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All photos by Peter Taras unless noted otherwise

When the mean weight of the competitors is 104 pounds, it doesn't matter if the waves are two feet -- the groms still go out and blow tail and minds hoping to put their names on the prestigious list of Nationals champs. Realizing those hopes this weekend were Open Mens champ Cam Richards of South Carolina, Open Womens winner Leila Hurst of Hawaii and Parker Coffin, who smoked the Open Juniors division to cap off a rather victorious week for the 15-year-old from Santa Barbara (he also won last weekend at the US Championships at Lower Trestles).

Injecting a shot of fun into the sometimes pressure-cooked environment that is competitive surfing was the SURFING Magazine Show Up & Blow Up contest, a 20-minute heat that sent 20 groms out in the water with blow-up pool toys with the sole purpose of letting loose. John Mel put together the most impressive heat, twirling a pair of El Rollos on both a Shark and a Dolphin, and embodying the spirit of the event by sharing his craft after every ride. But the hearts of the judges (Travis Ferré and me) and the fans were won by 7-year-old Liam Osborne, who charged past the shore break with no wetsuit, dragging a blow-up turtle three times his size and then air dropped into a bomb, stuck it, and rode that wise creature all the way to shore. For his efforts he won VIP tickets to see Kai Neville's Lost Atlas when it premieres in Huntington next month. You know, cruise with Dusty and Dion and Dane. No biggie.

National's weekend went about as it always does: Lots of smiles and laughs, a few tears, some crushes, sand throwing and trophies. A chance for the kids to be kids, to see and be seen -- a preface to surfing's future. And the groms all know it; they're already practicing their speeches. One 8-year-old, brought up on stage to be recognized as one of the youngest in the contest, said to the crowd in a mousy voice, "First I'd like to thank my sponsors. I just got sponsored Billabong. Thanks guys." --Taylor Paul



1. Cam Richards-Garden City, SC 12.20

2. Taylor Clark-Encinitas, CA 11.60

3. Kalani David-Sunset Beach, HI 10.15

4. Jeremy Carter-San Clemente, CA 7.70


1. Leila Hurst-Kilauea, HI 12.40

2. Tatiana Weston Webb-Hanalei, HI 10.00

3. Mahina Maeda-Sunset Beach, HI 9.00

4. Taylor Pitz-Laguna Beach, CA 7.75


1. Parker Coffin-Santa Barbara 16.50

2. Ian Gentil-Paia, HI 10.75

3. Knox Harris-Ocean Isle Beach, NC 4.70

4. Kain Daly-Paia, HI 4.40


1. Jake Marshall-Encinitas, CA 14.75

2. Kaulana Apo-Ewa Beach, HI 8.00

3. Noa Mizuno-Waimanalo, HI 7.70

4. Griffin Colapinto-San Clemente, CA 7.25


1. Tyler Gunter-Newport Beach, CA 8.80

2. Stevie Pittman-Newport, NC 7.65

3. Eithan Osborne-Ventura, CA 7.50

4. Barron Mamiya-Waialua, HI 5.35


1. Dax McGill-Sunset Beach, HI 10.50

2. Tatiana Weston Webb-Hanalei, HI 7.50

3. Mahina Maeda-Sunset Beach, HI 7.10

4. Bailey Nagy-Haleiwa, HI 6.00


1. Steve McLean-Cocoa Beach, FL 10.00

2. Dane Petersen-Trabuco Canyon, CA 9.50

3. Shaun Thompson-Huntington Beach, CA 7.15

4. Noah Hill-Marina del Rey, CA 4.45


1. Chris Tucker-Satellite Beach, FL 11.90

2. Matty Costa-Ewa Beach, HI 11.83

3. Keala Naihe-Kailua Kona, HI 11.30

4. Keto Burns-St Augustine, FL 10.06

5. Dylan Kowalski-Wrightsville Beach, NC 9.67

6. Tabin Shamblin-Lawai, HI, 7.07


1. Matty Costa-Ewa Beach, HI 13.00

2. Ezekiel Lau-Honolulu, HI 10.53

3. Keala Naihe Kailua Kona, HI 9.70

4. Imaikalani DeVault-Kula, HI 8.60

5. Skip McCullough-San Diego, CA 6.93

6. Isaiah Moniz-Honolulu, CA 5.27


1. Kalani David-Sunset Beach, HI 16.33

2. Josh Moniz-Honolulu, HI 16.16

3. Elijah Gates-Kapolei, HI 8.53

4. Imaikalani DeVault-Kula, HI 8.33

5. Skip McCullough-San Diego, CA 6.80

6. Daniel Glenn-New Smyrna Beach, FL 6.77


1. Jake Marshall- Encinitas, CA 15.60

2. Dylan Lehmann-Lahaina, HI 10.37

3. Finn McGill-Sunset Beach, HI 9.90

4. Griffin Colapinto-San Clemente, CA 8.67

5. Cody Young-Haiku, HI 7.40

6. Ryland Rubens-Pacific Beach, CA 6.93


1. Finn McGill-Sunset Beach, HI 15.83

2. Stevie Pittman-Newport, NC 9.83

3. Nick Marshall-Encinitas, CA 8.24

4. Tyler Gunter-Newport Beach, CA 8.20

5. Eithan Osborne-Ventura, CA 7.60

6. Ben Seaberry-Huntington Beach, CA 3.84


1. Leila Hurst-Kilauea, HI 14.27

2. Tatiana Weston Webb-Hanalei, HI 13.93

3. Kulia Doherty-San Clemente, CA 11.73

4. Dax McGill-Sunset Beach, HI 9.83

5. Tia Blanco-San Clemente, CA 6.47

6. Alisha Gonsalves-Honolulu, HI 3.10


1. Tatiana Weston Webb-Hanalei, HI 13.67

2. Kulia Doherty-San Clemente CA 11.06

3. Moana Jones-Sunset Beach, HI 10.53

4. Dax McGill-Sunset Beach, HI 6.96

5. Mahina Maeda-Sunset Beach, HI 6.90

6. Tia Blanco-San Clemente, CA 6.10


1. Shaun Thompson- Huntington Beach, CA 13.26

2. Mike Gillard-Coronado, CA 9.33

3. Nathan Thompson- Huntington Beach, CA 6.94

4. Kyle Ferris-Harlengin, TX 5.44

5. Cody Canzoneri-Houston, TX 4.40

6. Fisher Grant-Winter Park, FL 3.20


1. Ezekiel Lau-Honolulu, HI

2. Keto Burns-St. Augustine, FL

3. Jeremy Carter-San Clemente, Ca

4. Taylor Clark-Encinitas, Ca

5.5. PJ Raia-Fair Haven, NJ

5.5 Chris Tucker-Satellite Beach, FL