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By Andrea Swayne
Dane Matson, 10, of San Clemente, hit another amateur surf career milestone on March 20 at the Huntington Beach Pier, taking his first season win in National Scholastic Surfing Association Open Conference competition.
The Mini Grom division victory marked his fourth of the season and solidified his place as the 2015/2016 season champion.
The Concordia Elementary fifth grader said he has been putting in a lot of extra effort lately, training to reach this goal.
“I’ve been surfing a lot, every day after school, and especially practicing my bottom turns,” Dane said. “Bottom turn is key.”
He said he has also been relying on the support of his family for helping him to take his surfing to another level.
“My parents have been taking video of me surfing, and we watch it at home to see what I could’ve done better,” Dane said. “And I’ve been looking up to my big brother (Kade). He’s been teaching me a lot—when he’s home. He’s been gone a lot lately, so I’ve really been missing him. He was so stoked when he found out I won. He’s coming home this week from Australia and I’m super psyched for him to come back and surf with me more.”
After winning the Western Surfing Association U10 division last season, finishing No. 5 in U12 and realizing his goal of earning an invitation to compete in this season’s Surfing America Prime series, Dane said he set his sights on winning the NSSA Open Mini Grom title this season.
“When I got my last wave (in the final) I was under the pilings and I couldn’t really hear my score,” he said. “When I came in, I heard the announcement and I was just really happy. Now I want to win Regionals and Nationals next. It would be sick to do well in the USA Championships too.”
Dane said he plans on stepping up his training efforts even more in anticipation of the upcoming championship events.
“I am going to be surfing morning and afternoon, every day,” he said. “Oh yeah, and keep on working on my bottom turns. Like I said, bottom turn’s key.”