Saturday February 13th- Sun kissed surfers gathered along the splintered board walk of Spessard Holland Beach South, in hopes of participating in the first ESA contest of the season.While expectations may have been high, Mother Nature had a different plan. The pancake- flat water lapped ever so slightly along the sea shell invaded shores, as the vast orange sun hung low across the navy horizon. It was a haven for your average landscape photographer, yet anything but paradise for partakers in the opening competition.
“Sometimes when conditions do not cooperate, competitions will be held the next day,” said ESA Central Florida Co-Director Mario DeLuca. “However, in this case I cannot make it so we are going to move it to the next contest day which is March 19th at Lori Wilson.”
DeLuca grew up in South West Miami, and moved to New York when he was in Jr. High. He has been working in the surfing industry for over 10 years. The director started out as a tabulator, moved to a Beach Marshal, then to a director. After running the New York district from Florida for years, he was then elected to be a co-director here in Central Florida. What is more, DeLuca is a surfer as well having ridden everything from a 9’6 long board, experimenting with short boards, and admitting to me that with age and time he prefers long boarding altogether.
ESA originally started in Gilgo Beach, NY and will reach their 50th anniversary next year. There are 27 districts on the East Coast, and there is a West Coast division in California as well. In order to compete, one must be a member of ESA which requires a one time fee of $65.00. There are also family memberships for $95.00, support memberships for $35.00, and Surfer Magazine memberships for $5.00.
“There are different age divisions and classifications such as long board and short board,” said ESA judge Barry Pasonski. The age divisions range between 11 and under, through 60 and over.
What is more, the ESA is extremely environmentally friendly being primarily affiliated with Clean Water Network and American Ocean’s Campaign. These committees help protect our oceans and environment to ensure clean, safe coastal habitats.
For 19-year-old long board competitor Tyler Timpner, “Days like these are a huge part in surfing. It’s disappointing and frustrating, but you cannot control the conditions especially when competing. You have to learn to surf everything well whether it’s big and choppy or tiny and mushy. And when it’s flat and the contest gets pushed out it sucks but it is part of competing and goes hand in hand with the sport we all are so addicted to.”