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Christian Saenz & Lakey Peterson star at NSSA SW #3


NSSA Southwest Conf. #3

National Scholastic Surfing Assn
Southside Huntington Beach Pier
10 - 11 October 2009

Christian Saenz and Lakey Peterson stars at NSSA Southwest Conference event #3

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 15 October, 2009 : - - The 2009-10 Southwest Conference Open Season marched on for stop number three at Surf City’s center stage on the south side of the pier.  The event saw reigning Southwest Open Men’s champ Christian Saenz and National Open Women’s champ Lakey Peterson take top honors exploding in their respective finals. 

Open Men’s number one ranked Conner Coffin was also a leader in the Men’s field crushing the highest wave scores of the event-two 9.43’s in his preliminary rounds.  The waves were waist to chest high throughout the weekend with fun, contestable lefts and rights.

It was a home game for 18-year-old Christian Saenz and he took full advantage winning his first Open of the season.  Saenz, who was fresh off an Explorer victory the week prior, surfed like a well oiled machine on the Pier Bowl lefts.  He took his level up a notch in the talent-loaded Men’s final between Conner Coffin, Kelly Zaun and Taylor Thorne. 

Zaun and Thorne had their work cut out as both Saenz and Coffin dominated the contest scoreboard throughout the two-day competition with Saenz owning five of the top ten heat totals and Coffin posting up four of the top ten totals.  Both Saenz and Coffin won every heat leading up to the final.  But Saenz’ momentum and sharp know-how makes him tough to beat at HB Pier. 

Surfing with a sense of urgency, the hard working goofy-footer connected all of the dots unloading big turns on every piece of every wave including a heat high 8.5 aerial.  His winning total was a 15.10 over runner-up Coffin’s 12.67.  “Conner is so gnarly and has so much power so it’s really hard to beat him,” Saenz said.  “All of the finalists rip so hard so I knew I had to pull off something big which is why I went for that big air which got the 8.5 score.  To win last week’s Explorer and then get the win this weekend is just insane. 

I’m really focused and just having fun with contests.”  Saenz attributes his current triumphs to a magic board he has been utilizing in recent contests.  “I just have the sickest board for small conditions.  It’s a 5’7” Rising Sun from Timmy Patterson which works really good.  I’m just really happy with my equipment now and that makes a huge difference.”  

The Juniors final was a showdown between ratings leader Trevor Thornton, Taylor Clark, Breyden Taylor and Kanoa Igarashi.  Clark delivered a solid finals performance claiming his first win in the Open Juniors category.  The 14-year-old from Encinitas put two solid scores of 6.5 and 5.67 on the board leaving his opponents scratching for good 7-point plus rides to get back into contention.  It was clear early on that things were clicking for Clark who surfed confidently throughout the weekend winning every heat except for a second place in round one. 

“It’s the first time I’ve made the finals this year, so I’m super stoked,” Clark said.  “I like coming to Huntington because there’s always waves here.  The conditions are pretty fun, but kind of inconsistent so you just had to pick the right waves.  My two high scores were rights, one was a set and the other was a medium wave, and they had good shape.  I’m just really happy because I was rated 15th before this contest so this should give me a solid boost up the ratings.”   

In the Boys final, Kanoa Igarashi was on his game ruling his home turf at the pier posting two wave scores of 7.33 and 7.0 to seal his first Open win of the season.  He also stepped it up making the Juniors final in a heavily competitive field.  Ratings leader Jake Marshall, Open #2 winner Jake Davis, Colin Deveze, Griffin Colapinto and John Mel met up with Igarashi in the final. 

As with Saenz in the Men’s, Igarashi surfs tremendously on south side and was fired up to take the win. Igarashi, who smashed the regular season wins record with 30 victories last year, has had only two wins in the 2009-10 season up to this point.  This can be attributed to the deep pool of talent in the 12 & under categories this year.  Colin Deveze’s aerial reverse in his opening heat which was awarded 9’s from the judges, is proof of the outstanding potential witnessed in the division.  

Nine-year-old John Mel from Santa Cruz celebrated his first win in the mighty south locking up 1st place in the Mini Grom final.  Ratings leader Ryland Rubens, Tyler Gunter, Kairi Noro, Sam Wickwire and Nicholas Marshall also made the final.  Mel surfed the Pier Bowl lefts with confidence throughout his heats and also earned an impressive 5th place in the Boys final.  Sam Wickwire crushed a wave in his Mini Grom opening heat posting the division’s highest single score of 8.33.  Rubens will remain on top of the ratings with a second place finish in the final.

After placing second in the Open Season opening event, Lakey has now made it two straight wins taking a dynamic victory in the Women’s final.  Peterson picked up steam throughout the day saving her best display for the final.  In the 25-minute heat, she had two mid-range 5-point scores before teeing off on her final two rides which posted 8.33’s out of 10.  Southwest Explorer Women’s leader Lani Doherty took second with Taylor Pitz and Chandler Parr keeping their final’s streak alive placing third and fourth respectively.

In Longboarding, Shaun Thompson has been in domineering form since the season started.  Once again he put on a dazzling show posting excellent scores of 8.83 and 8.0 for a 16.83 winning total-the highest of the event.    

COMING UP IN CALI: The Cali action will venture north to the chilly waters of Morro Bay on October 17-18 for Gold Coast Conference #5 and Northwest Conference #2.  The Southwest Open Season will pick back up with event #4 at Oceanside Pier followed by Southwest Explorer October 31-November 1 at San Onofre Trails.


1. Christian Saenz-Huntington Beach 15.10
2. Conner Coffin-Santa Barbara 12.67
3. Kelly Zaun-Hawthorne 11.00
4. Taylor Thorne-Newport Beach 7.27

1. Taylor Clark-Encinitas 12.17
2. Trevor Thornton-San Clemente 9.70
3. Breyden Taylor-San Juan Capistrano 9.24
4. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach 7.90

1. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach 14.33
2. Jacob Davis-Capistrano Beach 11.73
3. Jake Marshall-Encinitas 11.40
4. John Mel-Santa Cruz 9.60
5. Colin Deveze-San Clemente 7.40
6. Griffin Colapinto-San Clemente 5.83

1. John Mel-Santa Cruz 11.07
2. Ryland Rubens-San Diego 9.60
3. Tyler Gunter-Newport Beach 8.50
4. Kairi Noro-San Clemente 8.16
5. Sam Wickwire-Seal Beach 6.16
6. Nicholas Marshall-Encinitas 5.86

1. Lakey Peterson-Santa Barbara 16.66
2. Lani Doherty-San Clemente 10.43
3. Taylor Pitz-Laguna Beach 9.74
4. Chandler Parr-Santa Monica 8.26

1. Shaun Thompson-Huntington Beach 16.83
2. Tony Bartovich-Huntington Beach 11.97
3. Jason Schechter-San Diego 9.36
4. Justin Brand-Seal Beach 8.16
5. Bryn Lutz-Carlsbad 6.06
6. Lucas Foster-Carlsbad 4.46

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