Get Ready For The 2003 NSSA Nationals

(June 16) – The National Scholastic Surfing Association will present the 2003 National Championships kicking off with the National Interscholastic Championships and NSSA O’Neill Air Championships June 20-21 at Salt Creek. After a two-day break, the National Championships will recommence with the Open, Explorer and California State Parks Governor’s Cup divisions on June 24-28 at the nation’s supreme surf break Lower Trestles. Over 700 of the nations top surfers from the NSSA’s seven regional conferences-Southwest, Gold Coast, Hawaii, Southeast; Southeast/North, Northeast and Florida Gulf will be competing for the ultimate honor of claiming a National title. The Interscholastic Championships will feature the top ranking colleges, high schools and middle schools competing for team titles. The Open Championships includes the highest level of competition and is the most prestigious of the NSSA competitive divisions. The Open Championships is a student only division, which includes Men’s (16&up), Juniors (13-15), Boys (12 & under), Mini Groms (10 & under), Women’s (all ages) and Longboard (all ages). For the third consecutive year, the California State Parks Governor’s Cup will run in conjunction with the National Open Men’s and Women’s divisions bestowing double prestige and glory for the winners. The Explorer Championships includes competition in a wide range of student and non-student categories. Explorer divisions include Men’s (all ages), Juniors (15-17), Boys (13-14), Menehuene (12&under), Women’s (all ages), Masters (25&up), Seniors (35&up), Super Seniors (45&up), Longboard (all ages) and Bodyboard (all ages). The NSSA O’Neill Air Championships will feature the top 18 rated aerialists from the three 2003 NSSA regional championships-the NSSA Easterns, Hawaii and Western Championships. Over 800 participants are slated to compete in the 2003 NSSA National Championships. The National Championship Awards Banquet will be held on Sunday, June 29 at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point. People may purchase tickets at the National Championship event.

THE NATIONAL OPEN MENS DIVISION
We thought 1994 was exciting when Kalani Robb and Tim Curran would battle it out just to see Kalani clinch back-to-back Open titles: an achievement still unsurpassed. We thought nothing could top 1996 when Andy Irons put on a dynamic display winning every heat-a perfect performance that people are still talking about to this day. The following year, not to be outdone by his big brother, Bruce took the gold but not without a fight from the Hobgood twins. In 1999 it was the great Martinez-Patacchia rivalry with Fred taking charge storming to both the Open and Explorer titles. 2001 was twice as nice for Trestles local Greg Long who claimed double honors-the Open Men’s crown and the Governor’s Cup award. And then 2002-the ultra consistent ripping of Dustin Cuizon and the mind-blowing moves of Dane Reynolds! Dustin walked away with two titles and a brand new Toyota Tacoma. Runner up Dane walked away with a giant reputation and a Surfing Magazine cover shot. Dustin and Dane will be back along with three other fired up competitors from last year’s final Andrew Gahan, Kekoa Bacalso and Jeremy Johnston plus may other top level talents going for youth surfing’s ultimate prize. The action is going to be huge!

WHO’S HOT!
DUSTIN CUIZON: 18 years old from Ewa Beach, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Five-time National Champion; defending Open Men’s and Explorer Juniors Champion.
WHAT’S UP: We’re all waiting with bated breath to see if Dustin can elevate last year’s performance. Number one: Can he pull off consecutive back to back titles-a feat accomplished only once in 25 years by Kalani Robb in 1993 and 1994? Number two: Will he snap the seven National title record held by Bobby Martinez? If Dustin is “BUSTIN” he could clean up and sweep the High School Men’s title for Campbell High School, the Open Men’s and Explorer Junior which would bring his title count to eight. Plus he could add another Toyota truck to his proceeds.
DANE REYNOLDS: 17 years old from Ventura, California
CLAIM TO FAME: Five time Western Regional Champion; 2003 Western Open Men’s Champion
WHAT’S UP: Dane blew up at Lowers last year with an electrifying performance that had the crowd to their feet and cheers heard all the way to Uppers. With the breathtaking moves, he still came up second best to the ultra consistent Cuizon. Dane is currently recognized by many as the top teenage talent in America and one of the best young surfers in the world. However, he has never won at the Nationals, although he came mighty close last year. This time, Dane has an excellent chance to take it to the top.
BRIAN TOTH: 18 years old from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
CLAIM TO FAME: Cleaned house at the 2003 NSSA Easterns winning three titles in Open and Explorer Men’s and Explorer Juniors.
WHAT’S UP: They have a nickname for Brian on the East Coast “The Freakin Rican”. That’s because what Brian pulled off at this year’s Easterns was freakin’ insane. He’s perhaps the best young competitor to come out of the island commonwealth so what’s to stop him from delivering an encore performance at the Nationals.
OLA ELEOGRAM: 17 years old from Hana, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Burst onto the scene this year winning the NSSA Hawaii season opener and then claiming his first championship titles in the Open Men’s and Airshow at the 2003 Hawaii Regional Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Can Ola become the first surfer from Maui to score the National Open Men’s crown? He’s got a solid shot and what’s even better is the 2003 NSSA Hawaii “Sportsman of the Year” will do it with a smile.
PATRICK GUDAUSKAS: 17 years old from San Clemente, California
CLAIM TO FAME: Besides winning the State High School Men’s, the Explorer Juniors and the Airshow at the 2003 Westerns, the NSSA was just as excited when Pat nearly pulled that front flip at an O-SMAS event.
WHAT’S UP: Fly Patrick fly-high up in the sky! The defending National Air Champion will be going huge on and over the lip. Patrick’s already got three National titles to his credit and he has continued to rack up title after title in Regional Championship events. He’s got a three-year streak going for National titles and competing in four championship divisions this year, the odds are excellent to keep that streak alive. He could even tie Bobby Martinez’ record if he sweeps the Interscholastic, Airshow, Open Men’s and Explorer Juniors.
JEREMY JOHNSTON: 16 years old from New Smyrna Beach, Florida
CLAIM TO FAME: 2002 National Open Juniors Champion; 2003 Southeast/North Open and Explorer Men’s and Explorer Juniors Champion.
WHAT’S UP: The Florida standout from the “other” inlet will be motivated to put on an even hotter performance than the one last year that earned him National honors. This tough and talented NSB boy will tear down the Lowers walls on his quest for the Open Men’s title. Kalani Robb came off his Junior title and won the Men’s. If Kalani can do it, Jeremy can do it!
KEKOA BACALSO: 17 years old from Mililani, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Finalist in both the Open Men’s and Explorer Juniors divisions at the 2002 Nationals.
WHAT’S UP: Kekoa is looking for his first trip to the winner’s circle since claiming the Open Boys title in 1997. After a six-year drought, this is one Hawaiian who’ll be in hot pursuit.
BRETT SIMPSON: 18 years old from Garden Grove, California
CLAIM TO FAME: Pulled off the best move of the entire 2003 Western Championships in the Air division when he boosted a huge backside air 360
WHAT’S UP: Brett hasn’t won a National title yet, he hasn’t even made a National final yet, but he’s got the stellar moves to blaze a path to the winner’s circle. His explosive tail drifting turns and aerial mastery are first-rate in this league.
ALEX GRAY: 17 years old from Palos Verdes, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2002 Southwest Explorer Juniors Champion and double finalist at the 2002 Western Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Alex has improved his skills both in the surf and on the turf. True, this is Alex’ rookie year in the Open Men’s division and yes, it’s a fact that he will have to deal with the likes of Cuizon, Reynolds, Gudauskas and Simpson. But as fearless Alex would say with a cool, confident grin, “bring it on!” Alex will also be performing on stage as a guest speaker at the 2003 National Awards Banquet.
NATHAN CARROLL: 18 years old from Haleiwa, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Bagged his second consecutive victory in the Explorer Juniors division at the 2003 Hawaii Regional Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Nathan wants to win: he wants it bad. The big kid who uses Sunset Beach as a training ground has heaps of power. A big swell forecasted for the first few days of the Nationals should be right up Nathan’s power alley. He will be the most serious, the most driven competitor at Lowers but not before we watch him soar at the National Air Championships at the Creek.
ANDREW GAHAN: 18 years old from San Clemente, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2003 Southwest Open Men’s Champion; three division National finalist in 2003 including the victory in the High School Men’s. Two-division finalist at the 2003 Western Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Can the No. 1 seed from the Southwest Conference match up to the heavy hitting Cuizon and Reynolds? He’s got the experience and the power so if Lowers is firing, Andrew will turn up the heat.
TRAVIS MELLEM: 18 years old from San Clemente, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2000 National Open Juniors Champion; 2002 Southwest Open Men’s Champion.
WHAT’S UP: Can the former National Open Junior Champion match his dynamic display of 2000. A nagging foot fracture destroyed his chances last year and then another re-fracture sidelined him for the close of the 2003 season and the Western Championships. If the foot is healthy, look for Travis to put the pedal to the medal and prove that 2000 was no stroke of luck.
TJ BARRON: 17 years old from Haliewa, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Two-time finalist at the 2003 Hawaii Regional Championships and No. 1 ranked in the Hawaii Explorer Juniors division
WHAT’S UP: TJ has grown up with the NSSA. He’s been coming to NSSA events since he was seven years old watching his brother Tory and then getting into the contests himself when he was nine. In 1996, he placed second to Michael Taras in the first ever National Mini Grom final along with Raymond Reichle and pro skater Tosh Townend. Since then he went on to claim two National titles-the Open Boys in 1999 and the Explorer Boys in 2001.
THE NATIONAL OPEN WOMENS DIVISION
The field of competitors in this year’s Open Women’s division is the strongest in years. Defending National Open Women’s and Governor’s Cup Champion Karina Petroni will go for broke and the odds are in her favor. She recently dominated both the Open and Explorer Women’s divisions at the NSSA Easterns so look for her to put on a commanding performance at Lowers. From the west coast, Southwest Champion Erica Hosseini claimed both the Open and Explorer titles at this year’s Westerns. Defending National Explorer Women’s Champion and Open Women’s runner up Leilani Gryde wants to score both gold medals this year but she’ll have to deal with Hawaii Regional Open Women’s Champion Tory Titcomb and regular season champ Lani Hunter.

THE NATIONAL INTERSCHOLASTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
The action will be non stop at the Interscholastic Championships where the defending champion San Clemente High School will go for their fifth National title. The Tritons entered two strong qualifying teams so they even have a crack at repeating their State performance by going one-two at the Nationals. San Clemente’s team depth is top-notch with four team members finishing at tyears old from Palos Verdes, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2002 Southwest Explorer Juniors Champion and double finalist at the 2002 Western Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Alex has improved his skills both in the surf and on the turf. True, this is Alex’ rookie year in the Open Men’s division and yes, it’s a fact that he will have to deal with the likes of Cuizon, Reynolds, Gudauskas and Simpson. But as fearless Alex would say with a cool, confident grin, “bring it on!” Alex will also be performing on stage as a guest speaker at the 2003 National Awards Banquet.
NATHAN CARROLL: 18 years old from Haleiwa, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Bagged his second consecutive victory in the Explorer Juniors division at the 2003 Hawaii Regional Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Nathan wants to win: he wants it bad. The big kid who uses Sunset Beach as a training ground has heaps of power. A big swell forecasted for the first few days of the Nationals should be right up Nathan’s power alley. He will be the most serious, the most driven competitor at Lowers but not before we watch him soar at the National Air Championships at the Creek.
ANDREW GAHAN: 18 years old from San Clemente, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2003 Southwest Open Men’s Champion; three division National finalist in 2003 including the victory in the High School Men’s. Two-division finalist at the 2003 Western Championships.
WHAT’S UP: Can the No. 1 seed from the Southwest Conference match up to the heavy hitting Cuizon and Reynolds? He’s got the experience and the power so if Lowers is firing, Andrew will turn up the heat.
TRAVIS MELLEM: 18 years old from San Clemente, California
CLAIM TO FAME: 2000 National Open Juniors Champion; 2002 Southwest Open Men’s Champion.
WHAT’S UP: Can the former National Open Junior Champion match his dynamic display of 2000. A nagging foot fracture destroyed his chances last year and then another re-fracture sidelined him for the close of the 2003 season and the Western Championships. If the foot is healthy, look for Travis to put the pedal to the medal and prove that 2000 was no stroke of luck.
TJ BARRON: 17 years old from Haliewa, Hawaii
CLAIM TO FAME: Two-time finalist at the 2003 Hawaii Regional Championships and No. 1 ranked in the Hawaii Explorer Juniors division
WHAT’S UP: TJ has grown up with the NSSA. He’s been coming to NSSA events since he was seven years old watching his brother Tory and then getting into the contests himself when he was nine. In 1996, he placed second to Michael Taras in the first ever National Mini Grom final along with Raymond Reichle and pro skater Tosh Townend. Since then he went on to claim two National titles-the Open Boys in 1999 and the Explorer Boys in 2001.
THE NATIONAL OPEN WOMENS DIVISION
The field of competitors in this year’s Open Women’s division is the strongest in years. Defending National Open Women’s and Governor’s Cup Champion Karina Petroni will go for broke and the odds are in her favor. She recently dominated both the Open and Explorer Women’s divisions at the NSSA Easterns so look for her to put on a commanding performance at Lowers. From the west coast, Southwest Champion Erica Hosseini claimed both the Open and Explorer titles at this year’s Westerns. Defending National Explorer Women’s Champion and Open Women’s runner up Leilani Gryde wants to score both gold medals this year but she’ll have to deal with Hawaii Regional Open Women’s Champion Tory Titcomb and regular season champ Lani Hunter.

THE NATIONAL INTERSCHOLASTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
The action will be non stop at the Interscholastic Championships where the defending champion San Clemente High School will go for their fifth National title. The Tritons entered two strong qualifying teams so they even have a crack at repeating their State performance by going one-two at the Nationals. San Clemente’s team depth is top-notch with four team members finishing at the top of the Southwest Open Men’s ratings-Andrew Gahan, Travis Mellem and Patrick and Dane Gudauskas. Seventeen time National Champion Huntington Beach will make an all out effort to give the Tritons a heated battle fueled by super talented Brett Simpson, Kory LaPoint and Chris Waring. New Smyrna Beach High School could end up attracting National headlines based on their outstanding line-up. Jeremy Johnston swept three divisions this year in the Southeast/North Conference regular season-Open and Explorer Men’s and Explorer Juniors while his three teammates Devon Tresher, Nils Schweizer and Chad Erickson also finished in the Open Men’s top ten. In addition, the spotlight will be on five time National Champion Dustin Cuizon when he paddles into the line-up competing for Campbell High School. Sixteen teams will compete in the National Interscholastic Championships including San Clemente (2 teams), Huntington Beach, San Dieguito (2 teams), Carlsbad, Edison, Vista, Point Loma, Marina, Torrey Pines, New Smyrna Beach, Melbourne, Campbell, King Kekaulike and Kalaheo. The Collegiate Championships will feature a much-improved UCSD who enjoyed a breakthrough year while claiming the State title. They will gun for their first National title in six years. Defending and nine-time National Champion UC Santa Barbara, 2001 National Champion Long Beach State, 2003 Southwest Conference Champion Mira Costa, San Diego State, USD, Cal State San Marcos and Eastern Collegiate Champion University of Central Florida will all be contenders for title honors. In addition, UCSD, Mira Costa and UCSB have fielded two qualifying teams in the competition. In the National Middle School Championships, Shorecliffs out of San Clemente has taken control for the past three years but that could change, as 2003 State Champion and cross-town rival Bernice Ayer will be in hot pursuit of their first ever-National crown. Also in the hunt for the Middle School title is three-time National Champion Dwyer, two time National Champion Sowers, Cabrillo who has NSSA record holder Cory Arrambide competing for them, Oak Crest and Kapolei. Both Shorecliffs and Bernice Ayer will have two qualifying teams in the competition.

THE NSSA O’NEILL NATIONAL AIR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eighteen of the NSSA’s top-flight aerialist will utilize the steep ramps of “The Creek” as their launch pad chasing the highest youth aerial award in the nation along with $10,000.00 worth of scholarships. The top six west coasters, top six east coasters and top six Hawaiians will be set for departure when the NSSA O’Neill National Air Championships blasts off with the quarterfinals on Friday, June 20 at 3:30 pm. The Air Championship semis and finals will take place on Saturday, June 21.

The 2003 National Interscholastic Championships competition June 20-21 will start at 6:30 a.m. each day. All finals will be held on Saturday, June 21. The 2003 National Air Championships first round will begin on Friday, June 20 with the final on Saturday June 21. The 2003 National Explorer Championships will begin on Tuesday June 24. The 2003 National Open Championships and California State Parks Governor’s Cup will begin on Thursday June 26. All finals will be held on Saturday, June 28. For a complete order of events please go to the NSSA website at nssa.org and click on “heat times.”
Further information:Janice Aragon, NSSA Executive Director(714) 536-0445
jaragon@nssa.org
at the top of the Southwest Open Men’s ratings-Andrew Gahan, Travis Mellem and Patrick and Dane Gudauskas. Seventeen time National Champion Huntington Beach will make an all out effort to give the Tritons a heated battle fueled by super talented Brett Simpson, Kory LaPoint and Chris Waring. New Smyrna Beach High School could end up attracting National headlines based on their outstanding line-up. Jeremy Johnston swept three divisions this year in the Southeast/North Conference regular season-Open and Explorer Men”s and Explorer Juniors while his three teammates Devon Tresher, Nils Schweizer and Chad Erickson also finished in the Open Men’s top ten. In addition, the spotlight will be on five time National Champion Dustin Cuizon when he paddles into the line-up competing for Campbell High School. Sixteen teams will compete in the National Interscholastic Championships including San Clemente (2 teams), Huntington Beach, San Dieguito (2 teams), Carlsbad, Edison, Vista, Point Loma, Marina, Torrey Pines, New Smyrna Beach, Melbourne, Campbell, King Kekaulike and Kalaheo. The Collegiate Championships will feature a much-improved UCSD who enjoyed a breakthrough year while claiming the State title. They will gun for their first National title in six years. Defending and nine-time National Champion UC Santa Barbara, 2001 National Champion Long Beach State, 2003 Southwest Conference Champion Mira Costa, San Diego State, USD, Cal State San Marcos and Eastern Collegiate Champion University of Central Florida will all be contenders for title honors. In addition, UCSD, Mira Costa and UCSB have fielded two qualifying teams in the competition. In the National Middle School Championships, Shorecliffs out of San Clemente has taken control for the past three years but that could change, as 2003 State Champion and cross-town rival Bernice Ayer will be in hot pursuit of their first ever-National crown. Also in the hunt for the Middle School title is three-time National Champion Dwyer, two time National Champion Sowers, Cabrillo who has NSSA record holder Cory Arrambide competing for them, Oak Crest and Kapolei. Both Shorecliffs and Bernice Ayer will have two qualifying teams in the competition.

THE NSSA O’NEILL NATIONAL AIR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eighteen of the NSSA’s top-flight aerialist will utilize the steep ramps of “The Creek” as their launch pad chasing the highest youth aerial award in the nation along with $10,000.00 worth of scholarships. The top six west coasters, top six east coasters and top six Hawaiians will be set for departure when the NSSA O’Neill National Air Championships blasts off with the quarterfinals on Friday, June 20 at 3:30 pm. The Air Championship semis and finals will take place on Saturday, June 21.

The 2003 National Interscholastic Championships competition June 20-21 will start at 6:30 a.m. each day. All finals will be held on Saturday, June 21. The 2003 National Air Championships first round will begin on Friday, June 20 with the final on Saturday June 21. The 2003 National Explorer Championships will begin on Tuesday June 24. The 2003 National Open Championships and California State Parks Governor’s Cup will begin on Thursday June 26. All finals will be held on Saturday, June 28. For a complete order of events please go to the NSSA website at nssa.org and click on “heat times.”
Further information:Janice Aragon, NSSA Executive Director(714) 536-0445
jaragon@nssa.org