VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Paul West has seen surfing all over the world. He's noticed a number of international surfers make plans to visit Virginia Beach this time of the year. "I can't go to any beach in the world without at least running into somebody that knows about (the East Coast Surfing Championship), maybe even someone that participated in it.
"It is part of surfing culture in the world," said the championship surfing director.
West has been involved with the ECSC for over 30 years, and has seen it evolve into one of the premier championships in the country. "There's nothing like it on the east coast," he said.
"This event rivals the US Open in California." West feels the crowd numbers on the oceanfront reflect those sentiments. "As far as the crowds go, we easily run through a quarter of million plus over the entire event.
"Down here, it's just a sea of people. It's very exciting. You can feel the energy on the beach and you can certainly when you're out there in the water competing."
It's a full weekend for everyone; not just the ones wielding surf boards in the ocean. ECSC Chairman Terry Bader spent the last full year planning the tournament, which started August 18 and runs through Sunday August 25. "It takes at least 8 days to prepare for the event," he explains, "We start down at the 1st Street Jete by preparing the surf area...It takes 80 workers over (the last) eight days to get us from 2nd Street down to 11th Street."
Once the tournament starts, over 500 volunteers lend their time to make the weekend what it's become.
"It's really exciting to see what this event has grown to," said West.
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