After nearly a 2-month break in the schedule, the National Scholastic Surfing Association got back to action this weekend at the pier in Huntington Beach.
Although darkness caused some division finals to be put off until the next event, the divisions that were completed saw some familiar names stand tall.
One new name that emerged victorious was Finn Murphy in the U16 Boys division.
The 15-year-old from Chicago hadn't competed in an NSSA tournament since 2020 when he did four events. Since then, he has been splitting time between his Malibu home and Indonesia, where he spends 6 months of the year going to school.
"It's super fun to be able to split time and have new experiences at both places," Murphy said. "I was in town and wanted to do this one mostly just to have fun. I love competing so I was stoked at the opportunity to surf a few heats and hang out with friends."
Murphy made the most of the weekend by advancing through the U16 division, winning his first round with a heat total of 14.50 with scores of 7.33 and 7.14. With changing conditions affecting the later heats, he did enough to survive through the next three rounds all the way to the finals, when he once again took control.
Once in the final, he seized the heat after an early battle with Eeli Timperi by taking control with a 7.00. He never looked back posting a 12.83 heat score to hold off Hans Odriozola who fell just short with a 11.56.
Besides surfing with the Northern LA Board Riders here and the Pererenan Board Riders in Bali, Murphy plans to make this year one to remember.
"In 2023, I want to travel to some new places and just make some fun memories," he said. "Mainly I want to keep surfing new waves and pushing myself and have fun in the ocean."
FINAL U16 RESULTS
FINN MURPHY 12.83, HANS ODRIOZOLA 11.56, EELI TIMPERI 11.47, DYLAN SLOAN 8.73
SENKBEIL TAKES MENS OPEN TITLE
Lucas Senkbeil-Cassity won his second Southwest Men's Open title in a very competitive final.
Cassity opened the scoring in the final heat with a 7.33 and with Titus Santucci (6.40) and Hans Odriozola (6.00) on his tail, put it away with a 7.53 for a 14.86 total.
Earlier, he put up an 8.83 wave in round 2 in a 15.16 heat score.
Santucci continued his run of success with a second-place finish. He has finished first or second in 5 of the 6 events so far this year.
FINAL MENS OPEN RESULTS
SENKBEIL-CASSITY 14.86, TITUS SANTUCCI 14.23, HANS ODRIOZOLA 14.10, EELI TIMPERI 5.83
FREYRE TAKES 3RD STRAIGHT WOMENS OPEN TITLE
Just back from her trip to Australia, Sara Freyre led wire to wire and was in championship form.
She not only won all three of her heats, but she also put-up good scores throughout.
In round 1, she easily topped the heat that only had six waves scored, with a 6.50 high wave (11.00 heat score) and then put up a 6.00 (11.73) score in the semifinals.
Once in the final heat, she saved her best for last with a 7.83 wave in a 14.20 heat score. In all three of her heats, the second-place surfer needed better than a 7.3 score to catch her.
Ava Wagester was the runner up with a 9.66 final heat score.
FINAL WOMENS OPEN RESULTS
SARA FREYRE 14.20, AVA WAGESTER 9.66, MIA MOORE 9.16, MARA MORALES 7.50
DUPRAT TAKES FIRST TITLE OF THE SEASON
Victoria Duprat, stepped up from her U14 division and the result was her first title of the season.
The 13-year-old Encinitas surfer had a battle with runner-up Marlo Harris all day in the U16 girls group.
The two met up three times, splitting results the first two heats, while the finals match turned out to be decider.
Duprat nailed down the victory late, dropping a huge 8.33 on her final wave to get the win. Harris had earlier scored a 6.33 wave to take the lead.
Harris also made the final in the U14 Super Girl Division, thanks to her huge 8.67 wave score in that division's semifinal.
FINAL U16 GIRLS RESULTS
VICTORIA DUPRAT 13.33, MARLO LEIGH HARRIS 10.83, GWYNTEH LYON 5.44, HAA BAKKER 3.67
CASTLE HOT STREAK CLAIMS ANOTHER TITLE
Makai Castle has had a great season so far and it continued this week. After taking a first and second last week in the Northwest Explorer event in Santa Cruz, he took his first title of the Southwest season tour Sunday.
Castle came in second in all three of his heats to advance to the final but came in first when it counted the most.
He nailed waves of 5.00 and 6.67 in his first two scores of the final, and his 11.67 total held up for the win. Runner-up Jamie Veselko caught nine waves in the final but could only manage a 11.03 heat total.
Veselko did however have a 16.43 heat total in round 2 with scores of 8.33 and 8.10.
FINAL U14 BOYS RESULTS
MAKAI CASTLE 11.67, JAMIE VESELKO 11.03, BODHI AGUILAR 8.40, BRODIE BUCK 6.20
Next up is stop # 7 on March 11 and 12 at Huntington Beach.