The Tour’s Next Stop: East Coast, USA

| posted on November 29, 2010

Owen Patchell knows that timing is everything when it comes to Atlantic hurricane swells. Photo: Lusk

Many of the Top 34 call one of the Mainland coasts home, but unless their last name is Gudauskas, they haven’t surfed their home break on Tour. But with the plethora of breaks the US coastlines offer, are there any spots besides Lower Trestles that are worthy enough for the world’s best? The ASP thinks so.

According to the 2011 ASP World Tour schedule, a new stop will be added at “East Coast, USA,” nestled snugly between Teahupoo and Trestles on the contest calendar. With over 3,000 miles of coast from Maine to the southern tip of Florida, “East Coast, USA” is just about as ambiguous as you can get. The ASP refused to comment further, as they probably have their hands full trying to figure out what no one before them has: how to predict a hurricane. Without one, most East Coast breaks look impotent compared to the rest of Tour schedule, which includes posts like Jeffrey’s Bay and Pipeline. However, the US is arguably the heart of the surfing world and a new Tour stop could be huge for their red, white, and blue surf fans.

The decision, however, has undoubtedly raised many questions. Why the East Coast? Are the wave possibilities there the best the US has to offer? What factors go into choosing a WT venue? Aren’t there better options on the West Coast? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a bit more complex. Two months ago, ASP officials and surf forecasters were contacted about the potential for a new World Tour stop, but nothing they said seemed to point to an impending East Coast event. “The continental US enjoys a slew of excellent wave venues that could host an ASP World Tour event,” said the ASP International Media Manager Dave Prodan. “The Eastern seaboard is home to several solid waves as well – albeit, consistency is a problem.” A lack of consistency can be a pretty big problem. Lay days, heat restarts, and groveling competitions can make a contest at one of the best spots in the world look like an attempt at a Lake Michigan Pro. This factor is what makes a competition at one of the premier East Coast breaks seem like a gamble.

“I think there are less than 20 spots in the world that meet the standards for a WCT event,” said ASP North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins. That’s an incredibly short list, and one that I would be shocked to find any East Coast spots on. Although the hurricane swells that hit the East can make some of the most gorgeous tubes imaginable, consistency remains king in the contest world.

  • Dr. Doolittle

    “The US is arguably the heart of the surfing world”?

    I would agree that the US has a strong surf culture, but until surfing beings to appear on daily sport recap shows, the front page of national news papers, and is enjoyed by >30% of the culture – countries like Australia, Brazil, France, South Africa and Portugal will be better recipients of such a title.

    Consistent surf is king, both for spectators and athletes alike. California offers some of the most consistent swells, and possibly backing up another event on the West Coast in November would be a good idea.

    With G-Land coming on in 2011 as well, I think the East Coast decision sadly will look a big mistake.

    There is no doubt the LOVE for surfing exists in the East…..but just not the consistent solid swells.

  • Tom

    My money is on the Inlet in New Smyrna,I’m still convinced there should be an event in Ireland,ProSearch maybe…

  • Whamo

    Schedule the East Coast event in September, make the venue flexible, up and down the coast, and follow the swell up or down the coast.

  • Doog B.

    Two words: Snicklefritz Reef

  • zach

    As long as ‘East Coast’ applies from Canada to Panama C.A. !!!

    First hint of hurricane, contestants have 24 hrs to report.

  • Gavin

    i like zach’s idea

  • Sue Konit

    SO GLAD they got rid of Chopes for New F00king Smyra. Can’t wait.

  • Walt

    A lot of the “perfect” tour spots end up being less than perfect for the actual contest. Is the goal of the ASP to crown the best surfer or the best wave? Maybe the reason KS has dominated is because he grew up on inconsistent central Florida waves as opposed to perfect waves elsewhere. If you can only surf good in perfect waves maybe you’re not the best. Slater & the Hobgoods have earned central Florida the right to host the event. Hold it at New Smyrna, Cocoa Beach Pier, or Sebastian Inlet.

  • jeff

    I can guarantee that “East Coast, USA” actually means “East Coast, USA, territories, and outlying islands”. The contest will be in Puerto Rico.

  • i know

    its being held in long island, ny.

  • Texmex

    Texas has better and more consistent waves than Florida

  • jerseymike

    From a marketing perspective If the ASP was smart they would have a tour stop in one of the beachs around NYC. This would attract NYC media with all the big names there and would bring out fans to watch Kelly Slater and others surf. Roll out Mayor Bloomberg presenting the tropy to the winner and have a whole week devoted to the event. this would be just a begining for future successful SURF events there especially if you get some great swell.Yea, there are other contests held there but they dont get the attention and most surfers dont care. Bring in the big ones and hype it up then the beach will be like a stadium for the surfers. just my 2 cents

  • Haole

    i live in new hampshire. we can go a month without a waist high wave. the asp is retarded

  • Carl P

    Ocean City MD has reat waves that time of year and is easily accessable via Washing DC or Philly Internationl airports. Welcome ASP; see you int he fall.

  • JDub

    Ocean City? ha. Smyrna? mushy hurricane chop…ha. I live in FL and long island is the only foreseeable venue to provide the arena and wave consistency needed for an ASP event. booking my ticket north soon…

    don’t believe me? read it here

  • Andrew

    Two words: Monster Hole. It would be epic if there was a way to make it a moving event between first peak and the hole during a big hurricane swell or massive low spinning off central Fla. Firing glassy first peak and back bay ricochet at the hole would be insane. Sadly, we just don;t have the consistancy. BUT WE CAN DREAM!

  • gil

    Jersey Barrels or LI Barrels – depends on the wind. Otherwise OBX b/c have wind options with the Lighthouse or down to Frisco. If you look at the track record of swell for the Belmar Pro over the years there is a better chance of good swell there than at Pipe. Look at last years Pipe final and this years opening round????????

  • Wavo

    Here comes Allentown 2011 all over again. I’m from California and have lived on the Least Coast for 3yrs. I have caught pretty much every swell since I moved here and I can tell you not one day has lived up to an epic day at Blacks, BM’s, Horseshoes, or pretty much any other main break from LA to Baja. The photos you see of waves out here are illusions because they don’t show you all the chop, bump, closeouts, mush-out, wind, current, loss of speed down the line, and the short window of time it was actually somewhat descent. The waves out here are struggling and frustrating 95% of the time. Unless they structure the event like the Eddie or Mavs contests and have pros fly in at the drop of a dime for a swell this will be a joke. Can’t wait to get back to San Diego.

  • richy

    having a contest on the east coast would be great for surfing ,Predicting swells is better than it ever was. Puerto Rico would be my first choice.Lastly it is important to include the east coast and all kinds of waves there is a reason some great surfers have come from the east coast. Go back and look at all the people in Puerto Rico that kind of promotion could do wonders for the sport.