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Newport Beach dishes for latest NSSA event

Girls finalists © Kurt Steinmetz



NSSA Southwest Conference #4
National Scholastic Surfing Association
54th Street, Newport Beach California
2 - 3 November 2013

South & west swell combo treats NSSA competitors

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 November, 2013 - The Southwest Conference Open Season headed to the shores of Newport Beach for stop number 4 of the 2013-14 season. The contest was held in a smorgasbord of conditions at Newport’s infamous 54th Street sandbars with swell and tidal fluctuations providing both good and challenging conditions.

A combination of southwest and west swell produced 2-3 foot peaks with plenty of steep and racy sections for surfers to go to town on. And the talk of the town continues to be Jake Marshall who claimed his second double win in the premier Open Men’s and Open Juniors divisions (his first double triumph came at the Oceanside Open season opener in September).

The Southwest Conference Open Season is regarded as the leading competition for west coast surfers. Divisions are offered in Men’s, Juniors, Boys, Mini Groms, Womens and Girls.  This event was the second of 10 events in the Southwest Conference Open Season series. The NSSA Open Season is open to student surfers only.     

Highlights from Southwest Conference Newport Open at 54th Street
14-year-old Jake Marshall continues to build his profile as one of the top teenage surfers in the nation. For the second time this season, Marshall took victories in the Open Mens and Open Juniors categories. Already sitting on top of the ratings in the Open Juniors division since his season opening win at Oceanside, Marshall’s victory in the Men’s will vault him to the number one spot with Kevin Schulz dropping to second.

For the second time this season, Marshall staged an impressive comeback en route to his Men’s victory. At the Oceanside Open, he won the final on a buzzer beating 8.5 score. In the Newport final, Marshall struggled with his rhythm early on falling on several key waves. Colt Ward went to work early holding the lead with two scores of 5.67 and 6.6.

Ratings leader Kevin Schulz and Taylor Mathiesen were also off to slow starts struggling to find the waves with scoring potential. Marshall remained poised and his competitive fortitude kicked in on his fourth wave when he crushed an excellent 9.0 ride. Schulz fought his way back into the game with a clean little tube ride earning an 8.17. But Marshall put the heat away with another solid 7.23 score.

Schulz took second, Ward finished up in third and Mathiesen took fourth. This was the third finals appearance for both Marshall and Schulz, the second for Ward and the first for Mathiesen.

Mini-grom finalists © Kurt Steinmetz
Unlike the Men’s final, Jake Marshall put the pressure on his three opponents right off the bat posting a 6.33 and another huge 9.0 score on his opening two rides. Nolan Rapoza’s opening ride of 7.83 put him into the game as both Micky Clarke and Cole Houshmand tried to get something going.

But Marshall was clearly in a league of his own coming off his big Men’s win upping the ante with a 7.5 score and then putting everyone on the ropes with a 7.83. The win for Marshall was his third in the division putting him into a solid lead in the ratings.

Rapoza is now three for four in finals appearances this season and his runner-up placing in this event will move him into the number two position in the ratings. Houshmand took third in his first Open Juniors finals appearance. This was Clarke’s second trip to the Open Juniors finals this year and his fourth place finish will move him into the top 5 of the ratings.
In the Boys division, 12-year-old Noah Hill was pushing the performance envelope at surfing well beyond his years. The kid was on fire unleashing man hacks, airs, big carves and even pulled into a few clean barrels winning all of his heats and taking his second straight Open victory. Also noteworthy is his win last weekend in the Explorer Menehuene final at the NSSA Hawaii event on the Big Island.

Hill contended with Nick Marshall, Jett Schilling and Jabe Swierkocki in the final. Hill remained sharp in the final putting two good scores of 6.67 and 7.0 on the scoreboard to jump out to an early lead. Marshall battled back but needed a 7.54 score to overtake the lead and his final ride came up short at a 6.13.

Big props to 10-year-old Schilling who took third and has captured everyone’s attention with his exceptional skills and 11-year-old Swierkocki for making his first final of the season!
In the Mini Grom division, Jett Schilling continues his impressive streak taking four consecutive victories. Schilling battled with Levi Slawson, Connor Marshall and Taj Lindblad in the final. Slawson put a good heat together with solid scores of 6.67 and 5.83 but Schilling’s opening ride of 7.5 and his 6.17 backup was enough to seal the victory. A big ovation to Schilling, Slawson and Marshall who have gone 4 for 4 in finals appearances.
**In Open Women’s competition, Tia Blanco’s 3-event win streak was snapped by an in form Steffi Kerson. Kerson surfed confidently and stayed selective on the better shaped peaks. She ripped a 7.67 score, the highest of the final leaving Blanco, Tiare Thompson and Rachel Tominaga hunting big scores to take the lead. It was the first finals appearance for young Thompson who went on to win the Girls final and Tominaga.
12-year-old Tiare Thompson claimed her first Open victory of the season in the Girls final. Thompson matched up with Sidney Johnson, Costa Rica’s Emily Gussoni and number one ranked Alexxa Elseewi. In a tight final Thompson edged out Johnson for the win by a fraction of a point.

Johnson took second for the second consecutive contest followed by Gussoni and Elseewi taking third and fourth respectively. Of note, Elseewi will remain at the top of the ratings. She’s got a four event finals streak going and is the only Girls competitor to have made every final thus far.

The NSSA Southwest Conference is proud to have support from Huntington Surf and Sport, Java Point, Surfing Magazine, Sex Wax, Scosche and Channel Islands. Many thanks to the City of Newport Beach and the NSSA staff for assisting us in staging a professional quality event to kick off the elite Southwest Open Season series.

And a big high five to our commentator Christian Saenz for calling all the action in the Southwest Conference Open Season series. Be sure to keep up with all the NSSA action via the website at and social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.

Men's Finalists © Kurt Steinmetz

1. Jake Marshall-Encinitas 16.23
2. Kevin Schulz-San Clemente 14.94
3. Colt Ward-San Clemente 12.27
4. Taylor Mathiesen-Carlsbad 8.94

1. Jake Marshall-Encinitas 16.83
2. Nolan Rapoza-Gardena 14.76
3. Cole Houshmand-San Clemente 10.10
4. Micky Clarke-Ventura 8.80

1. Noah Hill-Marina del Rey 13.67
2. Nick Marshall-Encinitas 11.96
3. Jett Schilling-San Clemente 8.57
4. Jabe Swierkocki-Ventura 4.60

1. Jett Schilling-San Clemente 13.67
2. Levi Slawson-Encinitas 12.50
3. Connor Marshall-Encinitas 3.97
4. Taj Lindblad-San Clemente 3.63

1. Steffi Kerson-Thousand Oaks 12.44
2. Tia Blanco-San Clemente 10.73
3. Tiare Thompson-La Jolla 7.00
4. Rachel Tominaga-Manhattan Beach 6.33

1. Tiare Thompson-La Jolla 8.83
3. Sidney Johnson-Carlsbad 8.70
3. Emily Gussoni-Costa Rica 6.53
4. Alexxa Elseewi-San Clemente 3.20

Jake Marshall
Noah Hill
Jett Schilling

Janice Aragon

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