Events Held: High School, Middle School and College National Championships
Conditions: 4 to 6 foot slightly side-hacked, bend away left handers off the point at Salt Creek.
Nature's Call: Can you say, "Let's get bronzy?"
Predictions: Leave the boxing gloves at home next week, groms.
Tears, bench clearing brawls, a tie settled with a walk off, whoops, I mean surf-off, and tons of very sophisticated shredding. And to think this is just the scholastic appetizer for next weeks' individual National Championships. The NSSA Scholastic Championships kicked off Thursday and cranked out heats from sun up to sun down as middle schools, high schools and colleges from across the nation battled for bragging rights and the National Championship cup for their school.
Some heavy hitters came out to get a nice warm up in preparation for next weeks' showdown at the cobblestone corral of Lowers. National championship favorites Kolohe "Brother" Andino, Koa Smith, Tanner Gudauskas, and Cory Arrambide all showed and lit up some lefts off the rocks for their respective schools, while loosening up the hinges for next week.
While the heavy shredding went down Saturday, the real blows came out on Friday. Don't think the blood doesn't boil under these kids' wetsuits for their school colors. After some controversial tactics from Huntington Beach High School members, a few surfers of San Dieguito Academy called Huntington out and the benches cleared. At the water's edge, a few punches were thrown and some very red coaches and participants left the beach embarrassed and clearly ruffled. Let's leave the gloves and home next week, bros.
Back to the duel that mattered: I plopped into a chair on the beach from the Ritz Carlton that was clearly not meant for me to sit in to enjoy the finals. I watched Kolohe Andino whirly-bird into the most Taj-esque air reverse ever navigated by a 13 year old in his pre-heat warm up. Unfortunately for "Brother" he fell victim to a couple of poor wave choice decisions and missed a couple good sets in the final, giving Koa Smith and Kyle McGeary the opportunity to lock into some solid waves and post some very high scores. In the girls division Carissa Moore showed why she continues to dominate and put on one of the most stylish performances of the week on the lefts at Creek.
In the high school division heavy favorites San Clemente came out with a massive cheering section on the beach, including the whole Gudauskas fam for support: mom, dad, and brothers Pat and Dane all rolled down to make sure Tanner—who was rocking the Pixies in his Oakley Thump 2 shades for the pre-heat psyche up, clearly frothing—won it for the Tritons. Ventura and San Dieguito had other plans. Cory Arrambide looked like he drank 3 Red Bulls before his heat, surfing ridiculously fast and even locked into a rare tube-station, posting a 9 point ride, giving himself a very good shot at the win.