Another spectacular NSSA season has come to a conclusion. With glassy conditions in the morning, the wind picked up a bit throughout the day, but the waist to chest high SW swell couldn’t have made for more classic Lowers conditions. From Kolohe Andino being the youngest Men’s Open finalist ever, to Granger Larsen and Nat Young making three finals each, to an Airshow Finals that saw three competitors donning Speedos, the last day of the 30th Nationals packed a ton of punch.
Though the scores stop going live with five minutes left in each heat, and despite the winners not being announced till tomorrow night at the Awards Banquet, here’s a bit of insight into what names could potentially be grabbing some hardware.
The Explorer Jrs. Final saw Hawaiian Granger Larsen throwing down two solid scores, one of which was an 8.5. The 8.5 consisted of a big gash followed by a frontside air, with some cutties tied in, which really showed his composure throughout the heat. USA Surf Team Member Dillon Perillo did throw down a substantial score with an 8.75 in the heat, but really couldn’t pick up another significant score, which he could’ve used.
The Explorer Mens Final started off with a bang, with almost every rider getting a respectable mark within the first five minutes of the heat. Kai Berger was really throwing showcasing his power moves, living up to the comparisons of a young Sunny Garcia. Tyler Newton, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, stuck a frontside alley-oop, but it didn’t seem like it would be enough to overcome Granger Larsen’s fluid bag of tricks, which helped the Hawaiian land a 9.75 in the heat.
In the Explorer Boys Final it was Keanu Asing grabbing an 8.25 and a 7.5 with some big backside hits on lefts that he worked all the way to the beach. But this heat was far from being just Keanu’s, as Ezeikal Lau and Kolohe Andino both produced on waves with a substantial mix of snaps and cutties.
The first 10 of this year’s Nationals at Lowers was thrown down in the Open Boys Final
when Koa Smith landed a whopping frontside boost, followed by what seemed like 10 legit turns, ending with Koa on the beach. But it wasn’t necessarily Koa’s heat entirely, as Luke Hitchcock was really putting on a show, connecting wave after wave all the way to the beach.
Andrew Doheny put together some great waves in the Open Jrs. Final, landing a frontside air reverse, and really stamping his authority on the heat. But Floridians Evan Geiselman and Evan Thompson both finished the heat strong with what will surely be two high scoring waves, so this division could be any of the three’s at this point.
$2,000, a National Title, and a California Governor’s Cup were all up for grabs in the Open Women’s Final. It was pretty much a two-headed heat, with Courtney Conlogue and Sage Erickson putting up big score after big score. Sage’s backhand attack was tearing the tops off almost every left that came through, but Courtney scored a big left herself, as well as the wave of the heat while sticking a closeout re-entry that no one on the beach expected her to land.
And the most coveted, and last final of the day, the Open Mens division, was hands down the most gripping heat on Saturday; with Kolohe Andino, Tanner Hendrickson, Granger Larsen, and Nat Young all battling it out for the $5,000 and a National Title. The heat kicked off quick, and Kolohe thr
ew the fins out numerous times on his first wave, and racked himself two 6.5’s in the heat, as well as a big air reverse on his last wave, the score of which is TBD. Tanner Hendrickson worked two waves all the way to the beach, scoring a 6.75 and a 7.5. Granger Larsen put up huge scores, with two 8.5’s that included a major hook in the pocket, and the other consisting of an airdrop, followed by a frontside air, all finished off with an impressive layback. Though everyone was putting up big numbers in this final, Santa Cruz’s Nat Young stole the show with a poliished backside attack that’s as vertical as they come, putting up a 9.5 and an 8.0.
With that, the 30th NSSA Nationals came to an end, and we’ll just have to wait and see who actually put up the big scores to take home the hardware. Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for full results. – Ryan Brower