Photos: Mira Costa High School Crowned 2009 Red Bull Riders Cup Champs

Mira Costa High Edges out San Dieguito Academy at Premier High School Surfing Series

Red Bull Riders Cup

Team Mira Costa gets psyched! Photo: Jimmy Wilson

San Clemente, California - (June 7th, 2009) - The top high school surfers in the country gathered this weekend in San Clemente to compete in the Red Bull Riders Cup National Championship, bringing with them ideal weather and near-perfect waves. With a powerful swell pouring through Upper Trestles at San Onofre Beach all weekend long, the teams were given the chance to test their mettle and show their skills in the premiere high school surfing competition. The eight teams - all of whom had earned their National Championship spots by dominating local rivals in Regional Championships - came from Florida, New Jersey and all up and down the Southern California coast. The competition was fierce from the get-go, but in the end it came down to a grudge match between Mira Costa High and San Dieguito Academy that could only be settled in overtime. When all was said and done, Mira Costa High School took the win and with it the bragging rights as 2009 Red Bull Riders Cup National Champions.

Red Bull Riders Cup Mira Costa High School

Congrats to Red Bull Riders Cup National Champions Mira Costa High School! Photo: Jimmy Wilson

"This was simply an amazing Championship, and exactly what the Red bull Riders Cup is all about,” said Brad Gerlach, National Surf League Founder. "In the Finals we had two well-matched teams and a format that really allows the kids to show off and highlight their skills. It had it all - drama, suspense, disappointment, exhilaration and a nail-biting finale. This is why we do it."

Red Bull Riders Cup Mira Costa High School

The two days of competition saw some amazing surfing, but it was the Finals and their "down to the wire" finish that really had everyone talking. In the first period of the Finals Mira Costa won the coin toss and decided to surf first, taking to the water in clean conditions with 4-6 foot waves. Mira Costa got off to a solid start, led by a period high score of 7.5 by Dayton Silva. But San Dieguito responded in kind, with an overall strong team showing, taking the lead and leaving Mira Costa trailing at the end of the first period, 24.5 to 25 points.

In the second period, Mira Costa dominated with great rides that put up high scores across the board. Due to some missed opportunities, San Dieguito was unable to hold their lead, and ended up trailing by 2 points. As the third period began, Mira Costa made their intentions known from the get go, with Dane Zaun posting an amazing 8.5 ride. Unfortunately, the rest of the team was unable to score higher than a 6.5, leaving the door just slightly open for San Dieguito to make a comeback. The pressure was on, as San Dieguito was faced with the daunting task of needing 27 points to win - an average of 6.5 -7.0 rides for each surfer. With only 4 minutes left, it looked like it was over as San Dieguito hadn't scored nearly enough points and needed a miracle to win. But the miracle came – in the form of a four wave set - and with every rider scoring strong points, the team was able to earn a tie, taking them to overtime.

Overtime saw Mira Costa supply excellent performances from all surfers, but it was an 8.5 score from Dane Zaun that really delivered, pushing their total to 24 points - 98 overall.

San Dieguito was once again faced with a hard task, needing 25 points. They got off to a rough start, with multiple surfers going down in early waves. With little time remaining, the set they needed once again came rolling in and the crowd waited anxiously to see if they could pull off another miracle. Unfortunately, this time it was not to be, as the miracle fell short, with the final score: Mira Costa -98, San Dieguito – 96.

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"This was definitely the best surfing event I've ever participated in," said Mira Costa High MVP Dane Zaun. “The waves were near perfect, and we worked really hard for this win, surfing two games today plus the overtime. This was a team effort, and I'm so proud we were all able to hold it together to snatch victory"

"This was our year," says Mira Costa coach Joe Lederer. "I just had a gut feeling going into it. These are an amazing group of kids who really came together and gave an amazing performance out there. I may have coached the games, but they are definitely the ones that deserve all the credit."

Red Bull Riders Cup is the nations' premier high school surfing competition, and in 2009 brought together 34 high schools from eight regions to compete in a single elimination "March-Madness" style tournament. The Series utilizes the National Surf League's "The Game" format, which was modeled after team sports such as basketball, football, and baseball. The Game format serves to bridge the gap between individual sports like surfing and more fan-friendly team sports. This revolutionary format includes: two teams competing against each other, only one team in the water at a time, three periods, timeouts, coaches, referees and substitutes.

High schools participating in the National Championship include:

Aptos High School, winner of the Santa Cruz Regional Championship
Malibu High School, winner of the Golden State Regional Championship
Satellite High School, winner of the Central Florida Regional Championship
Mira Costa High School, winner of the South Bay Regional Championship
New Smyrna High School, winner of the North Florida Regional Championship
Ocean City High School, winner of the New Jersey Regional Championship
Newport Harbor High School, winner of the Orange County Regional Championship
San Dieguito Academy, winner of the San Diego Regional Championship

National Championship Results Breakdown

Saturday, June 6, 2009
Qtr-Final # 1: Mira Costa High (South Bay) def. Aptos High School (SC)
Qtr-Final # 2: Newport Harbor High (OC) def. Satellite High (CF)
Qtr-Final # 3: Malibu High School (Ventura) def. Ocean City High School (NJ)
Qtr-Final # 4: San Dieguito Academy (SD) def. New Smyrna High School (NF)

Sunday, June 7, 2009
Semi-Final #1: Mira Costa High (South Bay) def. Newport Harbor High (OC)
Semi-Final #2: San Deguito Academy(SD) def. Malibu High School (Ventura)
Finals: Mira Costa High def. San Dieguito Academy in OT

Most Valuable Player - Dane Zaun
Most Radical Maneuver - Dane Zaun (MC), Full bottom turn to air-reverse

2009 Red Bull Riders Cup Overall Competition Schedule:
Mar 16-19 Santa Cruz Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz
Mar 24-26 Golden State Seaside Park (Surfers Point) Ventura
Mar 31-Apr 2 Central FL Pelican Beach Park
Apr 15-16 South Bay El Porto 45th St. Manhattan Beach
Apr 21-23 North FL New Smyrna/Ponce Inlet
May 4-9 New Jersey 3rd-9th street, Ocean City
May 19-21 Orange County Huntington Beach Pier
May 26-28 San Diego Seaside Reef
June 6-7 Championship Upper Trestles

The National Surf League and Red Bull have partnered to help bring the sport of surfing to a new and exciting level. "The NSL and Red Bull are both companies that are passionate about innovation and bringing out the best performance in surfing. I am very excited to see how we will grow and create a more entertaining and easier way to watch the sport," said NSL founder Brad Gerlach.

The NSL is a revolutionary competitive surfing organization established in 2001 by legendary pro surfer, Brad Gerlach. The NSL is dedicated to the pursuit of surfing excellence, building awareness for the sport of surfing while creating a fun competitive landscape for all types of surfers.

The Game Explained
Modeled after team sports such as Basketball, Football, and Baseball - The Game turns an individual sport like surfing into fan-friendly team sport

• Two teams against each other
• One team in the water at a time
• 3 Periods, Timeouts, Coaches, Referees
• Substitutes
• Rivalries
• Real Surfing
• Game time: under two hours
• A scoreboard, continuous commentary, and scoring updates so the crowd and television audience can easily follow the results

To follow Red Bull Riders Cup go to

You like this? Download Chasing The Dream a candid portrayal of eight Huntington Beach High School kids trying to obtain the impossible — a career in professional surfing.