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 (2019)

Surfer of the Week - 12/10/2019

DAVID O'KEEFE

Age: 15
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
School: Newport Harbor High School, Freshman
Sponsors: Cyber wetsuits
Equipment: Sharp Eye Surfboards 5'9" Holy Toledo model
Claim to Fame: Keeping with tradition, December’s Southwest Open was held at Seaside Reef. And true to the norm, competitors feasted their eyes on bombing overhead plus Seaside perfection. With dreamy conditions, David was ready to keep his recent run of impressive results going. After coming off a breakthrough win a couple weeks back at the HB Pier Explorer and a significant runner-up placing in the HB Ninth Street Open, the Newport Harbor High School freshman has certainly been making some noise. Even though he is new to NSSA comp and at 15-years-old considered to be a “late-bloomer”, David is clearly comfortable with the jersey on and quickly becoming one of the standouts in the heavily talented Juniors pecking order. “I definitely started competitive surfing a lot later than my other competitors” David said. “I joined the NSSA this year knowing how good everyone was, I knew they would push me to do my best since most surfers have been doing the NSSA for quite sometime.” David capitalized on his rhythm advancing through his heats convincingly in the firing Seaside conditions surfing his way to his second straight Open final. “After making the final at the last Open before this comp, it definitely gave me momentum and confidence even knowing that the competition is super stacked. I was stoked on how the conditions were and it really showcased everyone’s talent, so I knew that I had to do my best surfing possible.” David who now sits in the number one position in Explorer Juniors and is top 10 rated in the Open credits past NSSA National and Conference Champion Ryan Simmons for taking his surfing to a higher level. “I train with Ryan and he has really helped me improve my skills. I wouldn’t be where I’m today without the work he has put in with me!” Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: The way the waves line up all the way through and you can get multiple good sections to hit. Age you started surfing: I was 7 years old and my Dad taught me by pushing me into waves. Local spot: 54/56 Street. What is the best thing about living in Newport? Everything is so close together, so you know everyone and you can check the waves within minutes. Local surfers you look up too: Todd Miller and Andrew Doheny because they are super nice guys in and out of the water and they push me to do my best. Knowing what they have accomplished in the past really gives me hope and encourages me to set my goals even higher. Surf crew: Taj Miller, Todd Miller, Olivia Lusby, Parker Swoish, Jojo Whelan, Tyler Seitz, Hadyn Norwood, Milo Ely McGregor and all the rest of the Newport locals. Favorite surfers: Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence because they are both super creative with their surfing and never fail to amaze when you watch them. Fantasy Superpower: To be able to teleport to wherever the best waves are. If you could surf like anyone, who would it be? John John Florence and Filipe Toledo because they both do insane airs and are so fast and good with their rail work. Dream wave: Perfect Rincon with just my friends and me out. Something people don’t know about you. I have a lot of energy and I’m very open to other's ideas. Who has pushed your surfing? My coaches, and everyone else who supports me in what I love to do the most. Also my friend Taj Miller because we surf together everyday and he pushes me to surf better and try new things. Thank yous: My family, Ryan Simmons, Bill Seitz, Todd Miller, Matt Pagan, Kevyn Dean all the people who push me to do my best!
 

Surfer of the Week - 11/23/2019

REX HENNINGS

Age: 12
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: Shorecliffs Middle School; 7th grade. Favorite subject: Spanish with Senor Hennings
Sponsors: Vissla, Lost Mayhem, Oakley, Nixon, & Gorilla Grip, FCS, Raw Elements
Equipment: 5’1” Driver, LOST Surfboards
Claim to Fame: After what has been a small wave fall season, Mother Nature finally delivered a solid 3-6 foot combo swell for the midseason Southwest Open event 5. The waves were firing as Huntington Beach’s 9th Street sandbars came to life. When the Open Boys hit the lineup on Sunday morning the waves were still pumping, glassy and perfect. Rex was amped on the surf, size and power. He went straight to business winning his round one heat and then dominating his quarterfinal with a 16-point out of 20 heat total. Surfing sharp and solid all day mixing it up on both the lefts and the rights, it was the final that Rex saved his best performance for last. He didn’t just win it, he ruled it with an above and beyond performance comboing the field and earning the highest combined heat score of all the Open finals – a 17.50 point total! “I was stoked to win Open Boys especially because the conditions were really good,” Rex said. “In the final I tried to get a quick start with a solid opening score and then get back out there to find the big rights to slam a few lips. Everything came together with strong surfing, great waves and an epic board.” The victory was that much more meaningful for the 12-year-old from San Clemente because it was his first in Open Boys. “It has been a goal of mine to win an Open Boys event and to do it with good surfing on solid waves makes it feel like I earned it!” Favorite thing about 9th Street: The best thing about 9th Street for the Open contest was the power and size of the waves. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me when I was 5-years-old. I started at Uppers and T Street. Local spot: Lowers, T-Street and San Clemente Pier. Surf crew: The Shorecliffs crew, my brothers, and my Dad. What is the best thing about living in San Clemente? Having good waves and all the great surfers pushing you to do your best maneuvers. Favorite surfers: Kolohe, Griffin, Patty G and Dane Reynolds. These surfers inspire me because they work so hard and also rip and do creative turns on big waves. Fantasy Superpower: To teleport to Indo! Something people don’t know about you: I have 3 brothers and a yellow Lab named Maggie and a turtle. Dream wave: Perfect Keramas. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? I would like to surf like a mix of Andy Irons and Kolohe. Who has pushed your surfing the most? Charlie Stevens has pushed my surfing the most because I’ve surfed with him almost everyday for 4 years and he trains with me. He is the one who really got me into surfing around 3rd grade. Do you work with any coaches or trainers? I work with Jeremy Carter and would like to thank Jeremy for improving my surfing. Goals for the 19/20 season: To win the season and to make finals in Nationals. Thank yous: Thanks to my Mom, Dad and brothers, Jeremy Carter, Matt Biolos, Vinnie De La Pena, and Uncle Dave.
 

Surfer of the Week - 11/6/2019

COLE MCCAFFRAY

Age: 14
Hometown: Cardiff, California
School: San Diego Neighborhood Charter School; 9th Grade. Favorite Subject: Science
Sponsors: Billabong, Oakley, Channel Islands Surfboards, OAM, Futures, Vertra, Surfride
Equipment: Channel Islands Fever 5’4”
Claim to Fame: The Southwest Open Season continued with the fourth stop at Church, the only right point break on the 10-event schedule. Despite the lack of swell, Church always offers fun conditions and good vibrations for all the competitors including Cole who was searching for his first win of the season. Competing in two divisions which included surfing up into the premier Open Mens category, he was putting in a marathon day. “At times I get bored sitting around a contest all day and not surfing, so it’s nice to continue to surf heats,” said Cole. “It is also a good opportunity to surf against the older guys and it’s nice because there is less pressure to perform.” It may be true that when surfing up there is a nothing to lose, go for broke attitude but the skill level still needs to be substantially dialed up. With a backhand attack that was crisp and sharp on the clean, right runners, Cole surfed smart and consistent advancing through eight rounds to both the Mens and Juniors finals. In a test of endurance, he was in the water for a 70-minute stretch for the Juniors semis and Mens and Juniors final. He finished with a fourth place in the Open Mens final and his first victory of the year in Open Juniors which included an undefeated sweep of preliminary rounds. “I had to surf my Juniors semifinal, the Mens final and the Juniors final back-to-back-to back so I was pretty in tune with the conditions. I think I was in the water for 70 minutes straight for those last three heats, so to finish all that off with a win in Juniors was awesome!” Favorite thing about Church: I really like the length of the wave. On a good set you can get in a bunch of good turns. Age you started surfing: I was 4 when I first started to try and surf on my own. My dad taught my sister and me. Local spot: Seaside Reef. Surf crew: My sister Ella and my friend Kai Anderson. What is the best thing about living in Cardiff? We have a really great local community and super fun waves. Favorite surfers: Rob Machado because I get to watch him surf a lot and he has a sick style and Jake Marshall because he is an insane surfer and he’s going to make the tour this year. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation. Something people don’t know about you: I blacked out in a pool trying to hold my breath once. Dream wave: Skeleton Bay. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? Rob Machado because he has such good speed and style and he’s from my home town. Who has pushed your surfing the most? My sister Ella because I surf with her every day. Goals for the 19/20 season: I want to surf bigger waves, become a better all-around surfer and win some more comps. Thank yous: To my family and my sponsors who make this possible. And thank you to Janice and Gayline for all you do for all of the kids coming up.
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/25/2019

JAMES DANIEL

Age: 12
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
School: New Brighton Middle School; 7th grade. Favorite subject: Language Arts
Sponsors: Rip Curl USA, Oakley
Equipment: Sharpe Eye Surboards 5'3" x 17.65 x 2.05
Claim to Fame: Once again, wave rich Santa Cruz delivered for the Northwest Conference when a hefty Northwest swell pumped in flawless head high to overhead surf for the Open and Explorer stop number 2 at the Hook and Pleasure Point. James went to town in the premier point break rights at both spots. The Open event kicked off the comp weekend in rippable righthand peelers at the Hook. James went straight to work opening up with a round one win posting a solid 15.50 total score. Surfing strong round after round he finished second in the Open Juniors final earning another 15 plus heat total. The following day, the Explorer divisions were a shredathon in firing conditions at the Point and James was unstoppable at his local break. From round one, he went on a tear opening up his first heat of Explorer Boys with a 15.17. In the quarterfinals, he racked up a 15.83 total. But it was in the semis that James went full bore putting on a Pleasure Point clinic cranking out a 19.33 out of 20 heat total which included a perfect 10 and a second wave score of an excellent 9.33. The hometown crowd went nuts! It was one of the most inspiring displays of surfing we’ve seen all year. “There was a lot of anticipation the morning of the comp because it was on fog hold for a couple hours,” James said. “Once I had surfed a few heats and I was in the semis I felt good and loose. My first wave was a 9.33. So close but I was thinking 'what do I need for a 10?' Then a couple minutes later the wave came, I was out there by myself and I knew this was it. I didn’t know if it got the 10 but I knew it was a good score. When I heard the number 10 announced it was the cherry on top!” Brimming with confidence from his masterpiece semifinal heat, James found himself needing a 9-point ride in the final minutes of the Boys final to pull out the victory. A set rolled through and James sealed the deal unleashing on a bomb for a 9.4 score taking out his first win of the season which will also move him into first in the rankings. Stronger top to bottom moves and carves earned James the excellent scores he was posting throughout the weekend and his best performance thus far in competition. “This year I’ve pushed myself to surf bigger, better waves,” he said. “I want to go bigger on big sections!” Favorite thing about the Hook and the Point: How long, perfect and mechanical it is. Age you started surfing: My dad taught me when I was 3-years-old. Local spot: The Point. Surf crew: Koa Depuydt, Adam Bartlett, Jackson Taylor, and Stryder Stelk. What is the best thing about living in Santa Cruz? There are always waves, and everyone is really cool. Favorite surfers: My favorite surfer is Filipe Toledo because his airs get me really psyched. Favorite surfers from Santa Cruz: My favorite surfers are Noah (Waggy) Wegrich, Nat Young, Austin Smith-Ford and the Coffey brothers because they all rip hard and are super nice. Fantasy Superpower: To fly. Dream wave: Macaronis in Indo. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be? I would want to surf like Waggy because he can bust huge airs on anything. Something people don’t know about you: I got 2nd place for distance paddling at the Junior Guard Regionals. Goals for the 19/20 season: I want to make the finals at Nationals!
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/16/2019

LUCAS OWSTON

Age: 14
Hometown: Oceanside, California
School: Coastal Academy, 8th grade. Favorite subject: Math
Sponsors: O'Neill, Wienerchnitzel, Futures Fins, Kailani Surfboards, Sun Diego Board Shops, Vestal Watches, StayCovered, Let It Block
Equipment: Kailani Surfboards shaped by Julio Nurse. Small wave board is 5'6" Click Model
Claim to Fame: The Southwest Open event 3 was held at Seaside Reef and with lack of swell in the water, the surfers had to compete in tricky waist high peaks at the inside break known as Palisades. When it comes to contests which can be held in an array of weather and wave situations, Lucas put his small wave savvy to work and took command winning every heat in Open Juniors including the final. “I know I need to be ready for anything, heat by heat,” he said. “I've worked really hard on the small wave game, my equipment and the way I surf heats in those conditions. You have to put together great heats when conditions are tough. Good surfers are good in any kind of surf, so I want to be good in everything.” Lucas has been in dominating form this season and coupled with his win at the Oceanside Open event 2, he will climb to the top of the Juniors ratings. Lucas is also leading the Explorer Boys ratings and is striving to repeat the trio of titles he earned in that division where he swept the Conference, Regional and National crowns last season. He also wants to add the Open Juniors to that list. “I'm setting the goals high and going for another trifecta but this time in both divisions. I know it doesn't happen very often. I was able to do it last year and feel that if I put together everything heat by heat, I can do it again. It may be impossible, but that is what I'm aiming for.” True it doesn’t happen very often but there are a several special surfers who have pulled it off – Bobby Martinez, Carissa Moore, Kolohe Andino, Courtney Conlogue and Caroline Marks to name a few! At such a young age, Lucas brings on a powerful approach and technique to his surfing along with a sharp, competitive focus. He knows it’s not easy to be on top. “Open Juniors has the most surfers and events go for two days so you really have to put together entire events. To be at the top is pretty sick but it is a long season, everybody rips and I still have a lot of work to do. Head down and let's do this!” Favorite thing about Seaside Reef: You get everything at Seaside; ledge reef lefts, huge open face rights and the super fun inside left and right. You have to be a good all around surfer to do well there and be prepared for totally different conditions. The place pumps out great surfers and I think that is why. Local spot: Oceanside Harbor & Pier. Surf crew: My Brother Ace and my Dad, the Simmers; Caity and Timo, Chase Nieman, Kai Willams, Mason McBride, Diego Casteñeda, Titus Santuchi, Ryder Smith, Bison Sharpe, Marlee Lovell, Rawly McKinley, Braden Arcaris and Zane Haber. We all surf North County SD every day. Favorite surfers: Gabriel Medina. He's got it all, power, rail, airs and is the best competitor in the world. And Jordy Smith because of his style and flow. Fantasy Superpower: To be able to breath and fly under water. If you could surf like anyone, who would it be? It would be a mix of Gabriel Medina, Bobby Martinez and Jordy Smith. Bobby's backhand blows my mind. Jordy's rail game and flow is huge and Gabe is the model of perfect surfing. Dream wave: Puerto Escondido. Something people don’t know about you: I like riding my motorcycles out in the desert. Who has pushed your surfing? My dad is a SUPER Dad, he does everything for me and my brother to support our surfing. Thank yous: My family, Luke Steadman, John Daniels, Garth Tarlow, Matt Sims, Carlsbad Boardriders Club, Vinnie Martinez and Pete Censoplano.
 

Surfer of the Week - 10/2/2019

ADAM BARTLETT

Age: 12
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
School: St. Abrahams; Favorite subject: PE
Sponsors: Pacific Wave Surfshop, Da Kine, XCEL Wetsuits, Volcom, Oakley
Equipment: I have a solid quiver of boards right now from different shapers. Sharpeye, Lost, JS and Strive. Round pins, 5'3", 16.75x2"
Claim to Fame: Santa Cruz is known for its world class right point breaks but like anywhere, much is dependent on the swell. The good news was that a swell hit for the Northwest Conference season opener and Pleasure Point became the stage for great performances. Adam who clearly grew stronger over the summer break, was a big standout winning 3 divisions, Open Boys at the Hook, Explorer Menehuene and Boys at the Point while also placing in the upper age bracket Open Juniors final. He also crushed the scoreboard posting the two highest heat totals-an 18.93 and 16.60. The 12-year-old who lives on the westside of town where the competitively fierce Steamer Lane is his go-to spot, attends school on the eastside which allows him to surf Pleasure Point. The mellower eastside breaks have also played a significant role in his development. “I caught my first wave by myself when I was 3 at the Hook,” he said. Born into a surfing family, Adam was on a surfboard before he could walk. His dad, Mavericks pioneer Osh “Frog” Bartlett and mom Shana are both accomplished surfers. “My dad would paddle me out on his board at Cowells before I could walk. I never wanted to get out of the water even if I was turning blue because of the cold!” Dad and mom were at Pleasure Point cheering Adam on as he started the season off with a bang. But he knew it wouldn’t be easy. “Last week I practiced before school and really tried to get focused on what I needed to do to win. I knew the competition would be hard. Winning the Open Boys and making the Juniors final felt really good because the waves were firing and everything just connected. Just so stoked!” Best thing about Pleasure Point: I like how fast the wave is and the air sections at the Hook and the Point is a perfectly walled, long wave. Local spot: Steamer Lane. Surf crew: James Daniel, Jackson Taylor, Koa Modisette. Favorite surfers: Nat Young, Occy and Wiggolly Dantas because they all surf with power on their backhand. Fantasy Superpower: Teleporting so I could go to Indo! Dream wave: Teahupoo. Who has pushed your surfing? My dad because he always goes out of his way to take me surfing, film me and has good tips to help me. He teaches me to stay humble and to not complain. Goals: To win the Open Boys and Explorer Menehuenes again and to make the Regionals and Nationals finals. Thank yous: I want to thank God that I am able to surf and for making waves. Also my parents and my sponsors who have supported me and the NSSA for coming to Santa Cruz!
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/25/2019

DIMITRI POULOS

Age: 17
Hometown: Ventura, California
School: El Camino High School, 11th grade
Sponsors: O'Neill, Pro-Lite, Roberts Surfboards, Futures
Equipment: 5'7" Red Neck model shaped by Robert Weiner
Claim to Fame: The Southwest Open Season event 2 was held at Oceanside Pier in solid 3-5 foot surf and Dimitri was making his first appearance after missing the season opener due to a last minute call from his sponsor O’Neill which sent him on a strike mission to New Jersey to chase hurricane Dorian. Well, D didn’t waste any time getting back into the contest groove at Oceanside competing through 5 rounds with a 100% win rate. From start to finish Dimitri transcended. In the Mens quarterfinals and semis, he soared to a dynamic range of performance posting 19.67 & 19.53 heat totals respectively. Known more for his power, he even brought on an aerial attack. With OSide providing good lefts and rights, it was a stunning display of both frontside and backside surfing. “The Open was super fun, the waves were sick and everyone was ripping,” said Dimitri. "The weather was great and the event had such a good vibe.” Dimitri has been under the watchful eye of coaching legend and surfing champion Mike Lamm who definitely knows what it takes to be a successful competitor. Lamm has earned multiple National titles himself while guiding Dimitri to two which included a title in the Explorer Juniors at the 2019 Nationals. “I’ve been coached by Mike for about 7 years. He has pretty much taught me everything I know!” With the road map Lamm has put him on to prepare for the future, Dimitri says he is focusing on his technique, working on his flow and improving his surfing as much as he can! Favorite thing about Oceanside: I like how the waves are peaky and how they bend at you. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me when I was around 6-years-old. Local spot: Top secret! Surf crew: I sure with Jabe (Swierkocki) all the time. Favorite surfers: Andy Irons and Dane Reynolds because they both go really big and nobody surfs like them. I also like Tom Curren because he won world titles and made a big name for himself. Fantasy Superpower: To never get sore or tired. Dream wave: Nias. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be: It would be Andy Irons because I like his approach and how he was good at everything. Who has pushed your surfing? Jabe because he is my best friend and my biggest competitor. Goals: To improve my surfing as much as I can. Thank yous: My family for always being there for me and Mike Lamm for passing on his knowledge.
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/11/2019

BRAYDEN BURCH

Age: 14
Hometown: San Clemente, California
School: San Clemente High School; 9th grade
Sponsors: O'Neill, Lost Surfboards, I-Sea Sunglasses
Equipment: Lost Surfboards Pocket Rocket 5'11.5 X 18.75 X 2.28 X 27.0
Claim to Fame: The Southwest Open held it’s first event of the 2019/20 season at Huntington Beach Pier in solid head high conditions showcasing the top youth surfers on the west coast. Because it is the season opener, the event sets the tone for the year, so Brayden opened his season in the best possible manner taking out the victory in the stacked Juniors division. “It felt amazing to win my first event in Open Juniors,” Brayden said. “I haven't won a contest in a while so it felt really good.” The 14-year-old San Clemente High School freshman put a big feather in his cap winning the Middle School Boys division at the 2019 National Interscholastics, but it was an Open Season win that had eluded him since his 12 & under days. With his lifelong coach, which happens to be his Dad by his side, Brayden went straight to work finding his rhythm on southside’s infamous sandbars. He advanced through heat after heat in a mixed bag of wave conditions that HB notoriously can throw at you. He surfed his best heat when it mattered in the final posting a 14.33 total. “The mornings were pumping,” he said. “But conditions were tough in the evenings, super windy and choppy. In the final my Dad told me to sit on the lefts and as it turns out those were the heat winning waves.” The win will put Brayden at number one in the rankings, a position that he has worked long and hard for. “It took a lot of time and training to get me here!”. Favorite thing about HB Pier: The reform after the pumping outside. Age you started surfing: I started surfing when I was 5. My Dad taught me. Local spot: Lowers. Surf crew: Dax, Luke, Dane, Hayden, Tyrone, and many more surfers from San Clemente. Best thing about living in San Clemente: The surfing community and positivity all around town. Favorite surfers: Jordy Smith because he does huge carves and has so much power. Kolohe Andino because he’s one of the best surfers to come from San Clemente. Fantasy Superpower: The power to teleport. Dream wave: J-Bay. Something people don’t know about you: I like to travel a lot. If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be: Jordy Smith because his turns and airs are insane! Barrels or Airs: Barrels. Who has pushed your surfing? My Dad because he has me surfing almost every day and he trains and coaches with me in and out of the water. Goals: To keep the ball rolling and make more finals and maybe win a couple more. Thank yous: My sponsors and my friends and family for supporting me.
 

Surfer of the Week - 9/4/2019

TREVOR BERRY

Age: 15
Hometown: Ventura, California
School: El Camino High School, 11th grade
Sponsors: Katin USA, Xcel Wetsuits, Pro-Lite, Futures Fins, Revolution Surf Shop
Equipment: Channel Islands, 5’ 7" Fever
Claim to Fame: The 19/20 Gold Coast season kicked off at C Street with pumping head high surf for opening weekend. The Juniors division was chalk full of action with great conditions and Trevor went on a dominating double win tear at his local break. He owned the lineup threading solid moves together on the highly shreddable peeling righthanders. “Getting double wins meant a lot because I have put so much time into surfing and practicing at C Street which is my home break," said Trevor. “The waves for the event were super rippable and fun. I was super stoked with my results, but I was also stoked that my competitors had opportunities to get really good scores too!” Growing up in Ventura, Trevor has looked up to area standouts Dane Reynolds and Nathaniel Curran. “I remember watching Dane and Nathaniel at Emma Wood when I was 9 and being really inspired by their surfing.” Based on his winning performance, Trevor’s surfing is looking sharp and has matured tremendously under the guidance of his coach, former pro surfer and National Champion Mike Lamm. “Mike has been my coach for almost 3 years," said Trevor. “He helps my surfing improve constantly. At the events, he shows me where the best waves are and what maneuvers to focus on. This really helps me put together good heats.” One of Trevor’s goals is to finish number one in the Juniors and with two wins in the bank he is off to an amazing start! Fave thing about C Street: Its one of Ventura's best right point breaks. The locals asked me to hold it down in the contest so I did my best! Age you started surfing? My dad taught me when I was 8-years-old. Local spot: C Street and Ventura Harbor. Surf crew: Jabe, Dimitri, Hambone, Curty, Tanner, Talan and many more. Favorite surfers: Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, and Filipe Toledo for their unpredictable, next level surfing. Fantasy Superpower: Read people’s minds. Dream wave: Barreling beach breaks in Nicaragua. Something people don’t know about you: I love to fish especially off a kayak or boat. I also use my dog as a pillow every night! If you could surf like anybody in the world who would it be: It would be a mix between John John Florence for his explosiveness and progression in the lip and Tom Curren because of his style and ability to read waves. Who has pushed your surfing? My friends I surf with every day, my parents and Mike. Goals: Win the Explorer Juniors season title and final in Regionals and Nationals. Thank yous: My sponsors and parents for all their support.
 

Surfer of the Week - 8/29/2019

JAK ZIETS

Age: 13
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
School: Santa Barbara Junior High; 8th grade. Favorite subject: Science
Sponsors: Rip Curl, Sex Wax, Channel Islands, Sun Bum, Still Frothy, Leus, Tiki Toss, Surf Happens, WNG
Equipment: Channel Islands Fever Spinetek 5’2"
Claim to Fame: The 2019/20 Gold Coast season kicked off at Ventura’s C Street and Jak wasted no time picking up from where he left off after his grand sweep of Regional and National titles. In incredible fashion, the 3-time National Champion went straight back to work at the season opener winning both finals in the Boys division in solid head high conditions. “C Street is one of the best local waves around here ,” Jak said. “The right off the point is kind of like a Lowers right where you can get multiple combos. I’m super stoked to take double wins this weekend in really fun conditions.” Without a doubt Jak has one of the hottest streaks going in surfing. He hasn’t lost a contest since winning the final event of the 18/19 regular season and then following it up with double gold in the Explorer Menehuene and Open Boys divisions at Regionals. Straight after that, he made a huge statement at Nationals winning both titles. He attributes his successes to his equipment, coaching and his growing knowledge of the HB Pier sandbars. “I definitely felt momentum after the Regionals,” Jak said. “My boards were dialed plus I felt that my continued experience surfing HB Pier was giving me confidence. I felt I could win it, but I knew I had to surf my very best to pull it off. The talent in that field was gnarly.” Next up, Jak will focus to keep his incredible victory run going at the 19/20 SW Open Season opener at HB Pier! Age you started surfing? My Dad taught me when I was 6 years old. Local spot: Sandbar and Rincon. Surf crew: Tyler Chiarappa, Hammy and Curty Jacobs, Rondog, Griffin and Hayden Garfield, Tahven, Koa, Jack Z, Makai and Maddox Bray, Cannon Carr, and Dane Matson. Favorite surfers: Bobby Martinez, because his backhand is so inspiring and I want my backhand to be like his. Conner Coffin because of his incredible power, he is our hometown guy and his surfing is so inspiring to watch. Parker Coffin because of his flair and spontaneity. Fantasy Superpower. Teleportation. Something people don’t know about you: I like to binge watch movies. Dream wave: Macaronis. Who has pushed your surfing? My Dad because he has been there the whole time and is always pushing me to do better. Goals: Win the Prime season, US Champs and sweep Westerns and Nationals again. Thank yous: My Mom and Dad for always supporting me, Dave Letinsky for being the best mentor and coach I could ask for, as well as all of my sponsors.
 

Surfer of the Week - 6/23/2019

ELLA MCCAFFRAY

Age: 16
Hometown: Cardiff by the Sea, California
School: San Diego Neighborhood Charter School, Sophomore. Favorite subject: History
Sponsors: Body Glove, Futures, Surfride, On a Mission, Surface
Equipment: 5'7 Lost V2HP
Claim to Fame: For Ella, this spring is probably one she will always remember. A time where she exceeded expectations winning two divisions at the West Coast Regional Championships at HB Pier and then three weeks later taking her third career National title in the Varsity Womens division at the National Interscholastic Championships. At the Westerns, Ella showcased her skillfulness in a smorgasbord of HB conditions throughout the 4-day event. On finals day, she was dropping hammers on southside’s famous Pier Bowl peak in pumping conditions earning the highest heat total of the championship finals-a 17.44 in the Open Womens final. “The waves were so much fun this year, the first day was a little sketchy but it cleaned up throughout the week,” Ella said. “And then finals day was epic, Pier Bowl right was super fun!” Ella kept that strong momentum going into the National Interscholastics surfing for the San Dieguito Academy Surf Team. She asserted her versatility, this time in Salt Creek's grindy, waist high point break lefts winning the Varsity Womens National crown for the second straight year. Now it's on to the Nationals where she will be in the hunt for more titles! Fave thing about HB Pier: When HB is working, pier bowl right is super fun. Age you started surfing: When I was 5 my dad taught me how to surf. Local spot: Seaside Reef. Surf crew: I free surf with my brother Cole, Kirra, and Lulu and Valen when they are in town. Favorite surfers: Caroline Marks and Jordy Smith have epic style and power. If you could surf like anyone in the world, who would it be? Surfing like John John would be amazing! Fantasy Superpower: Being able to teleport. Something people don’t know about you: I love archery. Dream wave: J Bay! I want to surf there sooo bad!!! Who has pushed your surfing? My brother is eggy and annoying but he pushes me to surf better and try harder. Goals: My goal is to make both Women's finals at Nationals. Next year I aspire to surf bigger waves, travel to new places, and improve my surfing. Thank yous: Thank you to my parents for pushing me to be my best, for driving me to all the contests and for always being there for me.
 

Surfer of the Week - 6/4/2019

JABE SWIERKOCKI

Age: 16
Hometown: Ventura, California
School: El Camino High School; 10th grade. Favorite subject: Science
Sponsors: Vissla, Channel Islands Surfboards, , Sex Wax, Prolite, Sunbum, Dblanc
Equipment: Channel Islands, Fever 5'9"
Claim to Fame: One thing you can count on at Westerns, there are always waves. And again, HB lights up again with a hefty 4-6 foot swell that would basically last the entire 4-day window. Jabe took advantage of the bombing surf and yes, the classic and diverse HB challenging conditions and he aced it. His surfing was on point from the opening round. The Open Mens final was as solid as you can get with Jabe, Dimitri Poulos, Japan’s Tenshi Iwami and 2018 defending champion Tommy McKeown. In the final it was game on and Jabe threaded combos of rail and freestyle maneuvers which is always the path to victory on southside. He torched a set wave earning an 8.40 and crushed a backup of 7.93. With the win, Jabe made his Nationals mission statement loud and clear. “I’m going to keep practicing surfing in beach breaks.” The newly crowned Open Mens Regional Champ is a smart man. Fave thing about HB Pier: No matter the size in HB, it is always rippable. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me to surf when I was 8. Local spot: Ventura Harbor. Surf crew: The 805 groms. Favorite surfers: Julian Wilson and Eric Geiselman because they surf super smooth and are exciting to watch. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation. Something people don’t know about you: I use to race bikes. The best things about living in Ventura: I get to surf a variety of different waves. Barrels or Airs: Barrels. Dream wave: Keramas. Who has pushed your surfing? Dimitri Poulos because we always surf together and compete against each other. Goals: To keep surfing and getting better while having fun. Thank yous: My sponsors and parents for always supporting me!
 

Surfer of the Week - 5/6/2019

EMMA STONE

Age: 17
Hometown: San Francisco, California
School: Summit Shasta; 11th grade. Favorite subject: English
Sponsors: Rip Curl, Sea Hugger, Sun Bum, Betty Belts, Simon Fathers Performance Training, Zombie Tread
Equipment: Arakawa Surfboards, Scream, 5’6"
Claim to Fame: Not too many athletes can pull off undefeated seasons but this is one honor that Emma can now claim. It was a grand achievement for the 17-year-old who calls the chilly, powerful and sometimes terrifying lineup of Ocean Beach as her local training ground. She won 4 consecutive events in the NW Conference Open Womens division handily taking the 18/19 season title. “Scheduling conflicts plus a hurt knee last year made it difficult for me to compete consistently the past few seasons,” she said. “I wanted to come back strong this year.” That she did with a perfect record thanks to focus, training, good boards designed by world class shaper Eric Arakawa and coaching by Ryan Simmons who was a NSSA Conference and National Champion himself. Emma is aiming to keep the winning momentum going into the Nationals but knows her work is cut out. “I’ve surfed in Nationals only once and the kids who compete there are the best of the best,” she said. “I know I better bring my A-game!” Age you started surfing: I was 11 and my Dad taught me. Surf crew: Burkley, Rex, River and my Dad. Favorite surfers: Owen Wright because he seems like an awesome dad and his backhand surfing is mental. And Coco Ho because she rips, I like her forehand surfing and she’s always smiling. Fantasy Superpower: To teleport myself anywhere in the world. Something people don’t know about you: I’m dyslexic and deathly afraid of dolphins. Dream wave: Lances Right. Pros and cons about being a surfer from San Francisco: There aren’t a lot of kids that surf Ocean Beach so I love bringing my friends up. But we do have a great community of surfers that look out for one another. The cons can also be the pros because it can get super heavy, big and scary but sometimes that keeps the crowds away so we can surf empty world class waves. Who has pushed your surfing? My Dad because he passed his love of surfing on to me. Ever since I told him that I wanted to compete, he has done everything to make sure I have everything I need including pushing me to be my best. Goals: To compete in the NSSA Regionals and Nationals, the USA Surfing Championships and hopefully start competing on the QS. Thank yous: My parents for everything they do for me. Eric Arakawa for helping me design my boards, Ryan Simmons for coaching me and pushing me to be a better competitor, Simon Fathers for keeping me strong and in shape, my sponsors for all their support and my friends for pushing me to be a better surfer while always having fun.
 

Surfer of the Week - 4/24/2019

OWEN MOSS

Age: 14
Hometown: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
School: Acellus Academy; 9th Grade
Sponsors: Hurley, Xanadu Surfboards, Sunbum, FCS, Sweetwater Surf Shop, Monster Energy, Reef, Sector 9
Equipment: 5’10” Xanadu X-21 model
Claim to Fame: Owen may only be 14-years-old, but you would have never known it watching him compete at the 2019 East Coast Regionals Championships. The Wilmington native known to his friends as “O-dog”, brought his power game to NSB and surfing a level up took a remarkable win in the Open Mens division. Earlier in the contest, he battled through Explorer heats and both Open Juniors and Mens prelims. “I really didn’t feel like I had been surfing all that well the first couple of days but I just kept trying to battle in each heat,” he said. “On days 3 and 4, I felt like I was starting to surf better.” And on finals day, he did just that with rail surfing combos of big carves, potent hacks and flowing roundhouses finishing with a fourth place in Explorer Boys, a second in Open Juniors and the pinnacle Open Mens crown. While many kids focus on aerials, Owen prefers a solid foundation of rail commitment and a more powerful approach. I love to watch and study how Jordy Smith, Mick Fanning and Michel Bourez surf,” he said. "I look up to their rail work and power.” With the the major summer events up next, expectations will be high for the young champion but he will be ready. “I will prepare for Nationals by surfing as much as possible and training out of the water when it’s flat,” he said. “I’ll also watch a lot of clips from past contests at Huntington Beach!” Favorite thing about New Smyrna Beach: New Smyrna almost always has waves and depending on the tide it gets really wedgy and fun. Age you started surfing: My Dad taught me when I was 4. Surf crew: At home I surf with Keegan Bigones, Owen Carter, Owen Wrenn and lots of other people depending on the day. Favorite surfers: John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, and Jordy Smith. I like their different styles and how good each one is. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation Something people don’t know about you: My brother and I are the first surfers in my family. Best thing about being a surfer from NC: How stoked everyone gets when we have waves! And the OBX. When it’s good is world class. Dream wave: J Bay. Who has pushed your surfing? My Dad has always taught me to constantly push me against myself no matter where I’m surfing or what the conditions. Goals: To compete and travel to surf for as long as I can. Thank yous: Special thanks to Asher Nolan for always helping me and teaching me how to improve my surfing.
 

Surfer of the Week - 3/13/2019

HUDSON SAUNDERS

Age: 12
Hometown: Laguna Beach, California
School: Thurston Middle School; 7th grade. Favorite subject: History
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Laguna Surf and Sport, XM leashes, Jensen Surfboards, Fish 101
Equipment: Jensen Surfboards 4’ 11” X 16” swallow tail
Claim to Fame: When Hudson showed up to compete on the fifth stop of the 18/19 SW Explorer Season series at 9th Street, winning a conference title was the furthest thing from his mind. His focus was on surfing his hardest, getting on the best waves and staying in a good groove. The hard-working kid from Laguna Beach has been on a roll making the last 4 Open finals in the mega-talented Boys division. Ironically, his breakout event happened to be at the 9th Street Open back in November when things started clicking. “I had a difficult round one heat but was able to get through and advanced to a really tough semi-final draw,” Hudson said. “I dropped an 8 and a 6 to win the heat and advance to the final. Making that Open final was a big confidence boost for me.” When Hudson advanced to the Explorer Menehuene final earning his fourth finals appearance in the division, he didn’t stop there and went on to take a commanding victory. Not only was this his first ever NSSA win, the first place points made him a conference champion contender. “I really didn’t know that I had a chance at winning the conference title on Saturday, but when I won Janice told me that I had a shot,” Hudson said. “When I got to the beach for Sunday’s event, I was nervous since I knew Paul (Karscay) could still catch me. That first heat was stressful because I fell on my first wave. But I was able to gather myself and went on to win the final and my first title!” Favorite thing about HB’s 9th St: The left sand bar because it lets you allows you to do good turns and open up. Age you started surfing: I was 3 and my dad put me in a life jacket and paddled me out to Rockpile. Local spot: Rockpile, Brooks Street and Salt Creek. Surf crew: Zach Van Meter, the older kids in Laguna and all my friends that I do contests with. Favorite pro surfers: Mikey Wright because he has very creative lines, he never does the same turn and he has a lot of flair. And Kolohe Andino because he is really fast, aggressive and is also super nice. Something people don’t know about you: I don’t like breakfast food, I would rather eat dinner leftovers. Dream wave: J-Bay with no sharks and warm water. Who has pushed your surfing? The kids I compete with because I know I need to be surfing my best. I watch a lot of surf videos too. Thank yous: My Mom and Dad for taking so much of their time to support me. My coaches Dave Post, Brandon Phillips and Mo. Chad Wells, Andrew Mariner and Laguna Surf and Sport because they make me feel like family
 

Surfer of the Week - 2/27/2019

JAK ZIETS

Age: 12
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
School: Santa Barbara Junior High, 7th grade
Sponsors: Rip Curl USA, Channel Islands Surfboards, Mr. Zogs Sex Wax, Tiki Toss, Leus, WNG Surf Team, Surf Happens
Equipment: Channel Islands Rook15, 5'2" x 16-7.8" x 2"
Claim to Fame: Small, difficult surf conditions at the Salt Creek Open event 8 didn’t stop Jak from shredding the place apart. The 12-year-old known as “Layback” seemed to be in a league of his own throughout the entire event winning every round in the mega talented Open Boys division including a stellar first place performance in the final which was his first of the 18/19 season. “That was a really fun contest in challenging conditions,” Jak said. “The lefts running on the sandbar had such fun sections to hit and try airs on.” It is no surprise that this stylish, Santa Barbara bred goofyfooter takes his surfing seriously and is quickly making a name for himself. Growing up in a hotbed of professional surfing surely has made a big impact. Local legends Bobby Martinez and Conner and Parker Coffin have been Jak’s role models. “Their surfing was fine tuned in the same right point breaks I love to surf,’ he said. With one National title already under his belt in the 2017 Super Grom 10 & under division, Jak is shooting for more. “My goal is to win the Regionals, Nationals and US Champs this year!” Favorite thing about Salt Creek: I like the lined up lefts, tons of air sections and fun sandbars. Age you started surfing: I was 5 and my dad got me started. Local spot: Sandspit and Rincon. Surf crew: Hammy & Curty Jacobs, Tyler Chiarappa, Tahven Modisette, Hayden Garfield, the Vodraskas, Trevor Berry, Ron Dog, Griffdog, Jack Zoltan. Favorite pro surfers: Bobby Martinez because his backhand is unmatched. Conner Coffin because of his power and rail game. Parker Coffin because he is raw, spontaneous and powerful. Fantasy Superpower: Teleportation so I could instantly be at any surf spot anywhere on the planet. Something people don’t know about you: I am addicted to sushi. Dream wave: Skeleton Bay and Macaronis. Why was winning the Nationals so special? I set my goal that season to win at Nationals. All my hard work throughout the season paid off and that felt awesome. Who has pushed your surfing the most? My friends who I surf with and my dad. My friends help me to push my level and progression while always having fun. And my dad because he is always supporting me and helping me improve. Thank yous: My parents, all of my sponsors, Matt Myers, Mike Walter, Blake, Nathaniel and the whole crew at Channel Islands, Dave Letinsky, Kyle McGetrick, Walt Cerny, Chris Keet, and my friends and all the cool people in the Santa Barbara surf community for their support.