30th NSSA Nationals Produces Big Time At Lowers; Nat Young Takes Coveted Open Mens Title

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 Larson 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.

The Explorer Juniors Final saw Hawaiian Granger Larson 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. Ultimately, Granger’s authority in this heat went unmatched, giving him the victory.

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 Barger was really throwing showcasing his power moves, living up to the comparisons of a young Sunny Garcia, and finished second with the second year in a row. Tyler Newton, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, stuck a frontside alley-oop, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Granger Larson’s fluid bag of tricks, which helped the Hawaiian land a 9.75 in the heat and bag himself another National Title for the day, and a total of five throughout his career.

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. Fellow Hawaiian Ezeikal Lau put up some solid waves with a substantial mix of snaps and cutties, but Keanu’s consistency and dominance helped him claim his first National Title.

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. Luke Hitchcock really put on a show, connecting wave after wave all the way to the beach. But Koa’s 10 bagged the win for the young Hawaiian, giving him another National Title for the day, having won Explorer Menehune as well.

In the Open Mini Groms division it was Kalani David and Imai Devault battling it out, with Imai keeping a steady lead most of the heat. But Kalani’s last wave took him all the way to the beach, throwing top turns and smooth cutbacks. Kalani needed that wave and he got it, earning the young Hawaiian phenom his first National Title.

Andrew Doheny put together some great waves in the Open Jrs. Final, landing a frontside air reverse, and really putting his mark on the heat and division, which he has now won two years in a row. Floridians Evan Geiselman and Evan Thompson both finished the heat strong on their last waves, but it was too little too late to surmount the lead Doheny had established.

$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. In the end it was Courtney bringing home the cash and the cup, along with that prestigious National Title.

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 Larson, and Nat Young all battling it out for the $5,000 and a National Title. The heat kicked off quick, and Kolohe threw the fins out multiple 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. Tanner Hendrickson worked two waves all the way to the beach, scoring a 6.75 and a 7.5. Granger Larson, with two wins already in the bag, 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 a big-time layback. Though everyone was putting up big numbers in this final, Santa Cruz’s Nat Young stole the show with a polished backside attack that’s as vertical as they come, landing a 9.5 and an 8.0. When the horn sounded it was evident that Nat had won his first National Title, and was carried up the beach.

Check out the pictures and full results from the action-packed Nationals on transworldsurf.com.

Final Results of the 2008 NSSA National Championships presented by No Fear:

Open Mens
1. Nat Young $5,000 (courtesy of No Fear)
2. Granger Larsen
3. Tanner Hendrickson
4. Kolohe Andino

Open Womens
1. Courtney Conlogue $2,500 (courtesy of No Fear)
2. Sage Erickson
3. Leila Hurst
4. Malia Manuel

Open Juniors
1. Andrew Doheny
2. Evan Geiselman
3. Evan Thompson
4. Tanner Hendrickson

Open Boys
1. Koa Smith
2. Luke Hitchcock
3. Makai McNamara
4. Joshua Moniz
5. Nic Hdez
6. Parker Coffin

Open Mini Groms
1. Kalani David
2. Imai Devault
3. Kanoa Igarashi
4. Jacob Davis
5. Seth Moniz
6. Jake Marshal

Explorer Menehune
1. Koa Smith
2. Makai McNamara
3. Ian Gentil
4. Luke Hitchcock
5. Kaoli Kohokuloa
6. Seth Moniz

Explorer Boys
1. Keanu Asing
2. Ezekiel Lau
3. Kolohe Andino
4. Conner Coffin
5. Luke Davis
6. Kaimana Jaquias

Explorer Mens
1. Granger Larsen
2. Kai Barger
3. Alex Smith
4. Tyler Newton
5. Michael Dunphy
6. Nat Young

Explorer Womens
1. Leila Hurst
2. Monyca Byrne-Wickey
3. Alessa Quizon
4. Demi Boelsterli
5. Lakey Peterson
6. Nage Melamed

Explorer Juniors
1. Granger Larsen
2. Dillon Perillo
3. Alex Smith
4. Nat Young
5. Oliver Kurtz
6. Kolohe Andino

Explorer Girls
1. Leila Hurst
2. Malia Manuel
3. Nage Melamed
4. Kalia Moniz
5. Alisha Gonsalves
6. Lakey Peterson