Surfing America Prime series competitors complete last regular season event, prepare for USA Championships, team announcements
By Andrea Swayne
The talent-stacked group of Surfing America Prime competitors gathered in Huntington Beach, March 16 and 17 to finish out the regular season with a last push for season titles. Top results could also mean qualifying for the upcoming USA Championships and the prospect of being chosen to represent the country as members of the PacSun USA travel team.
A combo swell with peaky 3- to 4-foot surf stuck around all weekend as tight battles for season titles played out on the mostly glassy waves on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.
The hunt for top honors in Boys U14 was punctuated by the battle between Eithan Osborne (Ventura) and John Mel (Newport Beach). Mel needed a win and keep Osborne out of the final in order to win the season. Mel came in third and Osborne took second place for the title.
Matt Passaquindici of Huntington Beach took his first win of the season at his home break with an amazing performance. Ryland Rubens (Pacific Beach) and Tyler Killeen (Surfside) also took home their first season wins in Boys U16 and U14 respectively.
“The level of surfing was rivaling that of a WQS ASP event. We had some first-time winners and our PacSun Junior Surf Team members shined as expected,” said Ryan Simmons, PacSun USA Surf Team coach. “With a few months before our USA Championships at Lowers, the athletes will have time to work on equipment and strategy and we are expecting an awesome finish to the season.”
Six local surfers took home trophies—Lulu Erkeneff of Dana Point and from San Clemente, Malia Osterkamp, Tia Blanco, Colt Ward, Kevin Schulz and Kei Kobayashi. Two were crowned season champions—Blanco in Girls U18 and Griffin Colapinto in Boys U16.
“As this was the last event of our fifth season, it was great to reflect on the first five years of the Prime Series and realize how far the bar has been raised in junior surfing,” said Greg Cruse, Surfing America executive director. “At our first event in September of 2008, our head judge was questioning whether the Boys U14 and Girls U16 were ready to surf to ASP judging criteria. Now they not only excel in those age groups, they also do well in ASP Pro Junior events. The Prime Series was developed to take junior surfers to the next level and it’s gratifying to see the kids we developed this program for—like Kolohe Andino, Courtney Conlogue and Lakey Peterson—already surfing on the World Tour.”
Travel team announcements are expected this weekend.
Surfing America Prime, Event No. 6, March 16-17, Huntington Beach Pier
BOYS U18: 1. Matt Passaquindici, Huntington Beach; 2. Kevin Schulz, San Clemente; 3. Colt Ward, San Clemente; 4. Taylor Clark, Encinitas
BOYS U18 SEASON CHAMPION: Jake Marshall, Encinitas
GIRLS U18: 1.Tia Blanco, San Clemente; 2. Lulu Erkeneff, Dana Point; 3. Kylie Loveland, Carlsbad; 4. Malia Osterkamp, San Clemente
GIRLS U18 SEASON CHAMPION: Tia Blanco, San Clemente
BOYS U16: 1. Tyler Killeen, Surfside; 2. Nolan Rapoza, Long Beach; 3. Jake Marshall, Encinitas; 4. Kei Kobayashi, San Clemente
BOYS U16 SEASON CHAMPION: Griffin Colapinto, San Clemente
GIRLS U16: 1. Kylie Loveland, Carlsbad; 2. Meah Collins, Costa Mesa; 3. Malia Osterkamp, San Clemente; 4. Tia Blanco, San Clemente
GIRLS U16 SEASON CHAMPION: Meah Collins, Costa Mesa
BOYS U14: 1. Ryland Rubens, Pacific Beach; 2. Eithan Osborne, Ventura; 3. John Mel, Newport Beach; 4. Noah Hill, Marina Del Rey
BOYS u14 SEASON CHAMPION: Eithan Osborne, Ventura