Press Releases

ESA Announces Latest “Doc Rock” Recipients

As the Eastern Surfing Association prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017, we are proud to announce the latest recipients of the “Colin J. Couture Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Eastern Surfing Award.”

The “Doc Rock” is the most prestigious award in East Coast surfing because it honors dedication, commitment and service to the ESA and East Coast Surfing as a whole. There is not another award like it in the world.  Doc’s spirit and inspiration is that which the ESA was built upon and which continues to guide us.

The “Doc Rock” award is named for Dr. Colin “Doc” Couture and honors volunteer service because that is what he was all about and much, much more. Although he was not involved with the formation of the ESA, during his time as executive director, from 1972 until his death in 1989, he took a fledgling surfing group and turned it into the proud and powerful organization it is today.

Building on the foundation established by Cecil Lear and numerous other dedicated individuals and using the talent, enthusiasm and devotion of a wide-ranging group of volunteers, Doc dedicated his life to the ESA and its most important ingredient – its members. He made it happen with the sheer force of his will, his vast talents and an amazing ability to make everyone want to work at least half as hard as he was working. Doc’s accomplishments are recognized on a plaque that sits upon a large sandstone boulder at Natural Art Surf Shop in Buxton, North Carolina, – the “Doc Rock” as it has affectionately become known. Each recipient of a “Doc” Award has a plate added to the rock with their name and the date they received the award.

The list of dedicated ESA volunteers who have received the “Doc” award are as follows:

1991 – Bette Marsh

1992 – Cecil Lear

1993 – David Reese

1994 – Tom McClaren

1995 – Bruce Walker

1996 – Ruth Grottola

1997 – Peter Panagiotis

1998 – Ben Lane

1999 – Michael Angiulo

2000 – Linda Hanson

2001 – Kit Henningsen

2002 – Harry Purkey

2003 – Marilyn Austin

2004 – Jeff Phillips

2005 – Kathy Phillips

2006 – Lisa Roselli & Joe Grottola

2007 – Russ Atwell

2008 – Jeff & Tara Mosley

2009 – Tom Warnke

2010 – Allen & Bonnie Wolf

2011 – Burgess Autrey

2012 – Doris & Emile Couture

2013 – Clark & Ginny Wallin

2014 – Beth Schub

2015 – Angie Youngblood

2016 – Pamela Hill


These individuals have devoted incredible amounts of volunteer time and energy over the years to making the ESA what it is in its 50th year – the best, largest, proudest and oldest surfing organization in the nation, and quite possibly the world.  Doc approached everything with humor, wisdom and tireless enthusiasm.  He inspired people to always do their best, and he made everyone feel good about whatever they were doing.

The ESA is proud of its great history and knows that reaching its 50th anniversary is directly related to these individuals, along with the hundreds of additional volunteers who keep the organization running.

The ESA, which will be celebrating its 50th year in 2017, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit amateur athletic organization dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing.  The organization promotes amateur competition for surfers of all ages and abilities, and is dedicated to the establishment and preservation of free access to a clean shoreline and ocean environment.


Press Contact: 

Michelle Sommers

Executive Director

Eastern Surfing Association