2010 NSSA National Championships Begin

Ezekiel Lau. Summer kickoffs off with the nation's hottest young surfers

Ezekiel Lau. Summer kicks off with the nation's top young surfers at Salt Creek and the HB Pier this month.

By Chelsea Rauhut

On Wednesday, college surf teams nationwide finished off final exams and congregated in Dana Point, California. School spirit was at an all-time high at the 2010 NSSA National Interscholastic College Championships. The south swell provided reeling lefts off the point at Salt Creek, and the windswell peaks yielded some rippable A-frames — not to mention a beach full of spectators and supporters that added to the great vibe.

With the sheet glass and dropping tide in the afternoon, the collegiate crew showed off their skills to their full potential in the final rounds. Standout surfers from the Men's division were Mike Powell (UNCW) from the North Carolina and Hunter Lysaught, who proudly claimed first for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Cole Robbins brought home a first for UC Santa Barbara in the Longboard division. UCSB wrapped up the contest after Lipoa Kahaleuahi and Rachel Harris dominated their heat, crowning the team National Champions.

The National Championships will continue these next few days at Salt Creek with the Middle School and Explorer divisions. Keep an eye out for Parker "Porker" Coffin from the Gold Coast, who just made double finals at the Rip Curl GromSearch in Huntington Beach. Also look out for up-and-coming Pat Curren from Santa Barbara. Kanoa Igarashi from the Southwest is a favorite grom who dominated the season, as is Taylor Clark, who dependably put on a show at every Southwest event.

We're guaranteed to witness progressive surfing from Tanner Hendrickson, Matty Costa, Kyle Galtes and Isaiah Moniz, who dominated this year in both the Explorer and Open Men and Juniors divisions in Hawaii. It'll be interesting to watch them battle it out against former national champion and top-seeded surfer Conner Coffin, along with standout surfers Taylor Clark and Jake Halstead from the Southwest Open. Evan Geiselman from the East Coast is also hungry for a third title this year, and we look forward to seeing how he goes at getting his hands on another national title.

The Women's division proves to have some stiff competition too. Lakey Peterson put on an astounding display last year and won her first title in the Women's Open. But she'll have to defend that title against reigning Hawaiian champs Leila Hurst, Nage Melamed and Alessa Quizon.

The list of the country's hottest surfers goes on, and they will all be bringing their best game in hopes of taking home some Nationals hardware this month. The event runs June 17th-19th at Salt Creek and June 29th-July 3rd at Huntington Beach Pier. Stay tuned.