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 (2018)

Surfer of the Week - 12/21/2018

BELLA KENWORTHY

Age: 12
Hometown: Dana Point, California
School: Capo Virtual School. "The Waves". 6th grade. Favorite subject: PE
Sponsors: Billabong, SunBum, Jacks, Sex Wax, DaKine
Equipment: Channel Islands Surfboards; Model: Fred Whip, 4'8" shaped by Mike Walter
Claim to Fame: The annual “Seaside before Christmas” Open Season event in the Southwest Conference is always a favorite of our competitors and consistently seems to provide pumping surf along with a most special, festive atmosphere. The sixth stop of the Open schedule held on December 15-16 was right on par at the iconic surf break with surfers delivering stellar performances in epic overhead conditions, but it was Bella who grabbed the headlines. The 12-year-old surfer/skater broke ground when she pulled off the first ever aerial maneuver in her age category. She won her sixth straight Super Girl final and remains undefeated in the division which is impressive enough, but it was the breakthrough air that was major in scope and scale. “I’m super stoked,” Bella exclaimed. “I have been wanting to do an air since last season but missed a few sections. I do them freesurfing but now I am so excited to pull one off in a heat!” Bella is a dual sport athlete who is a top competitive skateboarder. “Skating is super fun but different,” she said. “In skate competition, you have four chances to do your best run. In surfing you never know what you are going to do or what kind of waves you are going to get.” She successfully balances the two disciplines which clearly share similarities, especially in the aerial realm. And with very few females even at the professional level being able to take their maneuvers above the lip, Bella’s boost on that historic day at Seaside will continue to push the progression of women’s surfing! Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: I like the end sections the best on the right. Nickname: Boss Lady Bella * given to me by Paige Alms. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me. I rode my first wave with my Dad at 11 months but really stared at 5. Local spot: Lowers. Surf crew: Loyal, Sawyer, Dad, Izzi. Favorite Mens pro surfer: I like Filipe Toledo because he sends it. Favorite Womens pro surfer: Carissa Moore, because she rips and is super nice. Fantasy Superpower: To have the superpower to have every superpower! Something people don’t know about you: I can’t ride a bike. Dream wave: Snapper with no one out but my friends. Who has pushed your surfing? Me, because I want to be amazing. Goals for the season: To win Nationals in the Supergirls. Thank yous: Dad, Mom, and everyone who supports me through skating and surfing. Also thank you NSSA for giving us younger girls a place to compete.
 

Surfer of the Week - 12/11/2018

JACK ZOLTAN

Age: 13
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
School: Santa Barbara Junior High School, 8th grade. Favorite subject: Social Studies
Sponsors: J7 Surfboards, Buell wetsuits, White and Grube Orthodontics
Equipment: 4'8" J7 Surfboards, Situation model
Claim to Fame: Jack is part of an emerging crop of fired up kids on the rise from the Gold Coast region. Mentored by former NSSA standouts Chris Keet and Demi Boelsterli, the 13-year-old Santa Barbara native has been steadily improving his skills. Looking up to local surfer and WSL pro Conner Coffin has also inspired Jack to become a great surfer. “Conner is one of the most stylish, gnarly and kindest surfers from Santa Barbara,” Jack said. “It is so cool to see someone from my hometown be able to accomplish their dream.” This past weekend, it became clear that all of Jack’s hard work is paying off when he surfed to his first victory in solid head high conditions at C Street for stop #5 of the Gold Coast series. He then backed it up with another finals placing the following day in event #6. More impressively, he was able to push the level and showcase his winning form in the epic pointbreak surf that was on offer. “The waves were firing at C Street, glassy with perfect sections.” he said. “It felt so good to post high scores and get my first win at home. My friends and I were pushing each other to get the best results we could in pumping waves.” Jack will shoot up to the top of the Boys rankings! Favorite thing about C Street: It is a super rippable right bowl and one of the most fun right points. Nickname: Tiny. Age you started surfing: I was 7 when my dad pushed me into my first wave. Local spot: C Street, Emma Wood and Rincon. Surf crew: Tyler Chiarappa, Jak Zeits and the Modisette brothers. Favorite pro surfer: Connor Coffin because he is one of the most stylish, gnarly and kindest surfers from Santa Barbara. It is so cool to see someone who comes from my hometown be able to accomplish their dream. Fantasy Superpower: To be able to teleport to where all the best swells are. Something people don’t know about you: I love to play guitar and music. Dream wave: Snapper Rocks with just my friends and me out. Who has pushed your surfing? Chris Keet because he was there at all my contests pushing me to be the best surfer I can and Demi Boelsterli because she is a rad coach who is helping me to develop better skills and improve my contest surfing. Most of all my dad for always being there for me at every contest no matter if I am first or last. Goals for the season: To get more wins and go for a season title. Thank yous: My sponsors, coaches and most of all my parents who show their love and support to me everyday with the sport I love!
 

Surfer of the Week - 11/14/2018

TENSHI IWAMI

Age: 13
Hometown: Misaki, Japan
School: Misaki Junior High School; 7th grade. Favorite subjects: Math and PE.
Sponsors: Hurley, Oakley, FCS, Stance, Navigator Surf Boards
Equipment: 5'3" Luke Short design, GT model
Claim to Fame: Tenshi put on an outstanding surfing performance at the Southwest Open event 4 at Church winning double divisions in the Mens and Juniors. The 13-year-old from Misaki, Japan has been traveling to California for four years to compete in NSSA events and sharpen his competitive skills. Along with his rising talent and determination to improve, Tenshi has worked with coach Toma to further develop better surfing technique and contest savvy. And together they have enjoyed success. In 2016, he claimed his first National title winning the Open Mini Grom 10 & under division. Young Tenshi will continue to push his level this season as seen with his impressive Mens and Juniors win and will undoubtedly be one of the top contenders for 2019 championship titles! Favorite thing about Church: I like the long right walls. Nickname: Ten or Tenpe. Age you started surfing: I started surfing when I was 5 years old. Local spot: Shida Sita beach. Surf crew: I surf a lot by myself. Favorite surfer: Julian Wilson because I like his big airs and big maneuvers! Fantasy Superpower: I would like to be an invisible man. Something people don’t know about you: I love fishing. Dream wave: A wave that barrels! Who has pushed your surfing? Hiroto Ohhara. Goals for the season: I want to win the Nationals. Thank yous: My parents, sponsors and coach Toma!
 

Surfer of the Week - 11/6/2018

MANASQUAN HIGH SCHOOL

Age: Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, Freshman
Hometown: Manasquan, New Jersey
School: Manasquan High School
Sponsors: Inlet Outlet in Manasquan and BareWires in Spring Lake
Equipment: Surfboards of many shapes and sizes!
Claim to Fame: Winning a championship is a special feat for any team. But winning five in row? That is virtually improbable, and few have been able to do it. But Manasquan High School continued their spectacular domination at the 2018 Northeast High School Championships in their home waters of Spring Lake and captured their fifth consecutive high school crown. In a field of 210 surfers from 15 schools, the Surf Warriors were on their game in pumping 6-8 foot classic New Jersey conditions. Thanks to standout efforts by Jude Clark, Keaton Fortney, Cole Deveney, Morgan Iglay and Gianna Melchionda, Manasquan had clinched the title going into the semi-finals of the event. Coach JD LaCarrubba has been leading the team for the past 10 years and had this to say about his squad’s accomplishment. “Winning the fifth title was our goal from day one this season,” LaCarrubba said. “I knew we had the talent and depth to achieve it. It was a surreal feeling on the beach knowing that during the semi-finals we had locked in the win. Seeing how dominant our team was during the finals was the icing on the cake.” Manasquan surfers swept the individual victories as well with Clark taking the Mens, Iglay winning the Womens and Fortney sealing the Longboard for the fourth straight year. Clark went ballistic in the Mens final with a combination of big tube rides, lofty airs and powerful turns in the bombing surf. Despite an injury going into the event, Iglay dug deep for her team and Fortney was doing double duty in both shortboard and longboard divisions and was on fire in both disciplines, posting a perfect 10 in the Mens semis along with a commanding longboard performance. “My record as a coach is now 5-5, as far as championship victories, and I am extremely proud of that,” La Carrubba said. “Never expecting to win even one title when I first started coaching 10 years ago, it amazes me that this team now has five! The talent and dedication these kids have truly impresses me every day. They were so hungry for another championship win that they didn't have it in them to lose.” To win one championship is difficult enough. To win five shows how special and prominent the Manasquan surf team is becoming. They have fully emerged as a true powerhouse in high school surfing. Congratulations to Coach LaCarrubba, Coach Buss and the entire Manasquan squad!
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/17/2018

MAKAI BRAY

Age: 11
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: San Clemente Christian School; 6th grade, 3.8 GPA. Favorite subjects: Earth Science and Geology
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Lost Surfboards, SyckTrix.
Equipment: 4'9" Lost Surfboards Sub Driver with a swallow tail. Team manager Gian Bernini helps me with the boards.
Claim to Fame: Makai has kicked off the 18/19 season with an incredible 3 event win streak in the Open Boys 12 & under division. The 3 straight are so impressive not only because there is a wealth of talent in the division, but the waves have been pumping at every event. The Seaside Reef Open event #3 was firing with epic overhead conditions. The Boys final was stacked and the surfing from all four competitors was at an all-time phenomenal level. The kids were blowing up, trading excellent scores and Makai was on a massive tear of his own in the 25-minute final. Dynamic turns beyond his years and unleashing huge moves on Seaside’s hefty close-out sections earned Makai a two-wave total of 19.53 (out of a possible 20) which included a near perfect 9.93 score. In addition to sweeping the first 3 contests and collecting an armload of first place trophies, Makai has built a sizable lead in the rankings with 7 events remaining on the schedule. He knows how tough the division is, so to keep his spot at the top he will need to continue to attack each heat, especially competing against his hometown buddies. “One of the reasons I have won three events in a row is I really, really want to win,” Makai said. “My friends Cannon and Luke push me hard, so I just want to win.” Sitting at No. 1 going into the next event which is the Church Open, you can bet he will be focused and fired up to carry his winning momentum in to one of his local breaks! Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: I like linking the outside section to the inside section and finishing with a big hit or an air. Nickname: McCool. Age you started surfing: I was 3 years old. My Mom took me, my brother Maddox and my sister Malia surfing every day. Malia was who first inspired me to surf. Local spot: T Street and Lowers. Surf crew: My brother Maddox Bray, Cannon Carr, Luke Wyler, Dane Matson and Charlie Stevens. Our family friend Pietro Franca films me. Then we review footage together. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation so I can surf anywhere in the world and take advantage of the best conditions. Something people don’t know about you: I love superheroes. Dream wave: Hollow Trees in the Mentawai's. They call it HT's. Who has pushed your surfing the most? My brother Maddox because he rips super hard, surfs with his heart, and refuses to give up. Goals for the season: To win a National Title. Thank yous: My Mom and my Dad. They are supportive and allowing me to pursue my passion!
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/10/2018

JABE SWIERKOCKI

Age: 16
Hometown: Ventura, California
School: El Camino High School; 10th grade
Sponsors: Vissla, Channel Islands Surfboards, Sex Wax, Prolite, Sunbum, Dblanc
Equipment: Channel Islands Fever 5'9"
Claim to Fame: Jabe has grown a few inches over the past year and judging by his performance at the Oceanside Open in pumping overhead surf, his growth spurt is translating into bigger more powerful turns. After a second-round upset in the season opener at HB Pier, Jabe came back on a tear in O’Side taking first places in every heat. During his commanding win in the Mens final, he earned the event’s only perfect 10 with an explosive backside attack on a bombing set left. With his local spot being the often unpredictable, strong and shifty peaks and walls of Ventura Harbor, Jabe was accustomed to the cranking beachbreak conditions that were on offer at Oceanside Pier courtesy of Hurricane Rosa. “The waves were firing,” said Jabe. “I was lucky enough to get a couple of good ones.” The victory was his first in the highly competitive Southwest Open Mens division. That it came over defending Conference Open Mens Champion and good friend Dimitri Poulos made it even more special. “Dimitri pushes my surfing,” he said. “I don’t like losing to him.” The win rocketed Jabe up the rankings to the number 2 position as he looks to continue the momentum with three Open events scheduled within a month's time! Nickname: Habe. Favorite thing about Oceanside Pier: The long, fun lefts. Nickname: Habe. Age you started surfing: I started surfing when I was 8 with my Dad. Favorite surfers: Julian Wilson and Dane Reynolds because you never know what they are going to do. Local spot: Ventura Harbor. Surf crew: Whoever is out haha! Fantasy Superpower: To make waves. Something people don’t know about you: I can play guitar. Dream wave: Rincon. Who has pushed your surfing the most? Dimitri (Poulos) because I don’t like losing to him. Goals for the season: To keep getting better. Thank yous: Thank you to my parents and sponsors!
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/3/2018

WILLIAM "TEX" MITCHELL

Age: 15
Hometown: Oceanside, California
School: Inspire Charter School; 9th grade
Sponsors: Ocean Current, Watermark Surfboards, Raen Sunglasses, Surface Sunscreen, Surfride, Sticky Bumps and Turtle Island
Equipment: Watermark, 5’9" Trademark
Claim to Fame: The kid we know as “Tex” whose hardworking and dedicated approach has not gone unnoticed since he first came on the NSSA scene as a determined 12-year-old during the 2015/16 season, earned his first victory in Open competition at stop number 2 of the Southwest Open Season series at Oceanside Pier. In bombing surf generated by Hurricane Rosa, the Oceanside local surfed with confidence throwing his relentless level of power into every maneuver in all his heats. In the late afternoon Juniors final and the swell building with overhead sets, strong currents and tricky sections, Tex was in his element dropping an excellent 8.5 score and a solid backup 7.0 sealing his biggest NSSA win to date with family and friends cheering on the beach. The inspiring performance was huge not only because it was in front of the hometown crowd, but it soared Tex up to the number one position in the Open Juniors rankings. “It was super exciting to win at my home break with pumping surf,” Tex said. “There’s no better feeling!” Although many people don’t realize “Tex” is a nickname, the story behind it goes back to his Texas roots. When he made the move to California and kids in his surf camp found out he was from the Lone Star State, they started calling him Tex. Every time he went to the beach he was known as Tex, so it ended up sticking and becoming part of his personality! Favorite thing about Oceanside Pier: I like the pier bowl right the best because it has a super fun bowl to do big carves. Age you started surfing: I started surfing at 8. My uncle would push me in. Favorite surfers: Andy Irons and Chris Ward because I think their styles are unique. Their power surfing combined with their unique approach to the wave makes their surfing insane. Local spot: North side of Oceanside Pier. Surf crew: Chris Ward, Korak Tinoco, Oliver Levenson, Caity Simmers, Coral McDuffie, and the rest of the Oceanside crew. Fantasy superpower: Probably to fly. Something people don’t know about you: I have a sister, Ashlyn, but she doesn’t like coming to the beach so she is not at the contests. Dream wave: A long left barrel. Barrels or Airs: Barrels. Who has pushed your surfing? Chris and Korak because you have to charge in front of those guys. Goals for the season: My goals are to get better every day and win contests. Thank yous: Thank you to my family, friends and sponsors for all the support!
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/26/2018

REX HILL

Age: 17
Hometown: Mill Valley, California
School: Tamalpais High School-12th grade. Favorite Subjects: History, Photography
Sponsors: Headhunter, Sovrn Republic, Proof Lab
Equipment: DHD, MF DNA, 5’10”
Claim to Fame: Rex hoisted three first place trophies at the Northwest Conference 2018/19 season opener in Santa Cruz this past weekend. Starting off with a win in the Open Mens in chest high surf at Pleasure Point, the following day he continued the momentum adding two more victories in Explorer Mens and Juniors in dropping waist high waves at the Hook. “I am really happy to get my first NSSA wins,” Rex said. "It has been my goal for a long time. It was an epic weekend.” What separates the 17-year-old Mill Valley native from your mainstream competitive surfer is that his home break is Ocean Beach in San Francisco known for its treacherous lineup, sweeping currents and frigid water. “It’s cold, and there is a lot of paddling and heavy sections,” he said. “But it is a good community of surfers who always make it fun.” Coming from a place which offers extreme and challenging surf conditions, it is of no wonder that Rex acknowledges Timmy Reyes and Peter Devries as his inspiration - “In cold water they push the limits in 5mm suits.” It takes a certain tenacity and sometimes straight-up survival skills when your local spots are in the rugged Pacific Northwest, but Rex is dedicated and his triple win success at the season opener shows he is well on his way to a promising year! Favorite thing about Pleasure Point: At Pleasure Point there are long walls to do drawn out turns and the Hook is a fast wave with a couple of sections where you can make harder turns. Age you started surfing: I’ve been surfing since I can remember. My Dad taught me. Favorite surfers: Timmy Reyes and Pete Devries are my favorite surfers because they surf in cold water and push the limits of performance in a 5mm suit. Local spot: Ocean Beach. Surf crew: River, Ethan, Jacob, Ren, Mac, Connor and Gary. Fantasy Superpower: To breathe underwater. Something people don’t know about you: I learned to surf goofy foot but am now regular. Dream wave: Lances Right, Mentawais. Who has pushed your surfing? My parents have always encouraged me, and I have a lot of drive. Also, I just love to surf. Goals for the season: To surf well, to give it my best effort and to win more competitions. Thank yous: First, I am grateful to my Mom and Dad for always driving to the events and supporting me. Thanks to the local surfers who helped me progress. And thanks to the NSSA for making it possible and fun for kids to compete.
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/19/2018

LUCAS OWSTON

Age: 13
Hometown: Oceanside, California
School: Coastal Academy; 7th grade. Favorite subjects: Math & Science
Sponsors: O'Neill, Wienerschnitzel, Sun Diego, Stay Covered, Vestal, Pyzel Surfboards
Equipment: Pyzel SuperGrom Model 5'3" for Seaside Reef. The best rail surfing board EVER!
Claim to Fame: At 13-years-old Lucas is making a name for himself as one of the most dynamic young surfers on the rise. He has now won 3 of the 4 Southwest Explorer events for the 2018/19 season sweeping this past weekend’s doubleheader at Seaside Reef. Competing in the Boys 14 & under division, Lucas was surfing at an incredible level putting up high scores and locking in strong combined heat totals which included earning two perfect 10’s. The surf on the reef was solid but tricky as a combination of south and west wind swell made for unusual conditions. Speed, timing and flow were a must. But the Oceanside native adapted quickly and navigated the overhead outside sets linking rail carves and wraps while unleashing progressive turns on Seaside’s high performance inside section. “I just felt thankful to have good waves and the opportunities in my heats to go big,” Lucas said. “Seaside rarely lines up that way, but it seemed that in every one of my heats, the waves were pumping and I was always in the right spot, just in really awesome rhythm. God blessed me!” This contest will clearly be one that Lucas fondly looks back on as he continues to climb up the ranks. “What a weekend, two 10’s and two wins,” he said. I will always remember this weekend!” Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: It’s a difficult wave. It is both a ledging reef drop that goes to a huge open face and then into a beach break on the inside, so it makes you have all the tricks. But it is one of my favorite spots. Age you started surfing: I was 3-years-old when my dad pushed me in at Pine Trees in Kauai. Favorite surfers: Jordy Smith because he has it all…power, rail, flow and airs. I could watch him all day long. Local spot: Oceanside Harbor. Surf crew: The Simmers, Chase Niemann, Ty and Alyssa Spencer, Kai Williams, Keagan Rooney and all the O’Side locals. Fantasy Superpower: Sky Surfing like the Silver Surfer, best superhero ever. Something people don’t know about you: I really like BBQ! We have a Traeger and I am learning a lot about how to cook. Dream wave: Pipe, get barreled! Who has pushed your surfing? My dad who is a legend and with me every day and Garth Tarlow. Goals for the season: I am working with raising my average heat scores and heat strategy. And of course, I am going for a National Championship. Thank yous: I want to thank my family, I love you all. All my sponsors, Garth Tarlow , Shaun Moody, Uncle Pickle and Shannon Tarlow.
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/12/2018

NICHOLAS "NICO" COLI

Age: 15
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: Connections Academy; 10th grade
Sponsors: Hurley, Lost Surfboards, DSC, 1law
Equipment: Lost Surfboards 6'0" Driver
Claim to Fame: After two days of pumping surf and huge performances unfolding to kick off the 2018/19 Southwest Open Season on the southside of Huntington Beach Pier, Nico came out of the gates swinging to win the highly competitive Open Juniors division. With a more powerful approach to his surfing and a solid overhead swell to welcome in the new year, Nico was able to showcase his power game throwing heat and chucks on every turn. Growing up in the major surf hub San Clemente, the 15-year-old is surrounded by an influx of incredible talent and a surf history that runs deep. “Living in San Clemente is super sick because everyone surfs so you always have someone to surf with,” said Nico. “Plus it is really cool to having all the pros from your hometown surfing the same spots because it gets all of us kids psyched up.” Now Nico finds himself on top of the ratings and fully capable of getting on a roll this year. “I’m super stoked to win the first Open of the season. Hopefully there are more wins to come!” Nickname: Nico. Favorite thing about HB Pier: The inside double up is super fun. Age you started surfing: 3-years-old. My dad started pushing me in to waves at San Clemente Pier. Favorite surfers: Clay Marzo, Andy Irons and Noa Deane. They put all of their effort into every turn, air or barrel and that is really cool to watch. Local spot: Lowers, San Clemente Pier, Lost Winds. Surf crew: The Rodgers brothers, Liam Murray, Jett Schilling, Taj Lindblad, Kade Matson and pretty much every kid in San Clemente that surfs. Fantasy Superpower: To think of an item and it would just appear. Something people don’t know about you: I play way too much Fortnite. Dream wave: Teahupo’o. Who has pushed your surfing? My dad has pushed my surfing the most. He always tells me to go surfing when it’s bad and he is always encouraging me to try my hardest to improve. Goals for the 18/19 season: To do my best to come out on top at the end of the season and hopefully win a National title! Thank yous: Thanks to my family, even though I can be a pain haha! And thanks to my sponsors for helping me out as well.
 

Surfer of the Week - 8/20/2018

KEANU IGARASHI

Age: 16
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California
School: Halstrom Academy; 11th grade
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Sunbum, G-Shock, Huntington Surf and Sport
Equipment: Sharp Eye 5'6", 18 1/4", 2 1/4"
Claim to Fame: After two days of heavy, challenging action on the southside of Huntington Beach Pier to open up the 2018/19 Southwest Explorer Season, Keanu Igarashi claimed double wins in the Juniors division for the second straight year. The 16-year-old HB local was a clear standout in his home break putting up high heat totals and powering through round after round. After the first win in bombing 6-10 foot surf in event number one Keanu said, “This is amazing, it’s surreal. This feels like a mini version of what Kanoa just pulled off!” (a couple weeks prior, his older brother and current WSL #16 Kanoa Igarashi accomplished the unthinkable winning back-to-back US Opens). Kanoa, who was watching on the beach, was proud of the way his younger brother handled the gnarly conditions. “I like the way he went for it on the biggest set. He banged the outside really hard. Classic HB backside into the pier. It was sick!” On day two of the doubleheader and a slight drop in swell, Keanu’s knowledge and abilities on southside were undeniable. “I just absolutely love this wave and just feel so comfortable in the water,” Keanu said after taking his second victory of the weekend and sewing up the back-to-backs. “This means so much going back-to-back for two straight years. I’m already thinking of three!” Favorite thing about HB Pier: The Pier Bowl lefts into the pier. Age you started surfing: 3-years-old. My Dad and brother taught me. Nickname: Anuboy. Favorite surfers: Kanoa, Leo Fioravanti and Zeke Lau. Local spot: HB southside. Fantasy Superpower: To control the water. Something people don’t know about you: I like cooking. Dream wave: Kelly’s wave pool. Favorite contest wave: Huntington of course! Who has pushed your surfing? Kanoa has definitely pushed me the most. Goals for the 18/19 season: To try and keep my streak alive in the next couple events! Thank yous: Thanks to my parents for everything and to Kanoa for always watching me!
 

Surfer of the Week - 7/7/2018

ROBERT GRILHO & GABRIELA BRYAN

Age: Robert: 15; Gabriela: 16
Hometown: Robert: Kapolei, Hi; Gabriela: Kilauea, Hi
School:
Sponsors: Robert: Rip Curl, Sun Bum, T&C Surfboards, Oakley, Dakine. Gabriela: Monster Energy, Sun Bum, Sticky Bumps, Lost Surfboards, Tamba Surf Company, Hoa Kai.
Equipment: Robert: T&C Surfboards shaped by Glenn Pang. Gabriela: Lost Surfboards.
Claim to Fame: CONGRATULATIONS ROBERT AND GABRIELA. OUR 2018 NATIONAL OPEN MENS AND OPEN WOMENS CHAMPIONS!
 

Surfer of the Week - 6/5/2018

TOMMY MCKEOWN

Age: 16
Hometown: Oxnard, California
School: Ventura Golden Valley Charter; 10th grade
Sponsors: Hurley, Scosche, Prolite, Nectar, Roberts Surfboards, Future fins
Equipment: Roberts Surfboards shaped by Robert Weiner, 5'6"
Claim to Fame: One of the biggest storylines to finish out the 2018 NSSA Regionals series came out of the West Coast Championships with some of the most high performance and progressive surfing seen in recent years. Thanks to the perfectly shaped sandbars during this year’s Westerns, HB’s pier bowl served up opportunities for both power surfing and aerials and Tommy took full advantage. He was seeking his first Open championship title and was having a great run making the Mens final. Everyone was ripping in that final and Tommy was needing a 7-point ride to take the win. With seconds counting down on the clock, he found a pier bowl ramp, launched a massive tail high air reverse and perfectly stomped it. It brought the entire beach to their feet and when the 8.53 score was announced everyone knew it. It was “yes, he earned it, he just won the title!” “To win an Open Mens championship was a dream,” said Tommy about his victory. “So stoked to get that air at the end. I got lucky that wave came in!!!” Favorite thing about HB Pier: There are always fun waves there no matter what! Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me to surf when I was 4-years-old. How many years have you competed in the NSSA? About six years. Favorite surfers: Julian Wilson because he has the best style and Dimitri Poulos because of his power. Surf crew: Nick and Nathan Shore. Local spot: Mondos. Something people don’t know about you: I love fishing. Dream wave: Kelly’s wave pool. Who has pushed your surfing? Eithan Osborne. Goals for the upcoming contests: I’m looking forward to Nationals and hopefully I can make it to the finals and win it! And I want to win a Junior Pro. Thank yous: A big thanks to my Dad and Mom for making me who I am today!
 

Surfer of the Week - 5/8/2018

MATTY PIERCE

Age: 17
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
School: Santa Barbara High School; 12th grade
Sponsors: Channel Islands Surfboards, Sanuk Footwear, Avasol Suncare, Mesa Burger, Alki Chiropractics, WNG surf team
Equipment: 5’7" Channel Islands OG Flyer
Claim to Fame: For most of Matty’s amateur career, he has been somewhat of an underground competitor. The kid who calls himself Chunky_Slabs mainly stuck to his roots up in the Gold Coast territory. But this year, the Santa Barbara High School senior set higher goals for himself and traveled up to the Northwest Conference where he went on a competitive roll right off the bat winning the first two events in both the Open Mens and Explorer Juniors divisions. Staying focused and consistent by stringing together consecutive finals appearances in every event, he sealed not one but two conference crowns. With a strong work ethic and solid ability, Matty etched his name into the NSSA history books. But he will tell you himself that it was something he couldn’t have imagined. “When I was 10-years-old doing my first NSSA comps, it didn’t seem like winning a conference title would ever be possible.” he said. "But practice does make perfect and I couldn’t be more stoked to finally get one!” Favorite thing about the waves in Norcal: I like the diversity in the waves and how different each spot is. You can have a right point break and on the other side have a perfect left wedge. I’m used to surfing rights at home so I definitely like that too. Local surf spot: Rincon or Sandbar. Age you started surfing: I was around 4 or 5. I went to Surf Happens Surf Camp when I was about 10 and got really into it. Favorite surfers: Mason Ho and Conner Coffin. Mason because he has a cool style and has a very different way of approaching waves. His trick list is very diverse. Conner because his surfing is flawless and looks like a paintbrush on a canvas. Surf crew: All the local Rincon guys and a bunch of the little CI groms. Fantasy superpower: To breathe underwater. Dream wave: A slow roll in into a slabbing double up, get spit out at the very end and probably do a huge slob grab. Who has pushed your surfing? Sam Coffey. He’s been one of my good buddies for a while but whenever I surf with him I feel like I push myself and that helps my surfing. Goals for the upcoming Regionals and Nationals: I’d like to make finals at Regionals and just surf as well as I can at Nationals. Thank yous: I’d definitely like to thank my parents for always driving me to comps and paying for them because I’ve never really had a sponsor to do that. I’m thankful they’ve stuck with me after all the early years of not doing very well in contests!
 

Surfer of the Week - 4/20/2018

ABBIE YATES

Age: 11
Hometown: Satellite Beach, Florida
School: Sea Park Elementary School: 5th grade
Sponsors: Ricky Carroll Surfboards R&D Surf Futures Fins Hammer Traction Long Doggers Satellite Gator Grip Barefoot Designs Endless Summer Radio Swell Life Magazine
Equipment: Ricky Carroll/R&D; square tail Abbie custom 5’2"
Claim to Fame: This girl Abbie Yates might be new to NSSA competition this season, but she has proven she’s got the drive and determination to climb up the ranks. The 11-year-old calls Satellite Beach her home so she has prominent local heroes to look up to, most notably former World Tour professionals and National Champions CJ and Damien Hobgood. In her first year in the NSSA, Abbie faced a tough task competing in her first East Coast Championships at New Smyrna Beach. But she stepped up to the plate in her Regional’s debut where she advanced to the Super Girls final earning a solid fourth place result! “I was so excited to finally be able to surf in an organization that gives me the chance to compete at a higher level. I’m really looking forward to surfing in California at the Nationals.” But competing at Nationals isn’t the only ambition for this young up-and-comer. She also has a desire to charge mountains. From the first time she dropped into a wave, she has dreamed of surfing Jaws or Mavericks and has spent countless hours watching the few women that have surfed in the big-wave arenas. "Watching these women push their limits has been a huge inspiration to me and has made me more focused than ever!" Local surf spot: Perkins. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me when I was about 9. Fave surfers: Stephanie Gilmore, Malia Manuel and Tatiana Weston-Webb. Surf crew: The Perkins crew, Ricky, Brooks, Angry Scott, Jeff and Dane. Fantasy superpower: To be a wave maker in Florida! Something people don’t know about you: Every time I paddle out, I always sit up on my board and talk to God before I catch my first wave. Dream wave: It's a cross between Mavericks and Jaws. Big waves motivate me. Who has pushed your surfing? That’s easy...Me. I think you have to push yourself to get better. No one else can do that. Goals: Make it to the NSSA Nationals in California and to get to be a part of the O’Neill team. Thank yous: Thanks to my awesome family for doing whatever it takes to get me in the water. I’m surrounded by the best people in the world. Also to Jesus for making it possible for me to do what I love!
 

Surfer of the Week - 4/14/2018

ZOE BENEDETTO

Age: 12
Hometown: Palm City, Florida
School: Florida Virtual School: 6th grade
Sponsors: Hurley, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Native Eyewear, FCS, Lopez Boards, EIR NYC, Girl Is Not A 4 Letter Word
Equipment: Lopez Surfboards: Uno Model, 5’5” Epoxy, Uno Model 5’4” Poly, Grom Star 5’4 Epoxy
Claim to Fame: As phenomenon Caroline Marks made her exit out of the amateur ranks onto a pro career, there is a continuation of downright excitement going down on the east coast with the emergence of 12-year-old Zoe Benedetto. Zoe made a loud-and-clear statement at the East Coast Regionals held at New Smyrna Beach with a 4-division title sweep in Open Girls, Explorer Girls, Open Super Girls and Explorer Super Girls. This brings her career Regional titles up to five. And although surfing is a big priority for Zoe, she also has a big passion for soccer. “I love having soccer in my life. I love being a part of a team and enjoying the success of winning as a team and knowing I have my teammates to lean on when we lose.” In addition to all of this, Zoe has athleticism and competitive spirit at the highest possible level in her bloodline. Her Grandpa is Doug Rader former MLB player for the Houston Astros and a 5-time gold glove winner at 3rd base! For this talent blessed, dedicated young lady, the sky is the limit! Favorite thing about New Smyrna Beach: I like the variety at NSB. The rights are usually super bowly and long and you can get multiple turns. At Regionals, the lefts were better most of the time and those were the waves that provided me with the most scoring opportunity with multiple sections and longer lines. Local spot: Ft. Pierce North Jetty. Age you started surfing: My mom taught me to surf (she competed in NSSA in High School and College), I started competing at 6. Fave surfers: Lisa Andersen, Shea Lopez, Kelly Slater, Steph Gilmore, Silvana Lima, Lakey Peterson. Surf crew: Sarah Abbott, Seamus Carey, my mom and my brother Andrew Slaughter. Fantasy superpower: Read minds and fly. Dream wave: Snapper Rocks. Something people don’t know about you: I love to read and play Minecraft. Who has pushed your surfing? Rachel Presti because she has so much power and style! My coaches Shea Lopez, Michel Flores and USA Team Coach Joey Buran. Goal for the season: After winning 4 titles at the East Coast Championships, I want to win Nationals!!! Thank yous: My parents, for always supporting me and taking me all over the place to surf. Sarah Abbott for keeping life fun! Stephanie & Dane Williams & family for being so positive. Lisa Andersen for believing in me. Shea Lopez for endless hours of training and my sponsors for supporting and believing in me!
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/21/2018

CAITLIN & TIM SIMMERS

Age: Caitlin: 12; Tim: 10
Hometown: Oceanside, California
School: Caitlin: Coastal Academy-6th grade; Tim: South Oceanside Elementary-5th grade
Sponsors: Caitlin: O'Neill, Surf Ride, Sticky Bumps, Sun Bum, Watermark Surfboards. Tim: Xterra wetsuits, Surf Ride, Sticky Bumps, Sun Bum, Watermark Surfboards
Equipment: Caitlin: 4'11.5" rounded pin shaped by Chris Borst. Tim: 4'9" rounded squash shaped by Chris Borst.
Claim to Fame: Many talented siblings have worn a NSSA jersey and this year this brother, sister duo have been on a tear. Caity is rated #1 in the SW Open Girls & Super Girls with a mighty 11 wins to her credit. Tim is on top of the Open Mini Groms with 6 wins this season. These two are ruling it! Local spot: Caity & Tim: Oceanside Harbor. Age you started surfing: Caity: 5-years-old with my Dad; Tim: 3-years-old with my Dad at Buccaneer Beach. Fave surfers: Caity: My brother, Lakey Peterson; Tim: Brett Simpson. Surf crew: Caity: My brother, Marlee Lovell, Lucas Owston, Rawley McKinley; Tim: My sister, Lucas, Rawley, Chase Niemann, Kanan Webb, Ryder Smith. Fantasy superpower: Caity & Tim: To fly. Dream wave: Caity: Sandspit; Tim: Lance’s Right. Something people don’t know about you: Caity: I love art; Tim: I used to scooter a lot. Who has pushed your surfing the most? Caity: My coach John Daniels; Tim: My sister. Thankyous: Caity: My Mom, Dad, sponsors & coach; Tim: My Mom, Dad & my great Aunt Cassie!
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/13/2018

UCSC SURF TEAM

Age: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
School: University of California, Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs!
Sponsors: Santa Cruz Coffee, SOVRN Republic, Hotline Wetsuits, Guayaki
Equipment: Surfboards, wetsuits, leashes, wax and a whole lot of spirit!
Claim to Fame: The closing event of the 2017/18 College regular season reminded us that everything starts with a dream. The University of California, Santa Cruz surf team tasted the fruits of victory for the first time in program history on Sunday March 11th with a 126-107 win over UC San Diego. Led by senior and Human Biology major Luke Sampiere, the Banana Slugs showed up at the season finale in Huntington Beach with unrivaled spirit and energy fighting valiantly until the final buzzer sounded. Finals placings by Jonah Pierce in the College Mens and Trey Martinho in Longboard solidified the team's triumph as the Slugs sent out the message loud and clear that anything is possible if you just believe!
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/6/2018

ETHAN MUDGE

Age: 16
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: San Clemente High School
Sponsors: Salty Crew, Rumaner Surfboards, Hobie Surf Shop, Hobie Surfboards, Catch Surf, Sunbum
Equipment: Shortboard: Rumaner Annihilator model 6'0"/19.25"/2.44". Longboard: Hobie Surfboards CNR model 9'4"/23"/3"
Claim to Fame: Major props to Ethan for taking double wins in the JV Mens and Longboard at the 2018 State Championships at Seaside. The 2 victories bring his career State titles up to 5. A Junior at National Champion San Clemente High School, Ethan praises his team for being super competitive. “We push each other to do better!” Fave thing about Seaside: It gives you the option to surf a variety of boards and there are always waves. Age you started surfing: 1 ˝ with my Dad at San Onofre. Favorite surfer: Parker Coffin because his style is unmatched and he’s one of the best goofyfooters. Surf Crew: David Economos, Hagan Johnson, Nolan & Hayden Rodgers. Fantasy superpower: Teleportation. Local spot: T Street, Lowers. Something people don’t know about you: I do a lot of art. Dream wave: Skeleton Bay. Who pushes your surfing: David Economos for getting me to surf even in the worst waves. Those are the days that pay off. Goals: Keep succeeding in all the contests. Thankyous: My parents, sponsors & friends!
 

Surfer of the Week - 2/22/2018

OWEN MOSS

Age: 13
Hometown: Wilmington, North Carolina
School: Acellus Academy: 8th grade
Sponsors: Hurley, CJI, Xanadu, Sunbum, Von Zipper, FCS, and Sweetwater Surf Shop.
Equipment: Xanadu Surfboards. Any size, model, or shape Xanadu makes for me.
Claim to Fame: Since his first big result winning the Open Boys at the 2017 East Coast Regionals, Owen has been receiving some well deserved attention. And impressively this season, he moved up age categories and has been a standout in both the Mid Atlantic Open Juniors & Explorer Boys. At the doubleheader this past weekend, he took 3 wins and is currently ranked #1 in both divisions. Fave thing about Carolina Beach Pier: It’s one of the most consistent waves in the area. Age you started surfing: My dad taught me when I was 4. Favorite surfer: Mick Fanning. Surf Crew: Anyone that is out surfing! Fantasy superpower: Human fishfinder. Local spot: SouthEnd of Wrightsville Beach. Something people don’t know about you: I’m a first generation surfer. Dream wave: Outer Banks, NC! Who pushes your surfing the most: Myself. Goals: To perform at the level I’m capable of at the NSSA Nationals. Thankyous: My Dad for always being my coach & Ms Beckmann for running the Mid Atlantic so we can compete in the events!