Vans to sponsor ASP 4-star at ECSC

The Mayor of Virginia Beach, Va. and Vans announced at a press conference Tuesday the addition of an ASP 4-star Men's and Junior Pro event to the East Coast Surfing Championships scheduled from August 22 to 28.

The East Coast Surfing Championships, an event that attracts over 100,000 people to Virginia Beach, is the oldest continuously running surf contest in the country. The event began in 1962 on Long Island, New York, and moved to Virginia Beach a year later. This year it will celebrate its 49th year. Past winners have included Corky Carroll, Gary Propper, Taylor Knox, Matt Kechele, Tom Curren and Aaron Cormican.

The ECSC has not been an ASP-sanctioned event since 2001, and the East Coast has been devoid of an ASP-sanctioned event, aside from several junior pro stops, since the Sebastian Inlet Pro in 2009. The Vans 4-star and the World Tour's much-anticipated Quiksilver Pro New York -- slated for September in Long Beach, New York -- show the industry taking a solid interest again in the East Coast.

"Each year, the Coastal Edge ECSC draws thousands of spectators and participants. There's nothing like it on the East Coast -- this truly is the East Coast's premier beach sports festival," said Virginia Beach Mayor William B. Sessoms, Jr.

"This will be the highest prize purse by far [$85,000 for the men, $20,000 for juniors] and the highest ratings points since Taylor Knox won in 1999," says Wes Laine, manager of Coastal Edge in Virginia Beach and 1980/'81 ECSC champ.

The event is run by the non-profit Virginia Beach Jaycees. Coastal Edge came on as the title sponsor in 2009 and Vans became the presenting sponsor in 2010, also unveiling the Joel Tudor Vans Duct Tape Classic, an alternative longboard event.

"Vans involvement has been huge for the event. They bring a wide variety of support, team riders, and ideas," adds Laine.

Under the umbrella of the United States Surfing Federation, the ECSC has grown to become far more than just a surf contest. In addition to the pro event, there are over 40 divisions, as well as non-surf competitions ranging from volleyball to skateboarding over a six-day period.