On January 20th-21st, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Nation's top amateur surfers embarked on the chilly waters of Santa Cruz, California to compete in the annual Surfing America Prime, held at Steamer Lane. A handful of Rip Curl's talented super groms packed their parents vans, grabbed their thickest rubber, step-up boards and booties, in preparation of the challenging Santa Cruz conditions. Colin Deveze, Sean Woods, Crosby Colapinto, and Danielle Wyman we're set to do battle.
After 8 hours on the road, full of Pandora radio, instagram, and friendly heckles; the groms arrived to find sunny skies and clean conditions. With solid swell on forecast it was good to arrive a day in advance to practice surfing the multiple tricky peaks of The Lane.
As the competition proceeded the groms were not only competing against each other, but also 'never-ending' 15 wave sets, packed with ice cream headaches. During Deveze's semi-final clash, the San Clemente native needed only a 3 point score to advance. With one minute on the clock, Deveze caught an inside double-up. As he approached the lip on his first maneuver he was way too late, and fell backwards into the foam. The crowd went silent as they assumed he fell, astonishingly Deveze somehow emerged to an eruption of the crowd. Deveze finished the wave with 4 more turns and moved onto the finals.
In the finals it was Rip Curl's Danielle Wyman, 17, Dana Point, who was on fire all event as she took home 3rd place honors in the Women's Under 18 division. 11-year-old, Crosby Colapinto of San Clemente, was absolutely charging the double overhead waves as he advanced to his first ever final in the Prime Event Series! Crosby finished a respectable 4th place in the 14 & Under division. In the 16 & Under final, Colin Deveze gave it his best effort and fished with 3rd place and spaghetti arms after surfing 6 total heats in the challenging conditions.
After two full days at Steamer Lane, the competitors packed in their family vans, drove straight to the nearest In-N-Out Burger for a double double, and passed out for the remainder of the drive.
Till next time Santa Cruz... Live The Search
Photos courtesy: Justin Jung and McDaniel/Surfing America