Youth Division Finalists Decided Friday At The ESA Easterns
Menehune Luke Gordon, style for days. Photo: Ruddy
With the WRV/Hurley Outer Banks Pro in town—the ESA Easterns relocated to the North side of Jennette’s Pier and will run through Saturday afternoon. Now, two of the East’s marquee events are running side by side—offering the best amateur ESA surfers a chance to compete against top EC pro’s on the other side of the pier, if they so choose.
12-year-old Luke Marks, a top up and comer from Melbourne Beach, Florida did exactly that. While waiting to compete in his Boys semi final he beach entered the OBX Pro and managed to win his first round heat against guys twice his age.
Unfortunately, in his wave starved Easterns semi moments later he was unable to find any waves and eliminated in third position. Go figure.
“At least I still have the Pro,” Luke said after the heat, in good spirits. “It’s okay, I still have plenty of time to try and win a title here. It would have been nice to win my first year in Boys against the older guys. But it’s fun here, a little wedgy beachbreak, and everyone is super chill. We’re all here with our family and that’s really cool”
Spoken like a true professional—a young kid with a bright future and wisdom beyond his years. With his talent and attitude it’s only a matter of time before he gets his first Easterns title.
Like, next year.
Tomorrow in what is forecasted to be slightly larger surf, the 2011 Youth finals will unfold and by days end we’ll have a whole new crop of Easterns champions.
Here are a few surfers with a good shot at titles. —Zander Morton
Click HERE for the live webcast!
Keto Burns, floating through the Open Mens final Thursday. Photo: Dirt
Keto is a double Easterns finalist, competing in the Open and Junior Men divisions. In need of an 8.8 on his final wave in the Open yesterday he smashed a right and may have gotten the score. “I don’t know yet, I got that really good one to finish the heat, but we’ll see.” Tomorrow, he competes in the Juniors final, his last amateur heat. “I’ve got a couple more years in the pro juniors, but I haven’t won an Easterns title since I was in Boys and would love to go out on top." Photo: Ruddy
14-year-old Daniel Glenn surfed into the Open division finals and thinks he may have finished third. He’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s awards to find out for sure. At the moment, his only Easterns title is in the Menehune Longboard division, something he surfs “just for fun.” His real passion is shortboard, and he's in tomorrow’s Boys final. “I love it here, with the offshore winds it’s small today—hopefully the surf gets bigger and I can win the shortboard final.” A standout in the free surfs all week, don’t be surprised if he does just that. Photo: Ruddy
Luke lost in a close Boys semi final—but is still in the WRV/Hurley OBX Pro round of 64 and will surf Saturday morning. Photo: Ruddy
This is Maddie Peterson's third year competing at the Easterns. She’s yet to win an ESA title. “It would mean a lot to win the girls final. I’m just trying to get a title and gain more knowledge competing here at the Easterns. So far it’s been a lot of fun.” Big smile. Big future. Photo: Ruddy
Stevie Pittman is shy—unassuming and mostly at a loss for words on land. In the water, he’s quite the opposite. Despite being only 10 he has a strong fire for competition—when he surfs a heat, he wants to come first. “I’ve been working really hard, it would mean everything to win.” Tomorrow he is in a Menehune final with close rival Luke Gordon and is a safe to bet to finish top 2. Watch out for this grom, he’s an EC’er with a bright future. Photo: Ruddy