The 2022-2023 National Scholastic Surfing Association kicked off its Southwest season this past weekend with stop number one at Ventura Harbor.
With a lineup that had past national champions scattered through some divisions, the heavy winds and up and down waves provided some challenging conditions, but finals day had some exciting finishes and the highest score of the event. Let's get started with how it went down.
Finalists: Dane Matson , Titus Santucci , Dash Pinegar , Ben Brantell
Dane Matson, who proved his liking for the Ventura area, won his second straight season opener at the Harbor.
He put together a solid final with a high wave score of 6.67 and ended with a heat total of 12.40. He got into the final by posting an 8.93 wave in round two. Matson trailed early in the final when Titus Santucci posted a 7.00 on his opening wave. But once Matson took the lead, they could not catch him.
Santucci, who scored a 11.20 in the final, had a huge weekend. He finished first in all 4 of his heats including a 17.17 quarter final heat highlighted by a 9.00 wave.
Finalists: Lisa Boos, Hana Johnson, Ava Wagester, Sara Freyre
Lisa Boos started slow but finished fast to capture the title.
After a couple small opening scores, she slashed her way to a 6.60 and later hit a 5.10 to nail down the win.
Hana Johnson put up a 5.50 on her opening wave and later added a 4.17. Johnson had won both of her earlier heats to advance to the final
Boos championship heat total of 11.70 was her highest of the event.
OPEN JUNIORS (u16)
Finalists: Lucas Senkbeil-Cassity , Alejandro Bernales, Eeli Timperi , Dane Libby
Lucas Senkbeil-Cassity, last year's National Champion in the Boys 14 and under division, picked up right where he left off.
In a very competitive group that saw a couple different leaders throughout the heat, Senkbeil pulled off a 9.10 score as he slashed his way down the coast to take the lead from Alejandro Bernales.
Bernales, a multiple champion in Peru, had the lead midway thru with a 6.57 score but had to settle for second place.
OPEN GIRLS (u16)
Finalists: Shea Sherman, Marlo Leigh Harris, Victoria Duprat, Hana Bakker
Shea Sherman took down the title with a 13.53 championship heat total. She caught back-to-back waves that gave her scores of 8.00 and 5.53 to hold off Marlo Leigh Harris.
Harris was consistant all day and her 6.50 and 6.77 wave totals in the final gave her second place with a 13.27
Gwyneth Lyon, surfing in her first NSSA event had the high score of the division with a 9.17/15.00 in the opening round.
OPEN BOYS (u14)
Finalists: Oliver Rowe, Tanner Sandvig, Makai Castle, Brody Buck
Oliver Rowe took the championship on the strength off a 14.33 heat total that included wave totals of 8.00 and 6.33. He held a big lead, but had to survive a late charge by Tanner
Sandvig ripped his way to the highest wave score of the weekend when he posted a 9.23 on his final wave but it was not quite enough to catch Rowe.
Rowe's 14.33 was just higher than the 13.83 that Sandvig posted.
OPEN SUPER GIRLS (u14)
Finalists: Zoey Kaina, Brynley Beckman, Kaia Howard, Maxima Resano
Zoey Kaina, last year's National Champion in the 12 and under division, took the season opener in the Super Girls.
Kaina put up a great score of 16.00 in a top performance.
She had wave score of 8.50 and 7.50 and was comfortably ahead of second place Brynley Beckman's total of 9.74.
Beckman got scored on 10 waves in the final.
OPEN MINI GROMS (u12)
Finalists: Wyatt Yount, Finn Castle, Luciano Locatelli, Cruz Freyre
Wyatt Yount, under 10 National Champion of 2021, started off the new season with a 13.77 championship heat total, narrowly beating out Finn Castle who battled hard to a 13.76 total.
Yount's second wave produced a 6.50 score, then he put it away with a 7.27 score on his next wave.
Castle battled hard all day, getting heat totals of 14.50 in the quarterfinal and 15.17 in the semifinal.
OPEN MINI GROMS GIRLS (u12)
Finalists: Teagan Meza, Ruby Stringfellow, Zoe Panettiere, Peeta Kenworthy
Teagan Meza put up a 9.00 wave score early in her championship round and her heat total of 15.83 was good enough to take the title.
Close behind was Ruby Stringfellow, who battled hard with scores of 8.17 and 4.17 but was second best.
Stringfellow and Peeta Kenworthy won their semifinal heats leading up to the final.
OPEN BOYS (u10)
Finalists: Cruz Freyre, Waylon Brennan, Alex Poulos, Cash Schillmoeller
Cruz Freyre took down his first NSSA title with a 10.90 championship heat total. Cruz pulled down a 7.17 wave in his third scoring wave of the final. He also won his semi-final match up leading into the final.
Waylon Brennan was second best with a 10.77 on the strength of a 5.77 high wave score. Waylon also won his semifinal heat.