Costa Mesa, CA (Tuesday, July 1, 2008) – One month ago, Rip Curl team rider and Kauai representer, Koa Smith celebrated reaching the 5′ mark in height. Today, the 13 year-old renaissance man is walking a little taller.
After coming into the 2008 NSSA Nationals touted the favorite to win the 12/under Open Boys and Explorer Meneheune divisions, young Smith delivered to the hype. After throwing down 9’s and high 8’s the entire event, Koa found himself in the finals of both the aforementioned divisions.
Under the wisdom of coach/Hawaiian legend Ben Aipa, as well as the support of friends and family, Koa drew up a game plan and stuck to it; the ultimate blueprint to National prestige and glory.
Despite some strong opposition, Koa emerged victorious in the Explorer Meneheune division, as he patiently waited for a lined up right-hander in the dying minutes. With a succession of backhand lip blasts, Koa secured the victory, his second career national title, and countless fist bumps from his supporting cast.
Fast forward two hours, and Smith left no doubt to onlookers who is the real under 12 prizefighter in the Open Boys division. Securing the event’s only perfect 10, Smith dropped into a screaming lefthander. Abandoning all precautions, Koa launched into a valiant double grab air straight from the takeoff. Still not satisfied, Smith torqued into a full blown tailslide before bashing the lip two more times for good measure. In a Braveheart-inspired moment of emotion, Koa raised his fist to the crowd’s uproar of applause. Done deal. Meet your new Open Boys National Champion.
Not to stray or let his street cred diminish, young Koa came to the awards banquet donning a new imitation-animal fur coat, resembling a young, regal prince. Inspired by his own vision, his mom Jill worked some magic with the sewing machine to have the lavish coat ready in time for his victory speeches.
“I’m psyched right now,” stated Koa. “I’m humbled to win this event. Just to win one feels amazing, but two?! I don’t know what to do with myself.”
What’s next for the lil fella? A Rip Curl Search trip to Costa Rica to start the “off season” right, followed by a trip to “Somewhere” to check out the Rip Curl Pro Search.
Stay tuned to RipCurl.com for more on Koa and the rest of the Rip Curl team.