Prime Time: Nat Young, Courtney Conlogue Win PacSun WSA Prime At DMJs—By Mike Fish
So the old saying goes: one door closes and another opens. When a prominent U.S. amateur surfing organization discontinued membership with Surfing America, the Western Surfing Association’s (WSA) Greg Cruse had an idea. “It came to me when I was lying in bed in February thinking about how the WSA could accommodate kids who wanted to make the U.S Team coming from other organizations that weren’t part of Surfing America anymore,” said Cruse.
The result is a six-event WSA amateur tour this season, featuring four-man heats, ASP certified judges judging, computer scoring, and announcers. And it kicked off this past weekend (September 27-28) with the invite only WSA Prime held at the fabled DMJ’s on Camp Pendleton.
“In California, there’s places where there’s always surf contests,” Cruse said, “You know, where the permit’s cheap and the surf is usually marginal. But for the prime, we wanted to have the prime location here at DMJ’s, a first ever.”
“It’s a hard permit to get,” said Cruse. “But the military was really great. And one of the things that helped them secure the permit was the fact that these kids are going to feed into the U.S. Championships and the U.S. Team.”
U.S. Team Coach Joey Buran shared the enthusiasm. “I’m just really happy to see a six-event tour with ISA/ WQS style judging,” Buran said. “It’s a step in the right direction. And anything that furthers American surfing is a good thing. We have a ways to go. But all you can do is keep training.”
Ironically, at the start of the two-day event’s action on Saturday, a number of touted U.S. Team members lost out in Round One (including Dane Zuan and Chase Wilson), which shook things up. But the team members that did make it through carried that momentum through to the end in the marquee Under 18 divisions.
Courtney Conolgue’s performance was untouched in Girls, as she snagged the crown with plenty of headroom. It was a bit more of dual between top Boys shredders Nat Young and Riley Metcalf, and leading into the finals it was still anyone’s game.
“Nat’s always really good,” said Metcalf, who was surfing strong and in form, after the Semis. “Nat never has a bad day. If he gets a good ride, he’s gonna win.”
And that prediction proved accurate as Young secured the title by a whopping eight points. “I wanted to land an air but also wanted to make the heats,” said Young. “I just tried to get as many waves as possible and put up good scores before trying real progressive stuff.”
“I’ve never been here before, so this has been a really cool experience,” said Young, regarding his first visit to DMJ’s. Seeing all the army stuff is pretty awesome, too.”
The Santa Cruz native must have brought the cool weather with him, as the contest saw a couple of unseasonably cool days in North County San Diego. “Hey, it’s warmer than back home,” said Young with a chuckle.
Both he and Conlogue are sitting in first place in the WSA ratings. But for other West Coasters, the contest may have been a bit of a wake up call. “It just shows me what I need to work with them on,” said Buran. “Because some of them look absolutely clueless out there.”
And what does he attribute that to?
“They’re teenagers, man,” Buran said. “I’ve got three of them in my own house. They’re also a lot of fun, too.”
Final Results For The PacSun WSA Prime 2008 At DMJs
Boys Under 18
1. Nat Young
2. Riley Metcalf
3. Nathan Carvalho
4. Christian Arballo
Boys Under 16
1. Ian Crane
2. Luke Davis
3. Taylor Thorne
4. Jared Thorne
Boys Under 14
1. Parker Coffin
2. Taylor Clark
3. Colin Moran
4. Kanoa Igarashi
Girls Under 18
1. Courtney Conlogue
2. Lakey Peterson
3. Nage Malamed
4. Natalie Anzavino
Girls Under 16
1. Emmy Merrill
2. Catherine Clark
3. Lulu Erkeneff
4. Danielle Wyman