Buoyed by a rough winter of weather and lack of swell, the USA Surfing Prime West series has had an unfortunate series of postponements in the 2022-23 season.
Both events scheduled for the Santa Cruz area had to be cancelled and one attempt to compete in San Clemente also found its obstacles to be too tough.
However, this past weekend the surfing conditions finally gave the opportunity to get back in the water and the fourth and final contest was able to be completed at T Street in San Clemente.
With many surfers attempting to qualify for USA surfing championships at Lower Trestles in one month, the action was hot and heavy. Let's to beachside and see who stood tallest at the events completion.
SANDVIG WINS FIRST TITLE
San Clemente Grom Tanner Sandvig has been making his name known in surfing circles the past year and this week was no exception.
The 13-year-old won his first USA Prime title by outlasting three other fierce competitors in a division that featured huge performances from start to finish.
Sandvig, who had a second-place finish back in the first event of the season, saved his best for last in this one, when his final two scoring waves came in at 7.50 and 8.50 to put a combination lead on the field.
His 16.00 heat score topped runner-up Jett Maughan, who finished off his heat with an 8.13 and a 13.56 total score.
“I’m super stoked to see Tanner get his first win in the Prime series. That’s a great feeling for any junior surfer knowing that you're competing at the top level of the sport on the national level and then to get the win, it's huge," said his coach Erik Krammer of International Surf Services.
" Tanner works so hard like all the kids, but his competitive dynamic is more consistent than almost any grom I’ve coached within the past 15 years. That's quite amazing, especially with such a talented U14 field. He surfs hard and trains hard every day. He's constantly looking to make himself a better person and a better athlete."
Sandvig battled through some very tough qualifying rounds to make the finals with big scores coming early on from Maughan (15.67), Bodhi Aguilar (15.40), Zion Walla, (14.40), Makai Castle (13.46) and Westley Young (12.93).
TIMPERI CONTINUES HOT STREAK
To say Eeli Timperi has been on a roll lately would be an understatement.
Coming off of a two title win the week before in the NSSA Southwest open, Timperi continued to shred the water and take his first U16 title of the season in the USA Prime.
Timperi came into the event 4th seeded on the season based on his 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishes during the first three events.
This time he wouldn't settle for anything less than the title.
Timperi began the final with an 8.83 and followed that up with a 7.50 to take a commanding lead. Nobody could make inroads on the lead, and he won by putting all three competitors in a combo situation.
To get to the final Timperi put up a 14.00 in the semis, a 14.83 in the quarterfinals and a 12.80 in his opening round.
Runner up Lucas Cassity could only muster at 11.93 in the finals, but later went on to win the U18 shortly after.
In the qualifying rounds, many surfers put up big numbers. Quaid Fahrion had 15.34, Rex Hennings put up a 15.50. Lucas Cassity had the high score of the event in round two of the U16 qualifying, when he put up a perfect 10.00 in an 18.77 heat.
CASSITY EARNS FIRST U18 WIN OF THE SEASON
Lucas Cassity is one of those rare talents that not only competes in two divisions but is a threat to win each and every time he gets in the water.
Already having two wins this season in the U16 division, the 14-year-old broke through in the older division in dramatic fashion.
Needing a big score in the final minutes, he ripped an 8.83 ride to catch leader Dash Pinegar and win with a heat total of 13.83. Pinegar, who had taken the lead not long before that, also had a 13.83 but Cassity got the title on a highest wave tie breaker.
Cassity put up heat scores of 15.50 in the semis, 16.50 in the quarters and 17.24 in his opening round.
His win came just 20 minutes after a second-place finish in the boys U16.
Cassity came into the event the 10th seed through three events this year with finishes of 5th-17th-5th in the U18's.
OLIVIA STORRER STARTS FAST TO CLAIM WIN
The only final to be run on the first day of the event was claimed by the younger sister in the Storrer family, a weekend that would be huge for the sisters from Santa Cruz.
Coming into the event as the 10th seed on the season and a best finish of the 5th, Storrer started off the final heat fast, with a 6.17 and a 6.63 to take a lead.
She only caught three waves in the final, but those two scores were good enough to give her the win.
Mia McLeish tried valiantly to catch the leader, surfing a total of nine waves with her last being a 5.37. It was her best, but only got her into second place with a 10.37 total. Storrer sat safely atop with a 12.80 score.
Earlier in the qualifying there were some big numbers put up by the finalists.
McLeish put up the highest number of the division in round two, when she parlayed an 8.67 into a 16.50 heat total.
Reid VanWagoner put up a big number in round one, when she had a 6.67 wave and a 14.57 heat score.
Storrer advanced through the quarterfinals and semifinals with second place finishes but turned up her game when she hit the final Heat.
MADDIE STORRER WINS FIRST USA CHAMPIONSHIP
Northen California's Maddie Storrer not only made her first USA Prime final, but she won it. It came one day after her younger sister took the U16 division making it a happy weekend for the family.
The 7th seed on the season, Storrer put up wave scores of 7.67 and 7.93 for a heat total of 15.60 as she held off a late bid by Talia Swindal.
The later dropped her two highest scores of the heat on her final two of attempts 6.43 and 6.70 but fell short with 13.13 score.
Storrer's best finish earlier in the season was a fifth-place result at Huntington Beach.
Through the qualifying, Storrer put up scores of 12.16 in the semifinals and 13.27 in the quarters.
Other high scores in the qualifying belonged to Eden Walla (15.67), Talia Swindal (14.67) and Addison McPhillips (12.26)