2012 CE ECSC Legends – Hall of Fame
In 2005 during the 43rd annual East Coast Surfing Championships, the Virginia Beach Jaycees established a formal distinction for the “Legends” who have played pivotal roles to the growth and success of our local surfing contest. These men and women helped shape the sport of surfing not only in Hampton Roads, but up and down the entire East Coast.
Hailing from Virginia Beach’s first family of surfing, John Holland is related to two other ECSC Legends, his father Bob Holland and brother, Bobby Holland. John entered his first surfing contest at age 12 and continued competitive surfing until entering college in the early 1970s.
John’s first involvement in ECSC was in 1964 (the second annual 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 Weber’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. Ten 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.
“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
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 50 years, live 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 V BJaycees 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, CA. He continues to stay active in surfing and with ESA, nearly 55 years later; he also volunteers for Surfer’s Healing.
“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
Heather “Mimi” Munro
In 2012, Munro became the first female inductee to the Surfing Legends of ECSC Hall of Fame.
Born in Daytona and raised in Ormond Beach, Mimi first learned to surf by trying out a friend’s 10 ft. board – standing up platform her first time. She 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. As a schoolgirl, Munro dominated the women’s divisions of East Coast surfing 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 back to back (’65 & ’66).
After two decades of raising children and returning to the work world, Mimi was “board again”. Mimi, who turned 65 in April, now owns her own surf camp and teaches men, women and children. Several of her grandkids have also competed in ECSC, following in their grandmother’s footsteps. Thank you, Mimi for being the true matriarch of ECSC! We hope your family continues to surf with us for years to come.
“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.
Many Virginia Beach surfers got their first board from Roger “Buddy” Riggs. Buddy’s family operated a Western Auto Store at two oceanfront locations. Buddy eventually joined his father, Sam, and ran the store until 1983. During the early 1960’s, Riggs Western Auto sold famous surfboard brands like South Pacific, Tiki, Greg Noll, Gordon & Smith and Dewey Weber. Weber boards became Buddy’s most popular line and his hardware store was Weber’s largest dealer in the US.
During ECSC events Buddy was an active promoter, advertiser and designated photographer. Riggs was one of ECSC’s most enthusiastic supporters and took most of the pictures for the VB Jaycees 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 in addition to surfboards, his store sold skateboards and accessories.
Buddy participated greatly in civic affairs. 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).
“I always loved everything about the sport, and its ties with Mother Nature and the sea.” – Lee Tolliver
Tolliver is a Veteran sports writer and 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.
“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
West is the son of a well-travelled Navy family, but 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, 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 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. 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.
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.