Conner Coffin: how's the weather up there?

Pumping surf upped the ante at the 2010 Surfing America USA Championships on Friday and Sunday (Saturday was a lay day) from Lower Trestles in San Clemente, CA.

Top seeds Kolohe “Brother” Andino, Evan Geiselman, Andrew “Droid” Doheny and Conner Coffin dominated their Round 2 Boys U18 heats Friday, taking the lead with big maneuvers right out of the gate and forcing competitors to chase down their high scores.

Conner went so far as to claim his heat as the best he’s ever surfed at Lowers. “When I get a good score early on I can relax and just get a couple of waves,” but he admits that “it’s a roll of the dice for who can win a contest or heat. It’s great to have [guys like Brother, Evan, Droid and Luke Davis] pushing you and it’s fun to see the younger guys step up and do well.”

As Friday progressed, so did the surfing. Round two of the Boys U16 division saw two perfect scores. One from Kolohe Andino, who appears to be on track for a repeat performance-in 2009 he clinched both, the Boys U18 and U16 Surfing America USA Titles-the other from Parker Coffin for his impressive display of technique, variety and strength.

The pair then came head to head on Sunday during the Boys U16 Quarter Finals. They spent the heat battling for first. Ultimately, Parker triumphed; upsetting Kolohe’s streak of first place finishes thus far in the contest.

The action didn’t stop there. The U18 Girls put on an impressive display of athleticism with Lakey Peterson posting the highest heat total of the day on Friday, an 18.4 out of 20 possible points, only to outdo herself with an air reverse for a perfect 10 on Sunday.

2008 Surfing America USA Champ Courtney Conlogue, competing this year for the last time before she ages out, started her Girls U18 Round 2 heat a little behind the bubble, but came back strong to take the win during the final minutes.

“I got stuck in the lull and was sitting a little too far out for the low tide,” said Courtney. “I definitely made a few mistakes, but I won’t be making those in the next heat and hopefully I’ll make the finals.”

Come Sunday any mistakes Courtney had made were a thing of the past as she blasted through her Girls U18 Quarter Final scoring a 9.17 barrel-ride and 9.5 buzzer beater for the win.

Also, surfing well was defending champ Kaleigh Gilchrist. The Girls U18 Title is certainly not going to be won without a fight. “Everyone in this event is your competition,” adds Courtney. :You never want to underestimate anyone; you could be off and they could be having the heat of their life.”

Rounding out Friday afternoon, media and brand teams took to the water for the Annual PacSun Battle of the brands. PacSun’s Battle of the Brands is a fun, industry, team contest in which each of the Surfing America industry brand and media sponsors select surfers to compete on their behalf.

Competitors included Brand Teams from Billabong, Hurley, O’Neill, New Era and Vans. Media Teams represented SURFER, SURFING, Transworld SURF, Fuel TV and Surfline.

Team O’Neill, reigning Battle of the Brands Brand Champion, has won this event every year since its inception three years ago and this year was no exception. However, there was a brief moment after Keanu Asing’s double whammy for team Billabong that O’Neill slipped into second, but it was short-lived.

At the end of the day, O’Neill and SURFING Magazine walked away victorious. For their win, O’Neill gets a special in-store promotion from PacSun. For theirs, SURFING has earned a $10,000 PacSun ad buy.

Bringing Sunday to a stellar close were the groms of the Girls U16 and U14, Boys U14 and U12 divisions. The bombing surf was triple overhead for many of these competitors, but they stepped up to the challenge dropping bombs of their own in pursuit of a 2010 Surfing American USA Championship Title.

Boys U14 Round 2 saw Joshua Moniz pull a 9.5 on his birthday to runaway with the win leaving Kanoa Igarashi and Pat Curren to wrestle for second. With just minutes to go, Kanoa came from behind to advance over Curren.

The 2010 Surfing Amerca Championships concludes tomorrow, Monday June 28. In addition to crowning champions in each of the remaining short board divisions and awarding the California State Parks Governor’s Cup, Monday will also feature the Challenged Athletes division with Ryan Levinson from Challenged Athlete Federation, Patrick Ivison with Life Rolls On, Dana Cummings with Amp Surf and others. For Challenged Athlete Bios log onto surfingamericalive.com.


SOURCE: Surfing America