VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The surf may not have been the best for the annual East Coast Surfing Championship in Virginia Beach, but a good time was still had by all.
“Today is one of the bigger days I’ve seen in ECSC history,” said Wes Laine.
Laine would know – he won the East Coast Surfing Championship twice, and he now works for the title sponsor.
“Yesterday was the best day of the week so far,” he said. “Today is tenfold bigger.”
That’s a big, welcome change from earlier in the week. Until Saturday, ECSC surfers dealt with weak waves.
What’s bad for surfers might not be so bad for businesses along the Oceanfront. Eric Emerson, the general manager of Waterman’s Surfside Grille, said this year is the best he’s seen so far.
“With no waves on the first few days, a lot of the competitors are free to come out and have a good time at night without worrying about how they might feel in the morning,” he said.
Even during two days of better surfing conditions, Waterman’s didn’t suffer.
“Last year and the year before, the waves were better, so that was great for competitors and the overall atmosphere of the event,” Emerson said. “But for business, so far this year – it keeps getting better each year.”
The event itself has expanded beyond surfing to buffer against weak waves.
“ECSC has so much going on, from the Burton ramp demo, the BMX, there are bands playing every night,” Laine said. “So it’s really become much more than just a surf contest. These past few days, when the surf has been slow, they’ve been taking advantage and doing a lot of the other events.”
The main event is still surfing – competitors appreciated that finally coming through.
“The competitors are really excited,” Laine said.
ECSC will look at attendance and t-shirt sales to compare this year to past years. But they won’t have those numbers for a few weeks.