By Matt Cortina
Surfers from San Clemente and Dana Point finished with high marks at the National Scholastic Surfing Association West Coast Championships at Huntington Beach Pier on May 19-22.
Solid 6- to 8-foot swells delivered pumping surf to the championships on the first two days of the event. Though the swell diminished by the end of the competition, surfers were marveling over the ability for the waves to seemingly turn on at championship time every year.
San Clemente surfers had an exceptional showing at the regional championships. Kade Matson won in the Open Juniors, and finished second in Open Mens. He was named the Day One Performer of the Day; had the highest scoring total with a 18.83 out of 20 in the Explorer Boys Round One Competition; and had the highest scoring wave with a perfect-10 in the same event. Watson finished sixth in Explorer Juniors and fourth in Explorer Boys.
Meanwhile, San Clemente’s Kirra Pinkerton took home Day Two Performer of the Day honors. Over the course of the weekend, she logged the highest scoring wave in any final event, with a 9.67 in the Open Womens Finals. That wave played a part en route to her taking the highest scoring total in the finals, with an 18 out of 20 in the Open Womens Final, which subsequently gave her the trophy in that category. Pinkerton also took first place in the Open Girls competition.
San Clemente’s dominance was affirmed when Jett Schilling was named the Performer of the Day on Day Three. Schilling took first place in the Open Boys competition.
Samantha Sibley, of (of course) San Clemente, had a busy weekend herself—she took first place in Explorer Womens, second place in Explorer Girls, and fourth place in Open Girls.
And rounding out San Clemente’s sterling performances was Crosby Colapinto, who took first in the Junior Airshow Championships and second place in Open Juniors; and Taj Lindblad, who took first place in the Explorer Menehuene competition. Other San Clemente top finishers were Cole Houshmand (third place in Open Juniors), Nico Coli (fourth place in Open Boys), Dane Matson (second place in Open Mini Groms and fourth place in Explorer Menehuene and Explorer Mini Groms), and Sawyer Lindblad (fourth place in Explorer Super Girls)
Not to be outshone, however, Dana Point’s standout surfer Bethany Zelasko brought in terrific results over the weekend. Zelasko took second place in Open Womens and second place in Explorer Womens.
Next up for the champion groms is the NSSA National Interscholastic College, High School and Middle School Championships from June 11-13 at Salt Creek in Dana Point. The national airshow, explorer and open championships will be held at the end of June at the Huntington Beach Pier.