By Matt Skenazy
Photos by Jimmicane
With rain in the morning and a dying swell from Hurricane Celia, it was hard not to feel like the final day of the Surfing America Championships was a bit anticlimactic -- until you looked toward the lineup. The waves were still more than contestable--pumping even, at times--and the nation's cream of the crop was giving it all they got for a title and, for the U16 boys and the U18 boys and girls, a coveted spot on the USA Surf Team. If this is the future of American surfing, then not only is it good, but it's stylish, it's varied, it's graceful, it's exciting, it's fun, it's...it's...
- In the U18 semifinals, Evan Geiselman blew the tail out twice on a left then lofted a slick air reverse on the inside. Simultaneously the Brazilian soccer team scored their first goal against Chile in the round of 32 in the World Cup (seriously, they announced it on the beach). Maybe Brazil scores every time he does an air revo. Brazil scores a lot of goals. Evan does a lot of air reverses. Maybe? Despite an interference call against him, Evan went on to win the semis and the finals in U18s, earning himself the Governor's Cup and a slot on Team USA for the next ISA World Surfing Games.
- Pint-sized Jake Marshall of Encinitas surfed far beyond his years. After winning the U12 final he was chaired up the beach. By one guy. "Whenever you get more time at Lowers with only three other guys out you're amped," Marshall said post-victory. "I just wanted to win so I could surf more out there." He is very well spoken for someone his age.
- Following a jittery start, the U16 boys lived up to their billing with Parker Coffin, Kolohe Andino, Colin Moran, and Ian Gentil (who was surfing up a division) all doing Lowers proud. Kolohe repeated his performance from last year and earned himself the title. After displaying a full array of grabs and airs, Kolohe had this to say: "You have to know how to do airs like that to know how hard they are. But the judges have been on point."
- Back in his age bracket, Gentil dropped a 9.7 on his first wave in the U14s and never looked back.
- On the girls' side of things, Mahina Maeda comboed the field to take out the U12s, and Tatiana Weston-Webb won both the U14s and the U16s.
- In the premier girls heat of the day--the U18 final--Kaleigh Gilchrist, who received an athletic scholarship to USC for water polo, led most of the way. It was like a heavyweight prizefight, but with pretty girls on surfboards. In the end, Gilchrist edged out Courtney Conlogue, Lakey Peterson and Nage Melamad and won her second consecutive title along with the Governor's Cup.
Now it's on to Huntington Beach for the NSSA National Championships, where many of these same names will battle for prestigious Nationals titles in the Open and Explorer divisions starting Tuesday.
Boys U12: Semi-Finals?Heat 1: Jake Marshall 16.17, Log Ng 12.50, Micky Clarke 9.47, Kei Kobayashi 9.00?Heat 2: Griffin Colapinto 15.10, Kaulana Apo 14.00, John Mel 10.77, Finn McGill 7.53
Boys U14: Semi-Finals?Heat 1: Ian Gentil 16.50, Joshua Moniz 13.17, Skip McCullough 10.50, Kanoa Igarashi 9.63?Heat 2: Kalani David 10.97, Imaikalani Devault 10.50, Jacob Davis 9.83, Colin Deveze 7.07
Boys U16: Semi-Final?Heat 1: Parker Coffin 15.60, Ian Gentil 12.50, Keala Naihe 11.34?Heat 2: Kolohe Andino 18.00, Colin Moran 11.73, Trevor Thornton 10.83
Boys U18: Semi-Finals?Heat 1: Kolohe Andino 16.16, Tanner Hendrickson 13.84, Conner Coffin 12.17?Heat 2: Ezekiel Lau 11.50, Evan Geiselman 10.17, Andrew Doheny 4.03
Boys U12: Finals?Jake Marshall 16.16, Kaulana Apo 13.33, 13.10 Griffin Colapinto, Log Ng 8.94,
Boys U14: Finals?Ian Gentil 16.37, Imaikalani Devault 12.83, Kalani David 11.40, Joshua Moniz 10.44
Boys U16: Finals?Kolohe Andino 14.90, Parker Coffin 13.26, Colin Moran 11.16, Ian Gentil 9.07
Boys U18: Finals?Evan Geiselman 15.37, Kolohe Andino 15.14, Ezekiel Lau 13.77, Tanner Hendrickson 13.23
Girls U14: Semi-Finals?Heat 1: Kulia Doherty 16.27, Tatiana Weston-Webb 14.44, Jenna Forti 6.24?Heat 2: Bailey Nagy 11.73, Frankie Harrer 9.77, Kylie Loveland 5.37
Girls U16: Semi-Finals?Heat 1: Quincy Davis 15.40, Harley Taich 10.46, Nikki Viesins 10.36?Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb 13.84, Brianna Cope 13.83, Bailey Nagy 5.66
Girls U12: Finals?Mahina Maeda 17.43, Dax McGill 13.70, Katie Gordon 10.76, Mainei Kinimaka 6.53
Girls U14: Finals?Tatiana Weston-Webb 15.34, Bailey Nagy 13.24, Kulia Doherty 10.23, Frankie Harrer 6.10
Girls U16: Finals?Tatiana Weston-Webb 13.83, Brianna Cope 13.63, Quincy Davis 13.44, Harley Taich 8.93
Girls U18: Finals?Kaleigh Gilchrist 15.67, Courtney Conlogue 14.23, Nage Melamed 13.00, Lakey Peterson 11.03