Surf clubs from around the country are set to gather this weekend for a battle royale of epic proportions
The 2023 U.S. Board Riders National Championships are coming to Lowers this weekend. Hometown squad San Clemente Board Riders will look to defend its national title, while the Dana Point Surf Club would love nothing more than to play the role of spoiler and upset the country’s top clubs.
The action kicks off with the West Coast Board Riders Wheat Cup Championships on Thursday, May 25, and Friday, May 26. The top three clubs from Wheat Cup will qualify to the National Championships on Saturday, May 27.
Dana Point draws first blood on Thursday, when it will face off against Ventura, Northern L.A., Newport Beach and Carlsbad.
“All those teams have great surfers and a strong community surf tradition; it’s going to be great to see all the different generations out there doing their thing,” says Eric Diamond, Dana Point Surf Club president.
In another stacked day of competition on Friday, San Clemente will go up against Santa Cruz, Huntington Beach and Encinitas, as well as one more club from a qualifying event.
“It’s such an honor to be able to host an event like this and bring surf clubs from around the country together for some friendly competition,” says Benji Severson, San Clemente Board Riders president. “It would be killer to be able to defend our title and keep the trophy here at home. We’ll see what happens.”
Things get serious on Saturday when the National Championships kick off. Clubs from Monmouth County, New Jersey, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida, have already qualified and will be waiting for whoever emerges from the West Coast Championships.
As noted above, the top three clubs from the West advance. The second- and third-place-finishing clubs will be seeded into the initial Qualifying Round on Saturday, while the No. 1 seed will earn a spot directly into the final round.
The competition is a full-on generational clash, with each team fielding 14 surfers—two per division. The youngest age group is the Under 14 division, and it goes all the way to 50 and Over.
“This is the realization of a dream and a lot of hard work and sacrifice by a lot of people that really believe the future of surfing is local,” explains Don Meek, the Board chair for U.S. Board Riders.
“Just a few years ago, this was just a wild idea,” Meek adds. “It started with a contest between Huntington and Seal Beach, and now look at what it’s become. There are surf clubs around the country that are bringing their communities together. It’s a movement.”
As far as surf goes, the Surfline models appear to be showing a small bump in south swell on Friday, bringing the waves into the 3- to 4-foot range with relatively clean conditions.
The U.S. Board Riders National Championships will air live around the world on FUEL TV, FUEL TV+., the USBRC YouTube Channel, and on The Surf Network.
Finally, a very special congratulations to San Clemente’s Cole Houshmand, who just took the first WSL Challenger Series career victory at the Sydney Surf Pro. A mainstay on the San Clemente Board Riders squad, the win propels him 30 places up the rankings, putting him currently in third after the first two events.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Houshmand said afterward. “It all worked out in my favor, and all the hard work is paying off, so I’m so stoked.”
Also in the mix are Jett Schilling, Crosby Colapinto and Kade Matson. The Challenger Series will take the month of June off before coming back with events in South Africa and Huntington Beach.
The top 10 surfers at the end of the season qualify for the prestigious Championship Tour.