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I just saw this video of some serious ripping by Surfing America groms in Santa Cruz over the weekend. Apparently, while most eyes were glued to the Maverick’s break up near Half Moon Bay, some junior surfers were taking advantage of this local spot.

The sole grom with Santa Cruz ties to win a division in the fourth Surfing America Prime event of the season was John Mel, a Santa Cruz native who now lives in Newport Beach. He took the boys under-14 division ahead of runner-up Noah Hill of Marina Del Ray and third-place finisher Ryland Rubens of Pacific Beach at Steamer Lane, where the contest ran from Jan. 20-21, according to a Surfing America Facebook post. The event was the only Surfing America stop scheduled for the Santa Cruz area.

And in case you missed it, Mel’s father Peter won the Mavericks Invitational big wave surf contest Sunday.


Surfing America Prime Steamer Lane 2013 from Surfing America on Vimeo.

Santa Cruz native John Mel, who now lives in Newport Beach, was runner-up to Eithan Osborne in the Surfing America Prime West series stop at T Street in San Clemente on Dec. 8-9.

Mel won both his first-round heat and semifinal heat to advance to the boys 14-and-under final, where he scored a two-wave point total of 14.34. Osborne scored an even 15 for the win.

In earlier heats, Mel — son of pro big wave surfer Pete Mel — dominated. He scored 13.44 points in his first heat, where Nick Marshall was second with 9.60. And Mel scored 11.86 points in the semis, where Zach McCormick was second with 9.97.

Mel also competed in the boys 16U division, where he again won his first heat, but he was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Nic H’dez, another Santa Cruz native, had a similar story, winning his first heat in the boys 18U division, but suffering elimination in the quarters.

In the boys 14U standings, Mel is in 13th place, and in the boys 18U standings, H’dez is in second.

The next Surfing America Prime West series stop is scheduled for Santa Cruz on Jan. 20-12 [a Sunday and Monday] at Steamer Lane.

Results in this report are from the Surfing America website.

Santa Cruz native John Mel won the boys open division of the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s Southwest Conference at the season finale, clinching the title, at the Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday and Sunday.

Named one of the top performers of the competition, Mel — who now lives in Newport Beach — scored 12.50 points in the final to beat runner-up Cole Houshmand of San Clemente [8.77], third-place finisher Eithan Osborne of Ventura [8.50] and fourth-place finisher Ryland Rubens of Pacific Beach [8.30].

Earlier, Mel’s stellar surfing put his own stamp on the event, which had shoulder to overhead peaks:

John Mel put on a super heat in his Open Boys quarterfinal posting the highest combined total of the event (18.93) with two wave scores of 9.93 and a 9.00. Mel also claimed his fifth Open Boys victory of the season and handily secured the conference title.

— NSSA press release

Results in this report are from the NSSA website.

The Northwest Conference championships, which have more NorCal surfers with Santa Cruz County connections, are scheduled for May 17-20 at the Southside Pier in Huntington Beach. Today is the last day to apply for entry.

— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter @CGullTweets

Santa Cruz natives John Mel and Nic H’dez finished third overall in their respective divisions after Surfing America’s Prime West Coast finale at Camp Pendleton on April 28-29.

To conclude the 2011-2012 season, Mel finished second in the boys 14U final heat, placing third in the overall standings of the 14U division with 10,388 points through six events. The Newport Beach resident was also 13th in the 16U division with 6,976 points.

Griffin Colapinto won the 14U overall standings with 11,625 points, and Jake Marshall was second with 10,463.

H’dez, meanwhile, placed second in the final heat of the 16U contest behind contest and overall champ Kanoa Igarashi. H’dez finished the season with 9,601 points for third place overall, Igarashi won with 10,125, and Jake Davis was second overall with 9,976.

In other divisions, Taylor Clark won the 18U with 10,500 points, and Kulia Doherty won both the girls 18U and the 16U with 11,625 points and 11,625 points, respectively. She tied and shared the title of the 16U division with Frankie Harrer.

Standings, points and results from this report are from Surfing America.

— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter @CGullTweets

Peter Mel rides a Maverick’s wave in 2010. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

Longtime Santa Cruz resident and pro big wave surfer Peter Mel, who now lives in Newport Beach, was honored Sunday as the Big Wave World Tour champion for the 2011-2012 season.

Mel won the tour’s Pico Alto-Copa Burn contest near Lima, Peru, in August. With two of the four tour events either canceled or not held, Mel’s finish in Peru went a long way toward keeping him atop the standings.

He was honored in a ceremony Sunday on a yacht with a live band off the Oceanside coast. Four generations of the Mel family were present, as well as many big names in the surfing community who came out for the occasion.

“I’m honored, and speechless,” Mel was quoted saying in a press release.

Zach Wormhoudt, another big wave surfer with Santa Cruz ties, was the opposite of speechless: “It is about time that Peter Mel officially claims the title of Big Wave World Champion!  This is such a long overdue crowning; as Peter’s surfing and accomplishments in the big wave arena have been that of a world champion for well over twenty years.  Peter has inspired his peers and fans of big wave surfing with his courage, endurance, consistency, and controlled style.  It is great to see official acknowledgment of such an amazing ambassador of our sport.”

Always stoked to surf with Pete as long as it is not in a heat!”

— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter @CGullTweets

Nic H'dez in the Surfing America Prime West Coast event at Huntington Beach the weekend of March 17, 2012. He won the boys 16-and-under division. (Jack McDaniel/Contributed)

Santa Cruz surfer inches up on standings leader; John Mel also has solid ranking going into final event

With one Surfing America Prime event on the West Coast left to go, Santa Cruz’s Nic H’dez made a serious case for why he should be in the running for the overall boys 16-and-under title with a win at the Huntington Beach Pier over the weekend.

H’dez placed second in his first heat and in his semifinal heat, according to results released Tuesday night. But he made it count when it mattered, winning the final with a 10.90 score based on his top two waves. The next closest finisher in the final was Santa Barbara’s Pat Curren, who scored 8.70.  Huntington Beach’s own Kanoa Igarashi placed third [8.00] and Capistrano Beach’s Jake Davis was fourth [6.00].

Nic Hdez shows off his latest trophy after winning the boys 16-and-under division at Huntington Beach Pier. (Surfing America/Contributed)

Igarashi leads the standings for the 16U division with 9,075 points, but H’dez isn’t too far behind, in second with 8,814 points — 3,000 of which came from his performance over the weekend.

In the boys 18-and-under division contest, H’dez also advanced past the first round with a dominant 11-point scoring heat, but he was eliminated in the quarterfinals. He is currently ranked No. 6 in the 18U overall standings with 7,838 points. The current leader is again Igarashi with 9,450 points total and a more than 1,000-point lead over Davis, who is in second [8,363].

Santa Cruz native John Mel, who now lives in Newport Beach, also competed at the pier, taking second in the boys 14-and-under division with a 9.87-point score based on his top two waves. Griffin Colapinto of San Clemente won that event with a 12.40 score. Jordan Collins of Carlsbad was third [6.33] and Griffin Foy of Fullerton was fourth [4.04].

Mel is ranked No. 2 in the 14-and-under standings with 9,713 points (2,625 from his performance last weekend alone), and  Colapinto is first with 11,625 points.

The next Surfing America Prime West Coast event is scheduled for April 28-29 in Camp Pendleton.

Full results from Surfing America’s Huntington Beach stop, courtesy of Greg Cruise, are as follows:

Sanuk Surfing America Prime presented by Got Milk?

Where: Huntington Beach Pier
When: March 17 & 18, 2012

1st – Frankie Harrer – Malibu
2nd – Kulia Doherty – Rancho Santa Fe
3rd – Meah Collins – Costa Mesa
4th – Avalon Johnson – Carlsbad

1st – Meah Collins – Costa Mesa
2nd – Emily Ruppert – Indialantic FL
3rd – Lulu Erkeneff – Dana Point
4th – Kulia Doherty – Rancho Santa Fe

1st – Andrew Jacobson – Malibu
2nd – Taylor Clark – Encinitas
3rd – Colin Moran – Costa Mesa
4th – Thelen Mckinna-Worrell – Malibu

1st – Nic Hdez – Santa Cruz
2nd – Pat Curren – Santa Barbara
3rd – Kanoa Igarashi – Huntington Beach
4th – Jacob Davis – Capistrano Beach

1st – Griffin Colapinto – San Clemente
2nd – John Mel – Newport Beach
3rd – Jordan Collins – Carlsbad
4th – Griffin Foy – Fullerton

— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter at CGullTweets

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