Christian Saenz: bright future ahead

The tenth and final stop of the 2009-10 Southwest Conference Open Season wrapped up at Huntington Beach Pier on May 1-2 in fun and rippable chest high peaks. Reigning West Coast Champion Luke Davis from Capo Beach, showed his savvy of HB Pier’s peaks and infamous reform sections as if it was his own home break.

Recently coming off a big runner-up performance at the ASP Pro Junior at the pier a few weeks ago, Davis surfed the southside lineup sticking blow-tails and lightning quick air reverses with beautiful technique and form. The win was his second of the season and now he will turn his focus on defending his Regional title with the West Coast Championships coming up May 19-23 at HB Pier.

The other big news of the weekend was Huntington Beach local Christian Saenz clinching his second consecutive Southwest Conference Open Men’s title. Saenz, a senior at Huntington Beach High School and a seasoned veteran on southside gave Davis a run for the money in the final taking second place by a fraction of a point. Perhaps the biggest statement of the season was made by Saenz who became the first surfer to win back-to-back Southwest Open Men’s crowns since Tom Curren pulled off the feat back in the 1981 and 1982 seasons.

Peru’s Martin Jeri made his fourth appearance of the year in Southwest competition taking third behind Saenz while fourth place finisher Parker Coffin continued to prove himself in the NSSA’s premier division making the Open Men’s final for the fourth time this season.

SOUTHWEST OPEN JUNIORS CHAMPION PARKER COFFIN

The final in the Juniors division matched up Parker Coffin with Kanoa Igarashi, Jonah Carter and Patrick Curren. Throughout the weekend, in both the Men’s and Juniors heats, Coffin put on a great display of surfing blending full rail carves and power beyond his years. Coffin really found his rhythm in the Juniors final where he jumped out to an early lead with a 6.0 and then followed it up with an 8.33 which was the highest wave score of the division. His 14.33 total score left Igarashi needing a near perfect 9.66 and Carter and Curren in a combination situation. Coffin’s victory rocketed him to first in the standings, and his second conference title of the season (he claimed the Gold Coast Boys title last week at the season finale at Ventura’s C Street).

To sum up the Open Boys division, it was the most competitive in years with many young 12-and-unders on the rise. Reigning conference champion Kanoa Igarashi, who took over the overall win record with 30 wins in the 2008-09 season, claimed his second consecutive title but not without facing stiff competition from the growing field of talented kids. However in his local waters, Igarashi stamped his authority winning both event #10 and and makeup event #9. In addition, his second place showing in the Juniors was even more impressive. Igarashi’s keen eye of southside’s tricky shifting conditions continued heat after heat in both the Juniors and the Boys divisions as he pulled out all the stops in the wave he surfs every day.

In Women’s competition, Newport Harbor High School senior Kaleigh Gilchrist comfortably surfed to her second victory of the season. Chandler Parr started the final off strong taking an early lead with a 5.67 and 4.70. Lakey Peterson and Shelby Detmers who is also a student at Newport Harbor, struggled to find their groove in the unpredictable peaks. Gilchrist fought back posting a solid 6.33 score. Needing a low 4-point for the win, she paddled into a buzzer-beater earning 5.07 clinching the victory and dropping Parr to second. Reigning National Open Women’s Champ Peterson claimed the Women’s conference title on the strength of her five victories and two runner-up finishes this season.

Kairi Noro fresh off the plane from Japan came out swinging in the Mini Grom division with a 3-event sweep. Noro displayed his incredible talent ripping HB’s peaks with speedy snaps and good cutbacks on the reform section. Noro has been a dominator in the water winning seven straight events plus the 2009-10 Southwest Conference title. In the Longboard division, HB local Shaun Thompson has been the surfer in the spotlight taking his seventh victory in event #10 and clinching the conference title.

2-TIME SOUTHWEST OPEN MENS CHAMPION CHRISTIAN SAENZ

The Southwest Conference Open Season is a ten event season. Competitors who qualify through the Southwest Conference Open Season are invited to participate in the NSSA West Coast Regional Championships to compete for slots to the 2010 NSSA National Championships. The West Coast Championships will be held May 19-23 at the Huntington Beach Pier. The NSSA National Championships will be held June 16-19 at Salt Creek in Dana Point and June 29-July 3 at the Huntington Beach Pier. The 2010 Southwest Open Season Champions will be announced and presented at the West Coast Championship Awards Ceremony on May 23 in Huntington Beach.

The NSSA Southwest Conference is proud to have support from Nike 6.0, Huntington Surf and Sport, Java Point, Surfing Magazine, Sex Wax, Channel Islands and Sugar Shack. The NSSA is a member of Surfing America, the ISA-recognized National Governing Body for Surfing in the United States.


THE SCOREBOARD

RESULTS

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE OPEN SEASON EVENT #10

HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER SOUTHSIDE


OPEN MENS

1. Luke Davis-Capistrano Beach 11.26
2. Christian Saenz-Huntington Beach 10.44
3. Martin Jeri-Peru 9.67
4. Parker Coffin-Santa Barbara 9.30


OPEN JUNIORS

1. Parker Coffin-Santa Barbara 14.33
2. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach 8.64
3. Jonah Carter-San Clemente 7.66
4. Patrick Curren-Santa Barbara 5.74


OPEN BOYS

1. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach 13.53
2. Jake Davis-Capistrano Beach 10.40
3. Colt Ward-San Clemente 9.87
4. Kody Clemens-Carlsbad 9.33
5. Jake Marshall-Encinitas 7.67
6. Kei Kobayashi-San Clemente 4.80


OPEN MINI GROMS

1. Kairi Noro-Japan 16.50
2. Ryland Rubens-San Diego 10.27
3. Tyler Gunter-Newport Beach 7.37
4. Eithan Osborne-Ventura 6.06
5. Nicholas Marshall-Encinitas 5.20
6. Sam Wickwire-Seal Beach 3.00


OPEN WOMENS

1. Kaleigh Gilchrist-Newport Beach 11.40
2. Chandler Parr-Santa Monica 10.37
3. Lakey Peterson-Santa Barbara 9.60
4. Shelby Detmers-Newport Beach 8.90


OPEN LONGBOARD

1. Shaun Thompson-Huntington Beach 10.66
2. Nathan Thompson-Huntington Beach 5.83
3. Jason Schechter-San Diego 5.33
4. Stephanie Schechter-San Diego 4.77
5. Bryn Lutz-Carlsbad 4.33
6. Justin Brand-Seal Beach 4.23
7. Lucas Foster-Carlsbad


SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE OPEN SEASON EVENT #9 (MAKE-UP)

HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER SOUTHSIDE


OPEN BOYS

1. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach 11.93
2. Jake Marshall-Encinitas 10.57
3. Griffin Colapinto-San Clemente 10.23
4. Jake Davis-Capistrano Beach 9.60
5. Corey Colapinto-San Clemente 9.23
6. Kei Kobayashi-San Clemente 9.10


OPEN MINI GROMS

1. Kairi Noro-Japan 12.97
2. Ryland Rubens-San Diego 7.63
3. Eithan Osborne-Ventura 5.30
4. Nicholas Marshall-Encinitas 5.30
5. Tyler Gunter-Newport Beach 4.87
6. Shane Borland-Topanga 4.60


OPEN WOMENS

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


OPEN LONGBOARD

1. Shaun Thompson-Huntington Beach 13.26
2. Jason Schechter-San Diego 8.84
3. Bryn Lutz-Carlsbad 5.60
4. Justin Brand-Seal Beach 4.27
5. Lucas Foster-Carlsbad 4.23
6. Nathan Thompson-Huntington Beach 3.67
7. Stephanie Schechter-San Diego 3.56


AIRSHOW

1. Sam Orozco-Laguna Niguel
2. Trevor Thornton-San Clemente
3. Luke Davis-Capistrano Beach
4. Andrew Jacobson-Malibu
5. Kanoa Igarashi-Huntington Beach
6. Scott Weinhardt-Dana Point


SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE OPEN SEASON EVENT #8 (MAKE-UP)

HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER SOUTHSIDE


OPEN MINI GROM

1. Kairi Noro-Japan 11.34
2. Nicholas Marshall-Encinitas 9.30
3. Cole Houshmand-San Clemente 9.17
4. Ryland Rubens-San Diego 6.74
5. Eithan Osborne-Ventura 6.07
6. Nathan Carabba-Santa Ana 4.24


SOURCE: NSSA