Hall of Fame
Surfing Legends of East Coast Surfing Championships Hall of Fame
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 August, 2012 : - - Six individuals will be inducted into the Surfing Legends of ECSC Hall of Fame as the annual weeklong summer beach sports festival gears up at the oceanfront. A special induction ceremony will take place in their honor at the Virginia Aquarium on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.
Established by the Virginia Beach Jaycees in 2005, the Surfing Legends of ECSC Hall of Fame consists of men and women who have helped the sport of surfing from Hampton Roads and along the East Coast and who have also played a role in the growth and success of the annual Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships (CE-ECSC) presented by Vans. The following individuals will be inducted into the Surfing Legends honor roll:
Hailing from Virginia Beach’s first family of surfing, John Holland is related to two current ECSC Legends, his father Bob Holland and brother, Bobby Holland. From his first rides on his dad’s paddleboard, John was surrounded by the sport all his life. John entered his first surfing contest at 12 years of age and continued competitive surfing until entering college in the early 1970s. John’s first involvement in ECSC was in 1964 (the second Virginia Beach Surfing Carnival) where he placed second in the “midget” division.
Over his career, John competed in each of the various surfing contests, known as “The Tour,” that raged along the East Coast. Holland was part of Hobie Alter’s team that won the ECSC Team Championship beating out Dewy Webber’s squad. He surfed against such greats as Gary Propper, an East Coast surfing legend in his own right.
Holland was named to the US Surf Team in 1965 at age 14 after he placed second in the Junior Men’s division at Gilgo Beach even though he was still technically in the junior men’s age group. He won the Junior Men’s ECSC title in 1970 and the following year, he broke his leg while driving a motorcycle he had won from that contest. During the year that it took to fully recover, he began judging surfing contests and immediately received praise for his unbiased calls and unimpeachable rating scores.
Eventually, John gave up the world of competitive surfing to focus on a career in medicine—first at Old Dominion for undergrad pre-med then attending EVMS medical school. Five years ago Holland moved to his long-cherished property in Nags Head next-door to his father’s house and now practices general surgery at Chesapeake Regional Hospital.
Cecil Lear is a co-founder of what would become the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), the largest and oldest amateur surfing association in the world. A Jersey Shore native, Lear spent a lifetime on the water as a swimmer, a lifeguard and was eventually introduced to surfing in his early 30s. Lear and Mary Lou, his wife of over fifty years, live today in Belmar, NJ on property originally bought by his grandfather in 1920.
His most significant involvement with ECSC occurred in the late 1960s when he helped the Jaycees set up the competition criteria similar to what was being used on the West Coast. He also was instrumental in getting many surfers from California to come east and compete in ECSC. He helped bring names like Hoppy Swartz and Hevs McClelland, two huge names in the California competition scene in the ‘60s.
Lear was one of the first persons elected to the newly formed Surfing Hall of Fame in 1996, located in Huntington Beach, California. He continues to stay active in surfing and with ESA, nearly 50 years later; he also volunteers for Surfer’s Healing. “I am humbled by the honor of being included with such a legendary group. These dedicated people have all worked so selflessly and tirelessly to establish and maintain the ECSC as the premier East Coast surfing contest and a world class event!” -- Cecil Lear
Heather “Mimi” Munro
At CE-ECSC this year, Mimi becomes the first female inductee to the Surfing Legends of ECSC hall of fame. This mother of four (three of whom are surfers) and grandmother of nine, has been called one of the true matriarchs of surfing. As a schoolgirl, Munro dominated the women’s divisions of East Coast surfing as a in the early to mid 1960s. She won the first contest she ever entered in the Florida State Championships in 1965 at the tender age of 13. Eventually Mimi won at ECSC twice (1965-66).
Born in Daytona and raised in Ormond Beach, Mimi first learned to surf by trying out a family friend’s 10 ft. board and stood up on platform her first time. She gave up playing tennis and sailing and perfected her surfing technique by “borrowing” her older brothers surfboard whenever he wasn’t looking. After that, she had surfboards aplenty to choose to ride, surfing for Daytona Beach’s famous shaper George Miller and his Main Street Surf Shop team. For several years, she “piled into a van, entering contests and surfing our way up the coast with the Surfboards Hawaii and Hobie teams” until the team arrived at the final contest of the summer --ECSC in Virginia Beach.
After two decades of raising children and returning to the work world, Mimi was “board again” and came back to surfing on her 38th birthday at the Easter surf contest at Coco Beach. Mimi, who turned 60 in April this year, now owns her own surf camp and teaches men, women and children how to surf. This August, Mimi will once again make the drive from Florida to Virginia Beach to enter the Women’s Longboard contest. This time, two of her grandchildren will be competing as well—46 years since their grandma last won. “I have parents that bring up their young daughters and introduce them to me. That’s when I began to realize that what I did back then was important. Now I understand why it’s important.” – Mimi Munro
Roger “Buddy” Riggs
Many a Virginia Beach surfer got their first board from Buddy Riggs. Buddy’s family operated a Western Auto Store at two locations at the oceanfront at 17th Street. Buddy later joined his father, Sam, in the business and ran the store until 1983. During the early 1960’s, Riggs Western Auto sold famous surfboards brands like South Pacific, Tiki, Greg Noll, Gordon & Smith and Dewey Weber. Webber boards became Buddy’s most popular line and his hardware store was Weber’s largest dealer in the US. In fact, Dewey himself was a frequent visitor to Virginia Beach and ECSC because of the market and Buddy’s trade.
During ECSC events Buddy was an active promoter, advertiser and designated photographer. Riggs was one of ECSC’s most enthusiastic supporter and he took most of the pictures for the Jaycees at all the events including pictures for the news media and surfing magazines. Surfboard manufacturers and distributor teams came to Virginia Beach on a regular basis for exhibitions and promotions which played a major role in making the ECSC and Virginia Beach a major surfing destination.
Buddy was also at the forefront of a new and upcoming sport and business – skateboarding. He sponsored what is believed to be the first skateboard competition at Virginia Beach and his store sold skateboards and accessories along with surfboards in those early years.
Buddy participated greatly in civic affairs in the early days of the City of Virginia Beach. In 1961, he was appointed by Sidney Kellam as the youngest member of the merger committee for Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County; he served on the city’s Planning Commission (1970- 1976) and was on the Virginia Beach City Council (1976- 1980). “Buddy is a big part of Virginia Beach surfing and the long term success of the Jaycees sponsored ECSC. His designation as an ECSC legend is truly well deserved.” – Don Fentress the first ECSC chairman, about Buddy Riggs.
Veteran sports writer Lee Tolliver is a Virginia Beach local who grew up with a healthy regard for the outdoors. Today, as sports writer and Outdoors columnist for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, his love for Tidewater’s hunting and fishing is a regular staple for the market’s leading print and online news outlet. Most journalists have certain stories that truly they enjoy covering from among their assignments or regular news beats. Surfing in general and the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships (CE-ECSC) in particular are clearly two of Tolliver’s favorite topics.
His solid reporting has made the sport more understandable to casual news consumers and better appreciated by hardcore surf fans as well. Through his body of work, reporting on ECSC over four decades, Tolliver has helped three generations of newspaper readers better understand the annual surfing contest and the sport itself. His coverage helped establish surfing’s rightful place as a legitimate news event on local sports pages and airwaves. Tolliver has chronicled the event’s popularity on the city’s calendar of events and profiled not only the competitors on the waves but the Virginia Beach Jaycees, sponsors and other people behind scenes, up in the judging scaffolding and out in the crowd. “I always loved everything about the sport, and its ties with Mother Nature and the sea.” – Lee Tolliver
The son of a well-travelled Navy family, Paul West considers Virginia Beach “home” and traces his surfing roots back to Hatteras and 1st Street jetty. A self-described longboard surfing romantic, West always believed surfing to be more about the artful side, a private, almost spiritual activity. Because West was a surfer first and competitor second, he believed that any fair, honest competition should be focused on the surfers. That got him his start in judging and later directing surf contests, becoming the youngest district director for the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) and later the ESA’s East Coast competition director. Eventually he was named United States competition director and even coached and managed the US Team for many years. Associated with ECSC since the 1970s, West has done and seen it all over the years. His first involvement was as a competitor, then as a judge, then co-director; currently West is on his third decade as the contest director for the Coastal Edge ECSC.
He is currently the president of the United States Surfing Federation as well as the Florida Surfing Association (FSA) and has been active in many other national and international surfing organizations. In the past, Paul directed between 30 and 35 contests a year -- sometimes over 50 -- and has possibly run more surfing contests than anyone in the world. Going full circle, Paul now works mostly with church groups, Special Olympics, Wounded Warriors, Super Groms, orphanages, and has even taught 70 deaf and blind kids how to surf.
“Everywhere you go people have at least heard of ECSC, and you can usually find someone who has surfed it. Surfing is a small world and the ECSC has been a big part of the sport of surfing.” – Paul West
The Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans (CE-ECSC) is North America’s oldest surfing contest and the second oldest continuously-run surfing contest in the world. About 100 professional surfers from around the world will compete for cash prizes and ASP series points. Hundreds of amateur surfers will also compete for top rankings on the amateur circuit – and for the love of surfing. The entertainment festival and all sporting events are open to the public and free of charge to spectators.
The Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships is produced by the Virginia Beach Jaycees, an all volunteer, community service organization. Portions of the proceeds raised at CE-ECSC benefit the Jaycee’s many charitable projects. Volunteers are needed and welcomed. FREE live musical entertainment from regional and national recording artists on a beach stage is also part of CE-ECSC. For more information and a schedule of events, bands, and times, visit: surfecsc.com. Look us up on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Foursquare. Join the 2012 Coastal Edge ECSC Text Club to keep updated throughout the event; to join, text ECSC to 68683.
Source: O'Brien et al
Author: Kevin Gaydosh
Tags: East Coast Surfing Championships, Coastal Edge, Virginia Beach, ECSC,
Hall of Fame: Surfersvillage