Jaquias And Peterson Grab NSSA National Titles

Kaimana Jaquias, on top of the moon. Photo courtesy Hilleman

Kaimana Jaquias, on top of the moon. Photo courtesy Hilleman

Kaimana Jaquias won the 2010 NSSA Nationals Open Men's title Saturday at South Huntington Beach Pier while Lakey Peterson snatched her second consecutive Open Women's title. Also taking out a big victory was Keala Naihe, who clinched the Open Junior's NSSA National division.

Jaquias launched out to an early lead in the 30-minute final matchup with a solid 8.25 out of 10, but struggled to find a second backup score until the last few minutes of the heat. The Hawaiian regular-footer locked into a wedgy righthander breaking off of South Huntington Beach Pier by cracking several forehand turns to overtake then heat leader Conner Coffin to win the 2010 Open Men's National Title.

"I'm on top of the moon right now," Jaquias said. "I got that 8.25 at the beginning and I was just hoping I could get another one. Conner (Coffin) got that second 5.00 and I was just praying to God that I could get another wave to take over the lead."

Jaquias' prestigious victory also puts his name on the list of NSSA champions including his father Kaipo Jaquias, who was the 1987 Open Junior Champion.

"I'm just so happy to have my name up there with my father," Jaquias said. "I wanted to have my name up there with his."

Peterson won her second-consecutive NSSA National Open Women's title when the final heat leader, Nage Melamed, earned an interference in the dying minutes of the matchup to cut the young Hawaiian's second score in half. Melamed's error proved to be enough to push Peterson back into the lead for this year's win.

"That was not the way I wanted to win, but a win is a win and I'll take it," Peterson said. "I feel really bad for Nage (Melamed). She surfed really well and I really feel for her. She's a sweet girl and I just feel bad for her, but I'm happy at the same time."

Although the defending champion had a slow heat, she was elated to tack another NSSA Open Women's title on to her list of accomplishments.

"Really, I couldn't be happier," Peterson said. "The waves didn't really offer much out there, but I did what I could with the ones that I got. That's how surfing is."

Naihe took out the NSSA National Open Junior's title in impressive fashion with a come-from-behind victory. The young Hawaiian punted a fully committed air-reverse to post a much needed 8.50 out of 10 to catapult Naihe from the back of the pack into the lead for the win.

"I'm super stoked, the waves are hard to surf out there and I just got lucky," Naihe said. "I was getting nervous and knew I had to go for broke at the end."

Naihe was also elated to have his name alongside the stack of surfing icons who have won the Open Junior's division in the past.

"All of the guys that have won this division in the past have gone on to be super successful, so I'm stoked to take this win," Naihe said.

To catch highlights from the 2010 NSSA Nationals log on to nssalive.com for video presented by Nike 6.0.

2010 NSSA National Champions:

Open Men's Champion: Kaimana Jaquias
Open Women's Champion: Lakey Peterson
Open Junior Champion: Keala Naihe
Open Boy's Champion: Kanoa Igarashi
Open Longboard Champion: Shaun Thompson
Open Mini Grom Champion: John Mel

Explorer Men's Champion: Ezekiel Lau
Explorer Women's Champion: Leila Hurst
Explorer Junior's Champion: Parker Coffin
Explorer Boy's Champion: Taylor Clark

HS Varsity Men's Champion: Ezekiel Lau
HS Varsity Women 's Champion: Kaleigh Gilchrist
HS Varsity Longboard Champion: Jeff Newell
HS JV Men's Champion: Jonah Carter
HS JV Women's Champion: Lani Doherty
HS JV Longboard Champion: Eli Gillis

NSSA Air Show Champion: Sam Orosco