2007 NSSA Nationals – The Final Day

Check the previous reports here.

Conditions: Bi-polar. Inconsistently perfect.
Heats Run: Finals, baby.
Nature's Call: Dolphins have priority. (Sorry Alanna)
Predictions: A very interesting awards banquet Sunday night. Cory and Tonino will be there.

Cory Arrambide won't sleep much tonight. Alanna Blanchard may switch to non-dolphin safe tuna. Granger Larsen's sad. "Brother's" buying a punching bag right now. Carissa Moore is better than Kelly. Coco Ho will win this next year. Open Mini Groms will be televised on NBC next year after being named the most entertaining division of all time. Kanoa Igarashi will have an agent by Monday. And we all can't wait to do it all again next year. NSSA Nationals is too much fun. While we're all a little Nationals hungover for sure, looking back at the time we had will make it all worth it. With a webcast, new vibes all over the place, poker, magicians and 13 days of straight sunshine I dare you to say it wasn't the best week at a Nationals of all time.

And while everyone involved no doubt had a time, it's time to call it quits. The Hawaiians are cold. Lowers is lonely without the daily crowds and the State park system has had enough candy. So yeah, good times but we're all ready to go home. Well, everyone except Kolohe Andino. "I don't want it to be over," he said halfway through the card trick he learned after losing out in the Open Boys division. "I want it to keep going 'till I can win something." After a frustrating Open Boys semifinal heat in which Brother was asked to leave the water after two interferences (NSSA rules) to say he has a "shocker" would be an understatement. But lucky for the blonde ultra grom, he's still coming in at the ripe age of 13-years-old; it's nice to know he'll get his shot.

Okay, so where were we? Oh yes, the final day. After grinding out heats for 5 days straight at Lowers and an additional 4 days at Salt Creek we widdled it down to the end. And not a moment too soon. The Hawaiians are ready for home. Lowers is ready to be crowded again and summer is begging to begin. But until it hands out some National titles, it can't. So here goes.

The Open Womens final, by far one of the most anticipated Womens heats of all time, didn't disappoint. Sage Erickson was ripping. Coco Ho is my new favorite surfer. Alanna Blanchard is ready for the 'CT and Carissa, well she should be a wilcard at J-Bay next week. I'm dead serious. But about Alanna and the dolphins. After opening up with a really solid right-hander that netted her a 6.75, a shade low in my book, Alanna was in the drivers seat. Out the back all she needed to beat Carissa was something around a 7. A massive score sure, but to have the shot at Carissa in the Open Womens final and only need a 7. This was huge. With 35 minute finals and only 4 girls out there. Alanna sat patiently out the back waiting for a nugget. About midway through the heat a diamond in the rough appeared out the back, glazed smooth by the wave before, leaving it glassy and ready to be shattered by the Rip Curl princess. She dug into her bottom turn and as everyone hooted and she stood up to set her line right there in the wave were 6 dolphins darting though her wave. Startling everyone on the beach, and no doubt rattling Alanna a bit. She stumbled at the top and the wave passed, with 6 grey bodies darting through it to the inside. Then Carissa took off and showed why she's talked about like she is. Nail in the coffin. Count it as her 10th. Kelly may be scared of 10. Carissa isn't.

And now the Mens. 3 Hawaiians and A Cali boy. Another wave-starved heat because as we all know Mother Nature is a drama queen. Out of the gates on a couple insiders was Big Island flair bear Tonino Benson. Tonino absolutely riddled a left with reverses and lip bashes to secure an 8. Putting him at the top for the whole heat. But now for the drama. 5 minutes remaining. Cory needs an 8.25. Kai needs a 9. And Kauai ripper Alex Smith needs a high 7. Ss, no sets. No sets. Until out the back, with exactly one minute remaining 3 bombs stack up out the back. Cory's up first. Takes off deep and gets a rare runner all the way through the bay. Surfing it absolutely perfectly. The score he needed, an 8.25. What that wave will be scored? Don't want to know really. It could go either way. Should make for lovely dinner conversation at the banquet though. "What did I do on it?" Cory asked pulling his jersey off after the heat. "I blanked. Did I do a big turn out the back? I can't even remember. It's a blur"

And then there's poor Kai Barger and Alex Smith. Alex lit one up in the waning minutes as well and should jump from 4th to somewhere higher. And Kai Barger. He needed a 9 and got a 9.75...30 seconds after the horn to the cheers of everyone. Unfortunately, a bit too late. A nice curtsey for the young Hawaiian. though. He surfed amazing all week and has a big time future.

So there were are. The day of the banquet pondering who will graduate from the NSSA a champion. And who will move into the "real" world without a National title. One thing I discovered this week though is it doesn't take a National title to open eyes at Nationals. It takes putting in a solid week and just being there. Guys like Kekoa Cazimero, Granger Larsen. Spencer Regan, Nate Rex. Malia Manuel. Alessa Quizon. They didn't win, but they sure did show that they can and will win. They proved they're all the future of American and Hawaiian surfing and things couldn't look better. See you next year. I'm already frothing and Brother's already checking in for his heats.



red 4 kai barger 11.75
blue 1 tonino benson 15.25
yellow 3 alex smith 13.00
orange 2 cory arrambide 13.75

red 4 alana blanchard 9.00
blue 3 sage erikson 10.75
yellow 2 coco ho 11.00
orange 1 carissa moore 18.00

red 6 albee layer 7.88
blue 3 kiron jabour 11.50
yellow 5 nick falbo 8.25
orange 2 keanu asing 14.50
green 4 evan geiselman 9.75
white 1 andrew doheny 15.00

red 1 kealamakia naihe 15.50
blue 3 benji brand 10.00
yellow 4 luke hitchcock 9.75
orange 2 koa smith 13.50
green 5 lahiki minamishin 7.25
white 6 makai mcnamara 6.38

red 1 benji brand 12.50
blue 3 imaikalani devault 11.75
yellow 6 kalani david 8.75
orange 2 ian gentil 12.00
green 5 chaz kinoshita 8.75
white 4 kanoa igarashi 9.50

red 3 kevin osborne 13.50
blue 2 christian wach 15.50
yellow 6 cedric caires 7.25
orange 4 christian clark 10.75
green 1 troy mothershead 15.75
white 5 cole robbins 8.50

red 1 tim senneff 13.50
blue 6 mike lamm 2.00
yellow 4 rick fignetti 8.50
orange 2 mike gillard 10.25
green 3 dale baker 9.00
white 5 steve dwyer 7.00

red 2 chris keet 14.50
blue 5 lyn meyers 5.25
yellow 3 randy cutshall 9.75
orange 6 donald day 3.50
green 1 josh wilson 16.00
white 4 jeff dana 9.25

red 6 mike gillard 5.50
blue 3 kevin osborne 10.25
yellow 5 cody ulrich 8.00
orange 1 troy mothershead 16.00
green 2 christian clark 15.25
white 4 rory golden 9.00

red 3 randy cutshall 9.25
blue 2 mike gillard 13.00
yellow 6 tim senneff 4.25
orange 1 christian budroe 13.25
green 4 robert weiner 8.75
white 5 paul spencer 7.00

red 5 tonino benson 11.00
blue 1 kai barger 17.25
yellow 6 dylan perillo 9.25
orange 3 granger larsen 13.00
green 4 kekoa cazimero 11.25
white 2 alex smith 16.75

red 1 alessa quizon 15.00
blue 3 carissa moore 12.50
yellow 5 marissa shaw 5.75
orange 2 malia manuel 13.75
green 4 leila hurst 8.50
white 6 ashley hunter 5.50

red 4 dylan melamed 6.25
blue 3 dillon perillo 8.50
yellow 1 cory arrambide 12.50
orange 2 kai barger 9.50
green 5 dege o’connell 4.00
white 6 spencer regan 2.75

red 5 koa smith 6.75
blue 1 evan geiselman 13.75
yellow 2 keanu asing 12.00
orange 6 davey brand 5.63
green 3 andrew doheny 11.00
white 4 tanner hendrickson 8.75

red 1 kolohe andino 14.00
blue 2 kealamakia naihe 13.75
yellow 4 isiah moniz 12.75
orange 5 koa smith 11.38
green 3 lahiki minamishin 13.75
white 6 benji brand 6.00

red 1 carissa moore 14.75
blue 2 alessa quizon 12.50
yellow 3 nage melamed 12.50
orange 4 coco ho 12.00
green 6 leila hurst 7.75
white 5 monyca bryne wickey 10.50

Stay tuned for the full results from the Interscholastic division later today.