It was a long time coming for Hawaii's Luke Tema, but the 16-year-old finally got what he was trying to accomplish.
Tema outlasted a tough Kai Kushner to capture the U16 NSSA National Championship with a heat total of 12.36.
The Hawaiian surfer pulled out a 7.43 on his last scoring wave to seal the victory
"I've had two runner ups, a 3rd and three 4ths so it means a lot to win," Tema said. " Through-out the week i was practicing in all conditions, small and big surf and good waves and junk waves. I think that helped."
Tema pulled off his best scoring heat in the quarterfinals, riding the success of a 7.43 and a 7.20 to a 14.63 heat total. He entered the finals after a semifinal score of 14.07.
Tema has always been a surfer that was on the brink of a break-through and this could have been it for him. He made the most of his California visit. Besides his win, he finished 4th in both the Explorer Jrs. and Explorer U17 as well the men's open division.
This past weekend. Tema captured the championship in the Ripcurl Grom Search in Hawaii and will be headed to the finals in December in the 16 under division where he joins Lucas Senkbeil-Cassity, the qualifier from the Huntington Beach event.