Best U18 surfers on the West Coast begin new Surfing America Prime season

Cole Houshmand of San Clemente was a double finalist, winning Boys U16 and taking second in Boys U18 at Surfing America Prime Event No. 1, Aug. 9-10 at Camp Pendleton, Del Mar Jetties. Photo: Jack McDaniel
Cole Houshmand of San Clemente was a double finalist, winning Boys U16 and taking second in Boys U18 at Surfing America Prime Event No. 1, Aug. 9-10 at Camp Pendleton, Del Mar Jetties. Photo: Jack McDaniel

By Andrea Swayne

Hey, who’s the new kid?

This question was thrown around like on the first day of school as Surfing America Prime kicked off its seventh year Aug. 9 and 10 at Camp Pendleton, Del Mar Jetties.

As last year’s invitees—those who didn’t age out—returned for the start of the 2014-2015 season, the sizing up of the competition began straightaway as the newest Prime surfers took to the lineup.

Kirra Pinkerton of San Clemente took top honors in Girls U16 at the Surfing America Prime season kick-off, Aug. 9-10 at Camp Pendleton, DMJs. Photo: Jack McDaniel
Kirra Pinkerton of San Clemente took top honors in Girls U16 at the Surfing America Prime season kick-off, Aug. 9-10 at Camp Pendleton, DMJs. Photo: Jack McDaniel

Among the new local competitors—qualifying through the Western Surfing Association and National Scholastic Surfing Association to join the Prime ranks and vie for coveted spots on the USA Surf Team—was WSA qualifier Drew Hemnes of San Clemente. Hemnes made an impressive debut in the Boys U18 division, taking first in Heat 1 then advancing again from the quarterfinals to the semis.

In the Boys U14 division, San Clementeans Hagan Johnson and Taj Lindblad turned in great performances in the Round 1 Qualifier to advance into the main rounds and Dana Point’s Bethany Zelasko earned a fourth-place finish in the Girls U16 final.

Standout return performers from San Clemente whose summer “studies” took them straight to the head of the class—first in the finals—were Kirra Pinkerton (Girls U16), Colton Ward (Boys U18) and Cole Houshmand (Boys U16). Houshmand also took second in U18.

“Wow, the new kids coming up have skills,” said announcer and USA Team coach Ryan Simmons on the mic. “The future looks bright for USA surfing!”

And so the “schooling” of the next generation of pros begins.

Colton Ward of San Clemente was the Boys U18 winner at Surfing America Prime Event No. 1, Aug. 9-10 at DMJs on Camp Pendleton. Photo: Jack McDaniel
Colton Ward of San Clemente was the Boys U18 winner at Surfing America Prime Event No. 1, Aug. 9-10 at DMJs on Camp Pendleton. Photo: Jack McDaniel

RESULTS:

BOYS U18:

1. Colton Ward, San Clemente

2. Cole Houshmand, San Clemente

3. Nolan Rapoza, Long Beach

4. Ryland Rubens, Pacific Beach

GIRLS U18:

1. Meah Collins, Costa Mesa

2. Tia Blanco, San Clemente

3. Avalon Johnson, Carlsbad

4. Samantha Lamarand, Cardiff

BOYS U16:

1. Cole Houshmand, San Clemente

2. Ryland Rubens, Pacific Beach

3. Liam Gloyd, Carlsbad

4. Braden Jones, Arroyo Grande

GIRLS U16:

1. Kirra Pinkerton, San Clemente

2. Meah Collins, Costa Mesa

3. Alyssa Spencer, Carlsbad

4. Bethany Zelasko, Dana Point

BOYS U14:

1. Noah Hill, Venice

2. Kade Matson, San Clemente

3. Sage Burke, Newport Beach

4. Tommy McKeown, Oxnard

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