1. Eithan Osborne
Recent accomplishment: 2016 NSSA Open Mens West Coast Champion
Why him: If you can punt in Huntington, you can win in Huntington. Eithan has demonstrated his aptitude for flight in recent times, so it wouldn’t surprise us to see him come out on top this time around.
2. Kade Matson
Recent accomplishment: 2016 Volcom TCT Groms Division Global Champion
Why him: He’s basically been ruling everything competition-wise for the past year. He recently grew about a foot too, which has leveled the playing field between him and some of his older competitors. Don’t expect him to go down before the final, if at all.
3. Tommy Coleman
Recent accomplishment: 2016 NSSA Open Juniors East Coast Champion
Why him: Tommy has been winning these things for years now, and there’s no reason to think he’ll stop anytime soon. Plus, Huntington pier is roughly thrice as good as Florida on any given day, so the froth levels will be high with this one.
4. Ocean Macedo
Recent accomplishment: 2016 NSSA Open Juniors Hawaiian Regional Champion
Why him: As long as speed, power, flow, and progression remain the criteria for high-level surfing, Ocean Macedo will have a place in our sport. He loves to tear through beefy sections, and he’s no stranger to the air, either.
5. Eli Hanneman
Recent accomplishment: 2nd Place 2016 Volcom TCT Global Champs Groms Division
Why him: Although smaller than many of his competitors, Eli is a straight-up freak talent. Like John John or Kolohe did before him, Eli is showing that progressive surfing has no age restrictions. If the waves are on the smaller side for this year’s event, we could easily see Eli top the podium.