NSSA Nationals: What’s Really Going On at Lowers

Event's Held: {{{Explorer}}} Menehune, Boys, Juniors and Mens...no stoppin' till we have finals.
Conditions: 3 to 5 foot glassy Lowers and a bunch of kids shralping it.
Nature's Call: You're gonna need some sunblock kiddies.
Predictions: We all quit surfing out of embarrassment. These kids are that good.

Kolohe Andino is still soaking wet from his heat minutes before. He runs across the beach, continuously patted on the back, high-fived, congratulated. After weaving through that labyrinth he's made it: the Ping Pong table. "Who's last, I want in after them!" he shouts as he dries off, still in his wetsuit. This is where the really heated battles are going down. The groms are all gathered around like they're at a cockfight in Bangkok. The table, which looks like it was put together inside out, making for some very unique angles makes it possible to land some questionable shots. "You should've seen me last night," explains Andino, "I was playing in my wetsuit, soaking wet in sweat schooling these guys." Well, if that was the case Andino could be an NSSA professor because in the water he has been scorching, posting 9's consistently.

For the older kids, the lack of babes on the beach is the only thing that's got them down. "The waves are butter out there," says Maui dominator Dusty Payne moments after posting one of the days highest heat totals with a 10 and a 9.25, "It's so glassy and perfect, I wanted to keep catching waves. If there were girls down here this would be like heaven." With the ten dollar parking and the ten-minute walk, it's a little tougher to coax the girls into coming down to watch. No worries for tomorrow though, they'll be some girls, and they'll be shredding as the girls divisions fire back up.

One of the biggest surprises of the day was Clay Marzo, last year's Nationals darling, going down in the quarterfinals of the highly contested Explorer Juniors division. Clay, who's battling that nasty staff infection in his foot, is surfing ridiculously well all things considered, but the competition seems to smell weakness and is pouncing. First to pounce was Clay's best friend Granger Larsen who spent most of the day spreading frosting on the rights at Lowers. Granger's style is so technically perfect and radical that it's no wonder they call him "Baby Bruce."

The biggest surprise stand out was Chas Chidester. Surfing with a new confidence by way of a big Volcom stone on his board, Chas has completely refined his act; polished style, booming confidence and a slot in the heavily contested Explorer mens division, the perfect warm up for his Open Mens campaign which begins tomorrow.