retire as Executive Director of the ESA this September.
I’m happy to be retiring, being ESA Executive Director is a time-consuming job. On the other hand, I’ll miss much of the activity that is associated with my work, the challenges, the sense of being out on the front lines of the sport when dealing with the industry, the media and the public. I won’t miss my ESA friends, because they are still my lifelong friends and I’ll continue to call them, write to them and see them regularly. I will miss the members who start as little kids surfing our contests and grow up to return to us (the ESA) as talented, hardworking, creative adults to take over the many aspects of this organization.
See that? There it is again, the very fiber that holds the ESA together. We are more than just a name at the top, we are a healthy, strong, cohesive organization, and I take my leave confident that the Eastern Surfing Association will continue to fulfill its mission of bringing surfers into the sport, protecting and preserving our coastline, providing healthy programs to our youth, and laying the foundation for you, our surfer athletes, to achieve your goals.
Have a great week, everyone, and I look forward to seeing all of you next year. You won’t be able to miss me — I’ll be the one in a beach chair cheering on the MD ESA team at the water’s edge.
Best Wishes to everyone.