Difficult conditions for the first day of the ESAs, but the competition was outstanding.

Competing in conditions that could charitably be called challenging, the first day of the ESA Eastern Surfing Championship got underway. Concerned that weather and surf conditions on Monday would deteriorate as Hurricane Jose passed 400 or 500 miles out to sea, organizers compressed two days of competition into one.

There was plenty of wave action, but the surf conditions were so sloppy with a strong northeast wind creating severe chop that some of the skill typically seen at the ESAs wasn’t immediately evident.

But make no mistake, these are some really good surfers and if conditions weren’t ideal, they was still some great competition.

It was truly a test of will and fitness. Waves battered contestants, and the best rides brought the board so close to the each that the best way back to the line was to get out of the water, sprint down the beach and paddle back out.

Unlike past years, both sides of Jennette’s pier was in action, and on the north side, the best water to paddle out was under the pilings on the beach and next to the pier where the seas were calmest.

Organizers are hoping to resume competition Tuesday, although at present the surf and weather forecast might call for a rearranging of the schedule. 

Competition is scheduled through the end of the week, and Wednesday through Sunday, weather and surf conditions are looking pretty good.