With the help of local legend, Surf Coach Jason “Iron Man” Motes, the World Surf League and the Eastern Surfing Association have struck a partnership to help clear a path for more East Coast surfers to participate in WSL contests. The fruits of those discussions were on display earlier this month at Sebastian Inlet’s Florida Pro (Women’s QS 3000 and Men’s QS 1500), where eight of the highest ranking ESA surfers were awarded spots in the contest. The partnership with the WSL may signal a new era for the renowned East Coast amateur surfing circuit, which was founded by legends Cecil Lear and Rudy Huber in 1967.

21-time ESA champ and current All-Star coach, Jason Motes putting on a free clinic at the Jax Pier. Photo: Edward Reyes

ESA Executive Director Michelle Sommers tapped Motes (who currently serves as the ESA All-Star team coach), Cocoa Beach legend Matt Kechele, and WSL judge and Virginia Beach-native Dave Portch to lend strategic and logistical support to the discussions with the WSL. The group was influential in putting the pieces together for the new partnership, which earmarks spots in upcoming WSL contests on the East Coast for ESA surfers.

SURFER Magazine engaged motes in a wide-ranging discussion about the partnership and the historical importance of the ESA. You can read that interview, here.

Motes with a trio of ESA All-Stars at the recent Surf Expo.

Both organizations are still ironing out the specifics. But it does appear that a new era in East Coast professional surfing is underfoot.