Looking to defend its national title, San Clemente came out swinging at the 2023/24 season opener
The 2023/24 U.S. Board Riders season is officially underway, and there is a lot to be excited about.
The first event went off on a beautiful, bluebird day at San Onofre State Park, as the defending national champion San Clemente Board Riders held off local rival Dana Point Surf Club, along with clubs from Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, to take the win.
A full generational effort, San Clemente’s squad was stacked with talent, from the 14-and-Unders all the way through the 50-and-Overs.
Making the most of the playful 3-foot, right-handers, San Clemente took the win with a commanding 237 points, while the race for second was neck and neck.
In the end, Dana Point, led by event MVP Marlo Harris, eked out the runner-up finish with 180 points to Newport’s 178 points. Laguna rounded out the results in fourth place.
Leading the charge for San Clemente was Nate Yeomans, who crushed his heat in the 40-49 division with a single wave score of 9.9—which was used as his “double whammy” wave, bringing the total up to 19.8.
The effort was enough to reward Yeomans, a former Championship Tour surfer and one of the most successful surfboard reps in the business today, with much-deserved team MVP honors. Meanwhile, San Clemente’s potent 20-29 division posted the highest heat total of the event, locking in a 37-point combined total.
But the other clubs showed up ready to compete, especially the crew from Dana Point. With their focus on community and camaraderie, they weren’t messing around when it was time to pull on the jerseys.
As mentioned, Harris, a regular in the Grom of the Week column, was named event MVP thanks to her inspired performance. Posting an 8.67 single-wave score (17.34 when doubled), she was the highest-scoring woman in the entire event.
All told, the event saw more than 330 waves ridden and scored during this first event of the season, but there’s a lot more to come. What started as a few small, start-up clubs in Orange County competing against one another, the U.S. Board Riders continues to grow and proliferate around America, with 50 clubs and seven chapters around the country.
The movement on the East Coast has gained considerable traction, as chapters and clubs are forming from Florida to New Jersey. With their rich surf heritage and culture, the East Coast clubs are going to be a force to be reckoned with as they get their feet under them.
And across the Pacific, the Hawaii Board Riders are also picking up steam.
Former Championship Tour star Sebastian “Seabass” Zietz and his wife, Krisy, first launched a club on Kauai. Just last week, they announced two new clubs on Oahu to represent the North and South Shores of the island, which they’ve aptly named Town and Country.
Maui and the Big Island are also expected to field clubs in the not-too-distant future.
For the next six months, clubs around the country will battle it out in local, regional events and vie for the opportunity to compete at the U.S. Board Riders National Championships, which will take place at Lower Trestles this May.
The next event of the season on the West Coast comes to the North Central division and will take place on Dec. 2 at the Huntington Beach Pier. San Clemente and Dana Point will compete next February, when Newport Beach hosts the next event of the South Central division. Dana Point will host another event at Salt Creek at the end of April.