Don’t Miss Espo’s 15th Annual Surf Classic

Come down to Ditch Plains Beach and check out Espo’s 15th Annual Surf Classic on Saturday, July 9. This is a great way to spend the day with your family and friends catching some rays and waves. The East End has some pretty talented surfers who should surely captivate the crowds. So get your boards waxed up, pack your coolers and hit the beach!

This contest is an Eastern Surfing Association-sanctioned event. The ESA is in its 43rd year and is dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing, and to the operation of amateur competition for surfers of all skill levels.

All ages are welcome in this contest. There are events for men and women, and boys and girls. Registration will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The first heat is scheduled to hit the water around 7:30-8 a.m. [expand]

I had a few minutes to speak to Jeff Esposito, owner of Espo’s, about his expectations for this year. Jeff said he was really thrilled that the classic has reached its 15th year. He said that some of the contenders started out here when they were 10 years old and now they are about 25 and in their prime. “It’s really amazing to see how far they have progressed,” he said, adding that the level of skill has increased exponentially in the 15 years the Classic has been running. “Previous winners from the first few years probably wouldn’t even place now with the talent today.”

Fifteen years ago, no one was thinking about catching air and doing 360s, but now, the East End and the whole Northeast in general, has become a big contender in surfing. It used to be Hawaii, California and Florida dominating the sport.

Esposito also said that the technology of the wetsuit has improved so dramatically that the season here can go all the way to December and starts up as early as April. This gives the Northeast a more competitive chance. Lastly, we talked about the shift of the male to female ratio. Throughout the years, more and more girls and women are hitting the water. Locally, some women surfers, such as Quincy Davis, Ariel and Alexis Engstrom, sisters of Lief Engstrom, are nationally recognized. They have been picked up by sponsors and are now surfing the pro circuit. Hopefully, if they’re in town we will get to see them down at the classic this year. After all, this is where they got their start.

Esposito said that two- to four-foot waves would be ideal. This would give the younger kids a chance to compete and the more advanced adults will have enough power to pull off some great maneuvers. He wants to continue to encourage the kids to get out there, so in another 15 years we can see how far they have excelled. Actually, Esposito encourages everyone to surf. He just may have convinced me to give it a shot, and I will definitely be checking out Espo’s Surf Classic on Saturday.

Pre-registration is available at Espo’s Surf Shop in Amagansett on the Napeague Stretch. All adults are encouraged to pre-register due to limited space, and all events are first come first serve, though kids events will be open, even the day of. There will be complimentary gift bags, beach giveaways and food and refreshments served throughout the day to keep the surfers fueled up.

Jeff and the crew at Espo’s would like to thank the sponsors for this 15th Surf Classic, including Rip Curl, Creature, Billabong, Maui Jim and Vitamin Water, which is the official drink of the event, Ice Café of Montauk and Banzai Burgers of Amagansett, along with the ESA, the judges and Mario DeLuca of the ESA, who has been dedicated to the ESA for well over 10 years and volunteers his time to this contest, among many others.

After the event there will be an award ceremony at Espo’s Surf Shop, 2101 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, at 5 p.m.

For more information on the Surf Classic or store, feel free to e-mail Jeff at store@esposurfshop.com or call Espo’s at 267-SURF (7873). [/expand]

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