To say it was a huge weekend for South Orange County surfing would be an understatement. Over the Memorial Day weekend, San Clemente’s own Griffin Colapinto took out the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California, and climbed to No. 1 on the WSL’s Championship Tour.
Meanwhile, back at Lowers, the San Clemente Board Riders club was able to defend its national club title and was crowned U.S. Board Riders national champs.
Colapinto’s win at the Surf Ranch was monumental in many ways. Having made two finals already this season, this marks his first Championship Tour win this year and the third of his career.
Besting Brazilian world champ Italo Ferreira in a tense, back-and-forth final at the world-class wave pool, Colapinto battled back after falling behind early. He put a stamp on his performance with a near-perfect 9.70 out of a possible 10 on his final ride.
“That final was so crazy,” Colapinto told the WSL afterward. “I’m just over the moon. I had no clue I was No. 1 until you told me, and it’s a crazy feeling being in the yellow jersey.”
Colapinto had his work cut out for him all day long. In the quarterfinals, he faced Brazilian ace Yago Dora, who set the pace at the Surf Ranch in the earlier qualifying heats. Things didn’t get any easier in the semifinals, as Colapinto went up against 2022 world champ and San Clemente resident Filipe Toledo.
A previous winner at the Surf Ranch, Toledo went into the event as a favorite to win, but Colapinto dug deep and rose to the occasion.
“It means everything to win a CT in California,” Colapinto told the WSL. “All of my friends and family are here, so to win with them here is just insane.”
Colapinto is now ranked No. 1 in the world and stands a very strong chance of making it into the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles this September.
On the women’s side, five-time world champ and previous Surf Ranch winner Carissa Moore was not to be denied in the final against San Clemente resident Caroline Marks.
“You can’t wipe the smile off my face right now, and to be sharing the podium with these amazing humans is an honor,” Moore told the WSL afterward.
Moore now sits ranked No. 1 in the world, while Marks sits in fourth—both with a good shot at making the Rip Curl WSL Finals.
Between the four men’s and women’s finalists, all of them were riding boards shaped by local craftsmen. Colapinto, Moore and Marks have been riding Matt “Mayhem” Biolos’ shapes for most of their respective careers, while Timmy Patterson has long been the man behind Ferreira’s boards.
Also going down last weekend was the U.S. Board Riders National Championship at Lowers. With surf clubs from around the country in attendance, including the Dana Point Surf Club, it was powerhouse San Clemente Board Riders that won its second national title in as many years.
Stacked with talent, from Championship Tour vets to rising stars, it was a multigenerational effort. The Space Coast squad finished second, followed by Santa Cruz in third, Encinitas in fourth and Jacksonville in fifth.
While it was a full team effort, the standout for San Clemente was Kade Matson and club MVP Kolohe Andino.
In the final heat of the day, Matson scored a perfect 10 and was able to use it as his “whammy” wave, meaning the score was doubled.
Combined with Andino’s 8.43 wave score, the two combined for a remarkable 28.43 final score line, the highest ever at the U.S. Board Riders National Championship.