Industry News

The ESA premieres its “50 Years Strong” documentary at Surf Expo celebration

Hundreds from the surf industry gathered together at Surf Expo to kick-off the Eastern Surfing Association’s 50th year at an anniversary celebration on Friday evening. The ESA proudly premiered its new documentary, “50 Years Strong” that included former ESA competitors CJ Hobgood, Cory Lopez, Shea Lopez, Ben Bourgeois, Wes Laine, Noah Snyder, Jesse Hines and Kelly Slater. 


“It was nice to include the best surfers in the world talking about their experiences coming up in the ESA,” said Michelle Sommers, the ESA’s executive director. “Everyone was excited for this milestone and wanted to be a part of it.”


New York’s Shoots Media produced the film in less than two months with the help of many contributing interviews, photos and videos. The WSL provided video footage for the film as well. The short film showcases the ESA’s beginnings and why the organization remains strong after a half-century of existence.  It celebrates 50 years of competitive surfing on the east coast, featuring some of the most influential surfers and directors who helped shape the path for modern day surfing.


The ESA’s co-founders, Cecil Lear and David Reese, attended the celebration and were moved by the support in the room of ESA members, competitors, volunteers, directors and sponsors.


“To see everyone in that room for the ESA, of all ages, was truly heartwarming,” said Lear. “We never expected for the ESA to be where it is today at its beginning 50 years ago.”


The ESA would like to give special thanks to Surf Expo, Cory Lopez, CJ Hobgood, Cecil Lear, LG from WRV and Hunter Joslin for their contribution to the event. Additional thanks goes to ESM, The Salty Crew, O’Neill, and Corkcicle, along with ESA’s 50th anniversary sponsors:


Shoots Media



Cinnamon Rainbows

Outer Banks Brewing, LLC

Magnum Moving & Storage

Wendy Mignot Fine Jewelry

The Surf Station

The Flatbread Company



Pam Hill

Harry Purkey

Joe Grottola & Lisa Roselli

Kit Henningsen

Cecil Lear

Ken Grondin

Daniel Duarte Jiu Jitsu

Andrews & Arnsdorff Realty


“50 Years Strong” is dedicated to Mickey McCarthy and may be viewed on the ESA website or at this link


Plan to join the ESA at their local, regional and national events in 2017 to continue the celebration as a competitor, spectator, volunteer or sponsor.


The Eastern Surfing Association is celebrating its 50th year in 2017, and is dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing, to the operation of a program of amateur competition for surfers of all ages and abilities, and to the establishment and preservation of free access to a clean shoreline and ocean environment. It was founded in 1967 by East Coast surfers to promote, preserve, and protect the sport of surfing on the East Coast.