Two surfing up-and-comers with Santa Cruz ties found success in shoulder- to head-high waves at the 16th annual NSSA West Coast Championships, which were held at the Huntington Beach Pier over the weekend.
Newport Beach’s John Mel, a native Santa Cruzan and son of big wave world champ Peter Mel, was a double winner. He dominated the open boys division, scoring 16.17 points based on his top two wave scores — which are calculated on a 10-point scale — in the final heat. Ryland Rubens of Pacific Beach finished runner-up with 11.60 points, Eithan Osborne of Ventura was third [10.17] and Tyler Gunter of Newport Beach was fourth [9.66].
Mel also ripped through the final heat in the menehuene explorer division for 14.67 points, topping runner-up Gunter [12.33] and third-place finisher Rubens [9.77]. Sean Woods of Thousand Oaks was fourth [9.17], Dylan Hord of Huntington Beach was fifth [4.66] and Nick Marshall of Encinitas was sixth [4.40].
A press release on the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s website, described 12-year-old Mel as owning Huntington Beach’s “infamous southside sandbar peaks.”
Mel also finished fourth in the explorer boys division final with 6.67 points to winner Griffin Colapinto’s 15.66. Colapinto is from San Clemente.
Nic H’dez was the sole other surfer with Santa Cruz ties in the finals. The area resident won the open juniors by scoring 12.74 points to eke out a win over Colapinto, who scored 11.94 points. Takumi Yasui of Saitama, Japan, placed third [11.33] and Hiroto Oohara of Chiba, Japan, placed fourth [10.84].
“…Hdez made a big statement in this event taking his first title in a major NSSA championship event,” the NSSA press release said.
The next event in the eight-part series is the NSSA National Interscholastic Championships, which are scheduled for June 16-18 at Salt Creek in Dana Point. Entries are due June 1.
Results included in this report are from the NSSA website.
— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter @CGullTweets