The 58th Annual East Coast Surfing Championship is still happening ... sorta.
After months of uncertainty, the East Coast Surfing Championship (ECSC) in Virginia Beach is underway, but it's definitely not the same as in years past. Unfortunately, no spectators are permitted, with the event maintaining ordinances of no more than 50 people on-site. Masks are required, and only surfers and event staff are allowed to be present—but that's not keeping the competition down.
In an interview with WTKR, Tony Pellino, the chairman of ECSC, said, "The surf competition is the core of ECSC .... When it comes down to it, it's all about the surfing."
Courtesy of Facebook
Up until now, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition had been the longest-running continuous surf competition in the world. Held in Victoria, Australia, it had been scheduled for April 8–18 but was forced to cancel due to the pandemic. Now, with safety measures in place and lots of willing participants, Virginia Beach is able to officially claim the title of longest-running surf competition. Over the 58 years of the competition's run, ECSC has grown exponentially—with street skating, volleyball, live music, and, of course, food vendors all becoming part of the event. Unfortunately, those aspects will not be featured, and, although there are no international surfers participating this year, the competition is in full swing.
"It's just nothing but smiles and thanks and safety, and safety, and safety," Pellino said. "Everyone's really stoked about it, and we're happy to host it."
ECSC runs until August 30, and the live stream of the heats can be found on the nonprofit's Facebook page, as can a list of upcoming heats and the results of ones you may have missed. As with the tides and weather, the timeline is subject to change. For example, it was just announced that tomorrow's surfing will begin at 7 a.m. rather than the regular 8 a.m. to take advantage of the low tide, allowing the surfers an easier take-off onto the waves and potentially longer rides. So be sure to check the Facebook page and Instagram account to stay on top of things!
How stoked are you that ECSC is still happening? WIll you be watching? Let us know in the comments!