Braeden Kopec has been surfing nearly his entire life.
As a 2-year-old, Kopec, who was born and raised in The Hammock, used to cling onto the nose of his father’s longboard as they paddled out into surf.
On Sept. 22, Kopec and several other Flagler County kids celebrated success at the 2018 Eastern Surfing Association’s Easterns Surfing Championships in Nags Head, North Carolina.
Kopec, 12, won the U12 division. Carl Burger, 13, of Flagler Beach, finished third in the U14 division. Evan Tyson, 13, also of The Hammock, finished fourth in the U14 division. And Olivia Beaven, 14, of Flagler Beach, took fourth in U18 for longboard.
It was Kopec’s fourth East Coast Surfing title, including three regional titles.
“I don’t really care about the conditions because it’s usually small waves here in Flagler Beach. I just surf. Just being in the water makes me happy.”
EVAN TYSON, 13
He won the Easterns thanks to a wave in the last 6 seconds of the final heat, giving him the score he needed to edge out the second-place finisher.
“I was super stoked for it,” Kopec said. “I had a great time. The whole event was great.”
The conditions made for pristine surfing, according to all four competitors. The waves were 4 to 6 feet.
Burger, who also competed in U16, said he had a difficult time waiting for the right set.
“It’s pretty hard,” he said. “You kind of want to catch every wave.”