Malibu High School wins the 2009 Red Bull Riders Cup in California

April 1, 2009 | Surfing
Malibu High School

The Golden State Regional Championships, the second event of the 2009 Red Bull Riders Cup season, took place this week in Ventura, California.

This stop of the Red Bull Riders Cup, the nations' premier high school surfing competition, saw The Golden State region's best high school surfers battle it out in fun but challenging conditions.  Participating high schools included Ventura High, Santa Barbra High, Carpinteria High, and Malibu High School.

The week's competition varied from major whitewashes to nail-biting close finishes but was fierce at all times.  In a repeat of last year's regional title, it was Malibu High snatching victory and taking the win over Carpinteria High.

Malibu has now booked a spot in the Red Bull Riders Cup National Championship, which will be held on June 6-7 at Upper Trestles in San Clemente.  The series now moves east to central Florida's Pelican Beach Park on March 31 - April 2.

After a very close call in Wednesday's game where Malibu squeaked by local favorites Ventura by only 0.5 points, Malibu was lucky to even make the regional championship finals.

Carpinteria, on the other hand, breezed by Santa Barbra in their first game on Tuesday but even as defending champions, went into the final as underdogs with multiple time MVP and national rising star Conner Coffin being sidelined with a fever after Tuesday's qualifier.

Sunny conditions and waist-to-chest high sets greeted the finalists in the much-anticipated match-up.  Malibu won the toss and chose to get into the water and surf first.  After a low scoring opening exchange of waves, Malibu picked up the pace and put through solid scores as the period progressed.

With only two minutes remaining in the first period and already a solid 20.5 on the board, Malibu decided to take their second time-out.  After time resumed, and with only 30 seconds remaining, a genius decision was made to sub in sophomore Skyler Lawson, who scratched into a wave and squeezed everything out of it, posting a period high score of 7.0 to bring Malibu's first period total to 24 points.   

This set the stage for a very tough battle for Carpinteria. With Conner Coffin out, they had no substitution players and had to rely heavily on all their team members to catch high-scoring waves.

Kokoro Tomatsuri opened the first period on the right track, posting a 7.0, but with Dustin Letinsky the only other Carpinteria surfer able to manage a score over 5 points, the team fell drastically short of Malibu's first period total and trailed by 6.5 points.

In the second period however, with only Conrad Car posting a score higher than 5 for Malibu with a 7.5, and a heat total of only 19 points, Carpinteria was given a slight chance to make a comeback.  Carpinteria rose to the challenge and improved on their first-period performance, equaling Malibu's second-period total by posting 19 points.  Still trailing, they needed a miracle in the final period if they were to have a chance to win.

This time Malibu was taking no chances and in their final period Conrad Car, Skyler Lawson and lone female team member and Wednesday's MVP Chandler Parr all posted high scores to shut the door with a game high 25 points.  This bought their total to 68 points, leaving Carpinteria the daunting task of scoring 32 points to win the game.

Carpinteria's Kokoro Tomatsuri and Dustin Letinsky put up a good fight with solid final period waves, but in the end, team depth and the loss of Conner Coffin showed through and proved the difference, with Malibu taking the win by 13.5 points.

In a show of great sportsmanship during the presentation ceremony, Malibu High gave a victorious chant in their rival's name, yelling "CARP!" with all hands in.

While MVP Skyler Lawson celebrated in the parking lot with a joyous "We won!" it was Malibu coach Rich Lawson who had the last word, reminding his team "we still have some more to win," referring to their shot at the Red Bull Riders Cup National Championships on June 6-7 at Trestles. 

Competition Schedule:

Mar 16-19                 Santa Cruz Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz
Mar 24-26                 Golden State Seaside Park (Surfers Point) Ventura
Mar 31-Apr 2         Central FL Pelican Beach Park
Apr 15-16                 South Bay El Porto 45th St. Manhattan Beach
Apr 21-23                 North FL New Smyrna/Ponce Inlet
May 4-9                 New Jersey 3rd-9th street, Ocean City
May 19-21                 Orange County Huntington Beach Pier
May 26-28                 San Diego Seaside Reef
June 6-7                 Championship Upper Trestles