Op Honor Roll: September 04

Nick Rozsa – Oxnard, California

First Place, {{{Explorer}}} Mens and Explorer Juniors, NSSA Western Championships

Only three years ago, Nick Rozsa was a valley kid who could barely muster a top turn. Today, he's Oxnard's best prospect since Timmy Curran, was Ventura County's breakout rookie during the California Cup and – most recently – dominated two divisions at the NSSA Western Championships at HB Pier. What prompted the magic bean-like growth spurt? Moving from Newbury Park back to his birthplace certainly helped. "I couldn't ask for a better place to live," he says of Oxnard's famed beachbreak, Silver Strand. "Since I didn't grow up on the beach, I'll never take surfing for granted." He's also put in tons of hours with coach Mike Lamm and constantly studies the hottest role models strutting the Strand – guys like the Currans, Malloys and Dane Reynolds. But all of this was merely fuel for the spark that ignited his recent competitive wildfire. During this spring's Game series, Rozsa not only became an integral member of the Ventura team, he caught the eye of founder Brad Gerlach. "You have a big future ahead of you," Gerlach told him. "Keep pushing it." Rozsa did just that at the NSSA Western Champs at Huntington, where he posted a whopping 17.33 score total in the Explorer Juniors final, including a 9.33 bomb left by the pier and an 8 to back it up. Rozsa blames it on the Game. "The judging's so tough in those things," he says. "I went as hard as I could, and the highest score I ever got was a 6.5. It forces you to freesurf in your heats." Marrying freesurfing with heat surfing? As Gerlach would say, you can't get better training than that.