June Madness

posted by / Photos / June 23, 2008



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Conditions: 4- to 6-foot lefts off point
Events held: High School, College and Middle School NSSA Interscholastic Championships
Nature’s Call: I wonder if people melt?
Predicted: NSSA Nationals to end on a bombing south next weekend. Believe it.

God it was hot. Wax was melting off boards in the shade. The wind was non-existent. Girls were flocking from every county in California to lie out. And organizers and competitors were doing happy jigs in the sand, laughing at their impeccable luck for waves and weather at Creek this year for the NSSA Interscholastic National Championships. It was the ultimate summer kickoff party. Friday’s International Surfing Day started the weekend with a gangbusters south swell. Saturday was a glassy paradise in the heart of the OC for the finals and all surfers are absolutely amping for the coming week at Lowers for the 30th Annual NSSA National Championships.

The lefts off point at Creek are an interesting phenomenon, as Kolohe Andino pointed out before his Middle School final. “It’s the sickest wave if you find your rhythm right away,” he said. “But if you get out of rhythm, you’re in for a shocker. It bends out to sea and is tough to get your flow back once you lose it.” The 14-year-old Shorecliffs leader, who no doubt had Anthony Kiedis filling his head with more pre-heat psyche than a triple Red Bull, was joined by teammate Ian Crane in the final and looked poised to continue on with the Shorecliffs dynasty they’ve created. “I think we kind of killed it again this year,” the confident towhead confided in me after the final. And while none of the results will be available until the banquet next Saturday, there are definitely some schools feeling rather comfortable at the moment –– Shorecliffs being one of them.In the College division, the big story in the final was Marty Weinstein of UCSD going down midway through the final to a bad ankle injury. “I heard him yell, but I just thought he was pissed off for falling,” said fellow finalist Alex Ganguili. It turns out he twisted awkwardly and got double bumped by a backwash and hobbled into shore before lifeguards and friends carried him up the beach. In the water, Mira Costa’s Nick Olsen came out blazing with a 9.25 on a bomb, which he finished off with a massive backhand reverse. Unable to really back that up, Olsen left the door open for Alex Ganguili who put together two solid scores towards the end. SDSU, UCSD and Mira Costa all have a shot at the title and the way the final panned it out, it’s so close it may come down to a chug off. (My money’s on SDSU if it comes down to that.)

There were no fights in the high school division this year (bummer for all the local newspapers, who decided that was the highlight of the event a few years back when San Dieguito and HB put their dukes up.) But there was some damn fine surfing that went down. Going into the finals, the schools with title shots were Elite {{{Element}}} from Hawaii, Huntington Beach and Carlsbad. In the girls final, Elite Element’s Coco Ho and Keala Moniz came out firing. Coco with a stylish 9.75, and Keala with a 9.5. The two Hawaiian wahines poured it on thick, reveling in the glassy lefts, both looking switchblade sharp for their heats next week at Nationals. Then it was time for the boys. Huntington’s Quinn McCrystal, Elite Element’s Kiron Jabour, and Carpinteria’s Conner Coffin we’re all squared off against the Carlsbad trio of Brent Reilly, Gabe Garcia, and Tyler Mcgintee. Kiron posted the first big score with an 8.5 and Quinn posted a 6.5. But after a fair bit of waiting out the back, the Carlsbad boys mounted their attack. It was a three wave C-Bad shred train, each kicking out to watch his teammate follow suit. Three daggers to heart of the other squads. With scores off at the five minute warning, it’s still anyone’s guess how it played out, but if your correspondent had to bet a Merrick on it, it’d be Carlsbad Lancers one, two and three for the sweep.

Stay tuned to Surfingmagazine.com all week for the rest of the action at Lowers and on Monday for the final wrap up and complete list of results next weekend after the banquet.

[Stay tuned to Surfingmagazine.com for the NSSA Nationals coverage starting Tuesday and the webcast presented by Nike 6.0 starting Thursday.]

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