Best of the East

Rosenberg/East Beach Photography

An odds-on favorite this year is local Michael Dunphy, for an East Coast up-and-come, this is a chance to score some points toward entry in ASP Prime events.

The Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) presented by Vans storms into Virginia Beach this week. So what does that mean for Virginia Beach, Va? It means a massive surf contest featuring action sports demos and live music is right around the corner.

The ECSC was an ASP six-star last year, and dips back to a 4-star this summer. And while that may mean there aren't as many top global surfers looking for qualifying points, there's still a ton of amateur heats, a vert ramp, skim contests, volleyball, and bands -- which means people coming whether Jack Freestone is there or not.

"It definitely brings in tons of people from all up and down the East Coast which benefits the local community a lot. Business-wise, it's the biggest week of summer," says Michael Dunphy, of Virginia Beach, who was not only the last local boy standing last year, but the only East Coast surfer to make the quarterfinals."

The ECSC also still means a whole lot to surfers on the East Coast. In recent years, with former tour surfers Cory Lopez and Gabe Kling winding up on the wrong side of the proverbial bubble, most "right siders" haven't gotten close enough to even see that bubble. So, a 4-star that doesn't require flying to Central America is still very important to any inspired kid from Puerto Rico to New York.

And leading that charge will be Puerto Rico's Brian Toth, Florida hopeful Evan Geiselman, Dunphy, 4-star Rip Curl Puerto Rico pro winner Cody Thompson, perennial underdog Jeremy Johnson, Carolina finance whiz Michael Powell, Empire State hero Balaram Stack, and barrel-charger Nils Schwiezer. Even veteran Dean Randazzo will be in the mix.

And this is interesting -- Joel Tudor is slated to compete. The incredibly gifted longboarder and brains behind Vans Duct Tape Classic is apparently going to compete in a WQS shortboard event? Knowing what Joel can do on any piece of foam and glass, that is incredibly exciting.

The extracurricular activities this year include the traditional amateur surf divisions, 8K run, ECSC Golf Tournament, the "King of the Surf Fitness Challenge," and the Dream in Gold Junior Volleyball Clinic with three-time gold medalist, Misty Mae-Treanor. Featured band, the Silversun Pickups, seem like nice kids. It's not the kind of stuff that attracts wilding hoodlums. Even the Miss ECSC is a pretty tame time.

The event begins on Monday, August 19.

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