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Western Surfing Association: Young Groms Strive For The Future

After taking a bit of a break due to bad weather, the Western Surfing Association got back in action this past weekend.

Having been off since their contest on Dec 3rd and 4th, the aspiring surf stars were back at it.

Back at it with a purpose.

"These kids are surfing WSA in order to qualify for prime which is part of the process for getting to USA champs, " said WSA's Carolyn Krammer. " We are the feeding program. The only way to get to prime on the west coast is to surf WSA or NSSA."

With the ultimate goal of many young surfers to climb the ladder, hundreds descend upon the WSA event sites.

This past weekend, the 6th of 9 events, was completed at the Pier at Huntington Beach (click here for a gallery from this event). Season long standings are starting to come to the fore front as the season gets close to its West Coast Championships in May.

With that said, let's get updated on just how the season standings were heading into this weekend and who helped make their case to continue on to the big prize.

Boys U18

Finalists: Laird Lavik, Trevor Jeffrey, Tommy Granger, Mateo Cadenas, Hamilton Zahn, Tyler Seitz.

15-year-old Laird Lavik, who has won twice this year in the U16 division, got his first championship in the U18.

Lavik took first on two of the three judges' scorecards in the final to edge out Trevor Jeffery, who took the other first place tally. Jeffrey had a second place in the open men's division back in week 2.

This was Laviks first finals in four tries in the U18 division.

Laird Lavik
"The waves changed a lot from the morning when they were on the shore and later started breaking at the end of the pier," Lavik said. " I just tried to adapt to the conditions and my approach to the waves. The afternoon was a little softer and I was able to get on the right waves."

Prior week's champions were Graham Allen, Owen Casey, Timothy Fandey and Chase Merrell. Merrell won back-to-back weeks earlier in the season.

Girls U18

Finalists: Eden Walla, Audrey Denos, Ava Wagester, Ezra McPhillips, Isabelle Kryger, Tava Post

Eden Walla has made a name for herself in California surfing and that shines true in the WSA. This weekend she won her 3rd straight championship in the U18 division. She has also won twice in the U16 group. In fact, last month she won both titles in the same event at Morro Bay.

Eden Walla

"I do these events because they are fun and I want to keep in practice," she said.

Walla had a huge final heat score of 17.80 led by a 9.30 wave score.

Prior week's champions in the division were Audrey Denos, Isabella Kryger and Ezra McPhillips

Boys U16

Finalists: Sean MacDonald, Shane McNulty, Sutton Tudor, Westley Young, Jake Dodson, Charlie Stevens.

Coming off his best finish of the year, a 4th place at Morro Bay, Sean MacDonald did even better than that, and won his first title of the season.

Sean MacDonald

The 15-year-old took the win on two of the three judges' cards.

" Early the break was really low and I was able to connect a few waves " MacDonald said " In the finals, I was going to sit wide because there were some wide ones coming in, but then they stopped breaking so I went a little deeper and caught some. "

Aiden Albada Shane McNulty, Graham Allen and Laird Lavik (twice) have won titles this year.

Girls U16

Finalists; Victoria Duprat, Bailey Turner, Kira Clark, London Meza, Hayden Suess, Shea Sherman

Victoria Duprat

Victoria Duprat won her second title of the season.

She joined Bailey Turner and Eden Walla as two-time winners of the division this year.

Duprat, who surfs out of Encinitas, also has a first and second in the girls U16 division.

She is also coming off a win at the NSSA U16 last month.

Boys U14

Finalists Jaime Veselko, Makai Castle, Lucio Locatelli, Noah Lavik, Kai Thompson, King Nicol

Huntington Beach's Jaime Veselko won the title for the second time in just three attempts this season. After spending a time surfing Pipeline in Hawaii, Veselko retuned last week and won a very competitive final. Keeping track of the opposition worked well for Veselko.

Jaime Veselko

" I do watch the people surfing out there in my heat," he said. "People say that's not a good idea, but If they do a big score and I see a wave out the back, it helps me know what I have to do to get the score I need. It was really fun out there."

Veselko joined Noah Lavik as a two-time winner of the division. Other winners this year have included Makai Castle and Jett Maughan.

Girls U12

Finalists: Ruby Stringfellow, Zoe Panettiere, Teagan Meza, Isla Pinto, Samaira Lizzi, Blossom Depesa

Ruby Stringfellow

Ruby Stringfellow continued her dominance of the division, as she won for the fourth time in six events. In the other two, she finished second.

"Before my heats, I always watch the waves, so I was trying to see where the waves were breaking and during my semis, I had a lot of waves. I was hoping they came through in the final and they did," Stringfellow said.

Boys U12

Finalists: Finn Castle, King Nicol, Owen Rowe, Zion Walla, Wyatt Yount, Moses Hennings

Huntington Beach local Finn Castle won his fourth title of the season in a very stacked heat. Castle won the first three events of the season, then after missing event four, finished third on the last one, losing to Zion Walla.

Finn Castle

This win got him back on track.

"In the higher tide it was breaking on the inside and was a lot quicker and was harder to surf, " Castle said. " In the afternoon it started breaking way outside, so I had to change. I just do my own thing and focus on my surfing and whatever happens, happens "

Girls U10

Finalists: Teagan Sandvig, Harper Olenik, Alana Harp, Snow Parisi, Alexandra Shapiro, Mischa Pacheco

San Clemente's Teagan Sandvig made it four wins in five events on the season with her first-place finish. Harper Olenik has one win and three seconds on the season. Alana Harp finished third. She also has a win on the season.

Boys U10

Finalists: Waylon Brennan, Brock McDonald, Barrett Bishop, Troy Ponteres, Zackery Taylor, Christopher Santana.

Dana Point surfer Waylon Brennan has been a gem of consistency in this division and continued by taking with third win in six events. His three wins go along with his three seconds to show why he is atop the rankings.

Brock McDonald was second for the third time this year. He also has a win so far this season. The other two wins in the division belong to Brett Gregorious.

Micro Grom Boys U9

Finalists: Zackery Taylor, Cash Jonez-Schillmoeller, Jaden Platt, Ray Hennings, Maverick Suess, Sidon Hodgman

Zackery Taylor from San Clemente has had a stranglehold on the division all year and continued this week with his fourth win in six events (he finished second and third in his other two.)

Cash Jonez-Schillmoeller finished second, his fifth second place finish to go along with one championship this year. Ray Hennings, who finished fourth, also has 1 win this year.

Mini Groms U7

Finalists: Maverick Suess, Greyson Burrell, Miles Dornon, Harper Daniels, Shane Lavik, Guy Feher

Vista's Maverick Suess captured his fourth win in six events with a victory in the youngest division.

Suess also has a second-place finish to go along with his 4 wins.

Greyson Burrell had his best finish of the season with his second-place finish and Miles Dornan finished third. Tobias Balderson has two wins on the season.

Boys U18 Longboard

Finalists: Noah Hogle, Shayne Davis, Emiliano Mendez, Lote Harvey, Jake Reisender, Brody Depena.

Noah Hogle

This division that has built a competitive rivalry between Noah Hogle and Slater Todd. In five events, both Hogle and Todd have two wins each, with the other win earned by Shayne Davis.

Todd was not present this week, and Hogle took full advantage.

The 15-year-old placed first on two of the three judges' cards. It was Hogle's second win to go along with two runner-up finishes in his four events.

" I took some extra time to adjust to the waves because I don't surf Huntington that often,' Hogle said. "Prior to the final heat, I watched other surfers (even though they were short boards) to see what was working for them. I made sure to cross step at the same speed that the waves were breaking so it would be a comfortable nose ride."

Hogle finished third the last two years USA surfing National Championships.

Girls u18 Longboard

Finalists: Madelyn Skaar, Stella Landers, Allegra Barzan, Hailey Stephens, Annabelle Tihanyi, Kilinoe Farrow

Madelyn Skaar won her first title of the season.

Skaar came into the event in third place in the standings with two third place finishes.

Sofia Todd leads the division with three titles and Izzay Derenzis and Stella Landers each have one win.

Girls U14 Longboard

Finalists: Elizabeth Carroll, Hailey Stephens, Lena Santoro, Ella Anderson, Aubrey Lange

Elizabeth Carroll from Carlsbad won her 5th title in six events with a strong performance. Hailey Stephens finished second. She has the other win in the division in event number five at San Clemente.

"I got into longboarding because everybody was doing it for SSS (Scholastic Surf Series ) and my middle school coach suggested it. I really like walking the nose and doing fun stuff on it," Carroll said. "The waves for the final were a little crummy out there but I made the most of it."

Boys U14 Longboard

Finalists: Sawyer Southern, Dominick Lomax, Kai Landers

Sawyer Southern took command of a small group of entrants and won his third title of the season. Southern also has two second this year.

Slater Van Bruggen, Chase Matheson and Harvey Nelson also had titles so far this season.

The WSA hit the water again on March 18th with event number seven at Oceanside.

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