NSSA - National Scholastic Surfing Association

The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and assist its members in their interest to learn and develop the fundamentals and skills of surfing competition while competing in structured and quality events. The NSSA promotes the qualities of discipline and competitive excellence while supporting the merits of academic achievement to young surfers. The NSSA strives to provide a fun surfing experience for all of its members.

The NSSA is one of the few national youth sports organizations that require its participants to maintain academic standards in order to compete. Since 1978, the NSSA program philosophy has been that athletics and scholastics go hand in hand. More than 80 NSSA events are run nationwide that culminate with the annual National Championships which is regarded as the highest profile youth surfing event in America.

Surfer the Week - Archives (2020)

Surfer of the Week - 3/30/2020

JULIA GUILD

Age: 15 (16 on March 18)
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: San Clemente High School: 10th grade; Favorite subject: Math; GPA: 4.33
Sponsors: Mom and Dad!
Claim to Fame: It was an epic weekend for 15-year-old Julia who was competing for the San Clemente High School Junior Varsity surf team at the 2020 State Championships. In 2019, Julia took her first major championship win capturing the Junior Varsity Womens State title but at this year’s event she rose to the occasion with a beyond exceptional surfing display. Her backhand was sizzling on Seaside Reef’s infamous lefthanders racking up excellent scores which included a spectacular 18.17 heat total in the semifinals and a near perfect 19.54 in the final on scores of 9.87 and 9.67. Talk about putting on a Seaside clinic! “I have always felt more confident with my backside surfing, so I was super excited to see predominantly lefts at Seaside,” Julia said. “I went into the contest determined and I just kept my focus throughout the heats and didn't let anything distract me. I tried to just relax and have fun out in the water and I found a good spot with consistent waves.” Besides her impeccable back-to-back triumphant performance, she also helped lead the JV team to their sixth consecutive State title. “I feel so fortunate to be a part of the San Clemente surf team,” she said. “Coach Dowell is a great coach and has offered me insight into my surfing that has really helped. All the amazing surfers on the team are constantly pushing me to surf the best I can. It's a supportive environment knowing your team is supporting you and cheering you on!” In addition to team events, Julia competes in the Southwest Open where she is ranked in the Womens top 10. “I love competing in the NSSA contests," she said. "All the girls are so impressive and inspire me to do better. I am a very competitive person and competing in the Opens keeps me on track with my training and constant efforts to improve my surfing and compete the best I can!” Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: I love how Seaside has a reef, so it has a designated take off spot, making it easier to surf. Age you started surfing: My dad taught me to surf when I was 10. Local spot: T-Sreet, Lowers. Surf crew: My best friends Reese Dewey, Reese Hartnett, Makayla Moss. Favorite surfers: Coco Ho because I love her style, Bethany Hamilton because she only has one arm, is a mom and still totally rips and the Gudauskas' brothers because they are so generous in sharing surfing with people who wouldn't otherwise get to experience it. What is the best thing about living in San Clemente? Living so close to the beach with great waves and being able to enjoy it all with my friends. Fantasy Superpower: I would love to be able to fly! If you could surf like anybody who would it be? I would like to surf like Italo because he is so good and pulls off the craziest moves that look like it would be so fun. Hobbies: I like playing the piano, reading and playing with my adorable baby sister Rosie. Something people don’t know about you: I lived in Las Vegas until I was 10. Dream wave: Chicama in Peru. I would love to go there some day. Favorite thing about surfing in the NSSA contests: I love that it's 4- person, 20 minute heats, with priority and live scoring. And I love competing at new spots and being at the beach with my friends and family. Who has pushed your surfing the most? My friends have pushed me throughout the years to be the best surfer I can be. Also, when I first started surfing competitively, I trained with Coach Brandon Phillips with VERT Performance, and that changed my surfing so much and made me into the surfer I am today. Goals for the season: Do the best I can in every contest and requalify for Prime next season. Thank yous: I would love to thank my amazing family who is so supportive with everything I do. Coach Dowell for giving me awesome advice and everyone at NSSA for putting on such great contests.
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/30/2020

ZEKE CHOI

Age: 15
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
School: Liberty University, 9th grade. Favorite subject: History
Sponsors: Hurley, Pyzel Surfboards, Sticky Bumps wax.
Claim to Fame: Zeke had a breakout performance in a big way at the Southwest Open Season event 8 held at Salt Creek. The 15-year-old Newport Beach native not only made his first final of the 19/20 season, but he took it all the way claiming the first win of his NSSA career. “I was really stoked and surprised to make it into the final and finish up with a 1st place,” Zeke said. “My surfing felt pretty good throughout the day, but it definitely felt the best in the final. The waves that afternoon got really good after the wind backed off and the sets started coming in more frequently.” Zeke started competing in the NSSA when he was 12 and has been steadily working his way up the highly competitive and intense Open Juniors age bracket. Now in his final year of the division, he has been making big strides not only winning at Salt Creek but earning back-to-back finals appearances placing fourth at last weekend’s Open event 9 at Oceanside Pier. Zeke is being coached by former World Tour surfer Brett Simpson who is clearly making an impact on his improved skills and competitive results. “Brett and I train for contests by figuring out how to surf the waves where the contest is located and surf those waves to their maximum potential.” Also notable is that Zeke is part of that rising crop of talent coming out of the Newport Beach community and credits former professional surfer Todd Miller for energizing Newport’s fresh youth momentum. “I’m really stoked to have such a sick group of friends to surf with in Newport,” Zeke said. “We all push each other to be the best surfers we can be. Todd has definitely been at the center of it. He always takes us surfing and helps us out. It’s super cool to see so many good surfers coming out of Newport!” ## Favorite thing about Salt Creek: The air section on the right. Age you started surfing: I was about 8-years-old. My Dad and Grandpa taught me. Local spot: River Jetties. Surf crew: Taj Miller, Hadyn Norwood, David O’Keefe, Jojo Whelan, Nick Rivera, Zander Adelhson, my Dad and my Grandpa. Favorite surfers: Dane Reynolds because he is so unpredictable, Julian Wilson because of his flow and Ethan Ewing because of his style. Favorite surfers from Newport: Todd Miller because of how cool and funny he is and Dave Post because he rips and is super nice. What is the best thing about living in Newport? The fun waves and awesome surf community. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation so I can go to wherever the waves are firing. If you could surf like anybody who would it be? It would be Dane Reynolds because of how entertaining he is and no one else surfs like him. Hobbies: Film photography. Something people don’t know about you: I traveled around the world with my family for 10 months. Dream wave: Cloudbreak or Restaurants as a sand bottom right. Favorite thing about surfing in the NSSA contests: Hanging out at the beach all day with my friends and seeing all of them do good! Who has pushed your surfing the most? My Dad and Grandpa because of their support and pointers that have really helped improve my surfing. Goals for the season: Make finals in the NSSA Open and USA Prime. Thank yous: I’d like to say thank you to God, my family and friends and my sponsors.
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/30/2020

JOJO WHELAN

Age: 17
Hometown: Newport Mesa, California
School: Newport Harbor High School; 11th grade. Favorite subject: Math and Physics
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Darren Handley Designs (DHD), Caliente Southwest Grill, Citizen Water Co., Jack's Surfboards, and Tava Sunscreen.
Claim to Fame: Southwest Open Season event 7 was held in firing conditions at HB Pier in about as picture perfect as southside’s infamous sandbars can get. Overhead, glassy righthand lines and bluebird conditions were on offer after the fog cleared and Jojo delivered an outstanding triumphant performance. Known as “Big Bird” (yes, name taken from the 8’2” Sesame Street character) to his family and friends, the 17-year-old got things going right off the bat, taking first in his round one heat and never let his foot off the gas. He won every heat leading up to the final and then prevailed stomping his first win of the season. “I got an 8.33 at the start of the heat and then patiently waited 10 minutes for a backup score” Jojo said. “After that, I decided to stay busy and build up to a solid back up because it was so inconsistent in the middle of the heat.” Jojo is in a comfort zone on southside growing up down the street in Newport and he used that knowledge and skill of HB’s notoriously tricky and changing conditions in the final. He also works with local Brett Simpson who has a ton to offer especially when it comes to heat strategy, positioning and insider tips for competing on surfing’s biggest stage. In 2018/19, Jojo had a breakthrough season looking like he was well on his way to a becoming a championship contender, but he suffered a major setback with a substantial injury at the West Coast Regionals. He broke his fibula in a freak accident in his heat sidelining him for the Nationals and wiping out any hopes of winning a 15U Open Juniors title. “Watching the championships was hard because that season had been one of my best yet,” he said. “But it was still fun watching everyone compete.” Refusing to indulge in self-pity, Jojo focused on the positives and used his injury as a catalyst for bigger and better things. Benefitting from the adversity rather than shrinking from it, he worked tirelessly rehabbing the leg all summer to make it back in time for the start of the 19/20 season. “The injury definitely made me mentally stronger. Staying out of the water for that long was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. It had a way of making me more motivated than ever to succeed no matter what new challenges come my way.” As if the injury never happened, Jojo approached the new season with determination and his surfing is clearly at a higher level as noted by his number 3 ranking in the Open Mens division. He is the second surfer from Newport to earn Surfer of the Week honors joining fellow Newport Harbor surfer David O’Keefe who won the award in December. “Newport Beach is a tight surf community, Jojo said. “We know everyone, and we all look out for each other in and out of the water!” Favorite thing about HB Pier: How rippable the wave is. It’s a high-performance wave and it’s the location of the US Open. Age you started surfing: I started surfing when I was about 5 years old with my Dad. We would go down to the beach every weekend and surf all morning. Local spot: Newport 56th Street. Surf crew: Taj Miller, David Okeefe, Aaron Clark, Hadyn Norwood, Zeke Choi and Zander Adehlson. Favorite surfers: Ethan Ewing, Dane Reynolds, and John John Florence. Both Ethan and John John have the best styles in the world and are all around super fun to watch. Dane is one of the best free surfers in the world and goes all in on each maneuver he does. Favorite surfers from Newport: Dave Post and Josh Hoyer. Both of those guys were super progressive in their era and still rip super hard to this day. Fantasy Superpower: To be as smart as Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty. Then I could do whatever I want. Hobbies: I like to play guitar every so often. Dream wave: A right version of Teahupoo. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? I would want to surf like Ethan Ewing because he has one of the best styles and his rail surfing is impeccable. Favorite thing about surfing in the NSSA contests? You get to surf and hang out with all of your friends. Who has pushed your surfing the most? My Dad because he pushes me to be the best version of myself I can be and he teaches me that hard work and dedication will always lead to success. Goals for the season: Make World Juniors, win 3 NSSA’s or Primes and catch the biggest wave of my life. Thank yous: Big thank yous to my whole family for supporting me as well as Chad Wells, Brian Wallin, Laine Vaught, Heather Flanagan, every one of my sponsors and all of my friends for continuing to support me.
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/30/2020

STRYDER STELCK

Age: 11
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
School: New Brighton Middle School; 6th grade. Favorite subject: Science
Sponsors: None yet
Claim to Fame: The Pacific Northwest lit up last weekend with a potent swell delivering powerful 8-12 foot surf for the Northwest Conference Explorer event 3 at Pleasure Point. Announcer and east side local Austin Smith Ford was calling it the “biggest he’s ever seen” for an event at the Point. Double overhead on the sets and Stryder looked about as loose as you can get riding incredible waves that looked like mountains. All of us including the crowd of spectators on the cliff watched the young 11-year-old explode on the massive, dreamy righthand walls posting 9-point rides in almost every heat. Stryder was unstoppable in the comfort zone of his local lineup earning his first win of the season in the mega talented Menehuene 12 & under division. “I was so happy to win because this whole season I have struggled in my heats,” Stryder said. “This contest was at the spot I surf almost every day and I have surfed it pretty big a few times so I knew where to position myself.” With his home break pumping, the New Brighton Middle School 6th grader known as Strydog to his family and friends took advantage taking the contest by storm with his strong surfing display, while making people stand up and take notice. In the physically demanding conditions, he also tested his skills in the upper bracket Boys 14 & under division advancing through heat after heat making that final as well with an impressive 4th place finish. “I was comfortable with the bigger waves in this contest because I am used to surfing Pleasure Point,” he said. “I have surfed it pretty big a few times this season on a step-up. It is so fun to surf those types of waves.” Stryder’s breakout performance clearly showcased his capability of riding giants, charging bombs and ripping huge turns. “This was my best contest ever and my best result with the highest scores I have ever received,” he said. “I posted a 9.17, a 9.83, another 9.17 and an 8.67. I have never gotten these types of scores. It felt so good!” Favorite thing about the waves at Pleasure Point: It offers up a wide variety of different style waves depending on the angle of swell. I really like the long lined up right handers. How old were you when you started surfing? My parents taught me how to surf when I was around 3 or 4. They would push me into waves at Pleasure Point and Capitola. Favorite pro surfers: Finn McGill because he is the whole package, John John Florence because he rules big boxy barrels, airs and power carves, And Italo for the same reasons. He is so exciting to watch. Favorite surfers who have come from Santa Cruz: Sam and Ben Coffey, Nat Young, Shawn Dollar, Austin Smith Ford and Nic Hdez. They all are super insane surfers and really nice to me all the time! What is the best thing about living in Santa Cruz? We have so many super fun surf spots up and down the coast. Surf crew: James Daniel, Koa Depuydt, Jackson Taylor, and Adam Bartlett. Fantasy superpower: To breathe underwater, then I could surf the heaviest waves and not drown. Local spot: Pleasure Point. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? Italo - He is insane at airs, barrels and huge carving turns. Something people don't know about you: I love Nutella french toast from Harbor Cafe- it is soooo Goooood! Who do you train with? Austin Smith Ford and Nic Hdez- they talk about good wave selection, how to manage the clock and tips on my surfing. Both those guys are so good and I have learned a lot from them. Dream wave: A wedging right hander that barrels and then has a sick air section. Who has pushed your surfing the most? James Daniel and Koa Depuydt – Every time I surf with them they push me to surf a lot harder and bigger. If it wasn’t for those guys I probably wouldn’t be surfing as well as I am today. Goals for the 19/20 season: To surf consistently well and try to finish as high as I can. I really want to do well at Regionals this year too. Thank yous: My Mom and Dad and Sister Summer. They all support me so much and encourage me to do my absolute best. Also my best buddy James Daniel for being such a great friend!
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/30/2020

JACKSON DORIAN

Age: 13
Hometown: Kona, Hawaii
School: Acellus Academy; 7th Grade. Favorite subject: History
Sponsors: Billabong, Reef, Slater designs, Dakine, Mokulele Airlines
Claim to Fame: Jackson is only 13-years-old and he is already taking his surfing to big levels. The 7th grader known as “Jacko” to his family and friends went on a tear in his home waters at the NSSA Hawaii event at Banyans winning three divisions including an impressive victory in the Open Mens division. Surfing runs in his family. His Dad, Shane Dorian was a successful professional surfer spending over a decade on the World Tour and it is quite obvious he is passing along the blueprint to his son. “My Dad gives me a lot of useful tips that I try to utilize as much as possible,” Jackson said. “He takes me to the beach to surf every day and films my friends and me which helps a lot. At contests, he keeps me focused and helps me with a game plan.” Jackson is already becoming one of the most popular amateurs in the country -- not just for his name, but for his game and evolving aerial skills. Delivering a fantastic all-around and progressive performance at Banyans winning the Explorer Juniors, Open Juniors and Open Mens, Jackson showed he is one of the new generation of talented kids coming out of the islands. “I felt more confident surfing the contest at my home break,” he said. “The waves were all time all day and I got lucky and landed a couple of airs.” Innovative surfing is something Jackson focuses on. He names his favorite surfers, Italo and John John because “their surfing is incredible”. And his 2019/20 season goals prove his dedication to pushing the progression limits. “I just want to land good airs in heats!” he says. It’s going to be fun watching Jackson grow as a surfer. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the Nationals this year! Favorite thing about Banyans: It’s just super rippable, and it’s home. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me to surf. I started shortboarding when I was nine. Favorite thing about surfing in the NSSA Hawaii contests? How much fun they are! Lots of ripper kids to surf with. Local spot: Banyans. What is the best thing about living on the Big Island? You make a lot of friends. Surf crew: Luke Heflin, Brodi Sale, Max Germond, Kaiola Bray, CJ Bruno, Kaiden Lieto. Favorite surfers: Italo and John Florence because their surfing is incredible. Favorite surfers from the Big Island: I really look up to my friend Brodi Sale because he surfs insane. Fantasy Superpower: Invisibility. Hobbies other than surfing: Skateboarding, ping pong and climbing trees. Dream wave: A perfect barrel, a roundhouse into another barrel then an air. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? I would like to surf a mix of Italo Ferreira and John John. Who has pushed your surfing the most? Brodi Sale and Diesel Storm Butts because those guys surf so good. Thank yous: my Dad, Mom, Billabong, Reef, Slater designs, Dakine, Mokulele, Mike Parsons, Trav Lee and Micah Byrne.
 


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