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2007 NSSA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS The New Kings Are Crowned

| posted on July 22, 2010


Hundreds of grommets converged on the beach for the final day of the 2007 NSSA Nationals, killing it in water as well as on land; the little mischief makers turned the Rusty inflatable clown into a tumbling wake-up call for bystanders.

At least no one was locked in the bathroom with zip ties anymore.

Although the morning started off with clean waves, in the second heat of the women’s semi-finals, after a bar-raising 9.5 by Coco Ho, both Amy Nicholl and Carissa Moore battled for the same wave, with Nicholl receiving a contested interference call.

The ruling would stand, however, sending Moore and Ho to the finals. There they met Alana Blanchard and Sage Erickson, with the lion’s share of the waves being split between Ho and Moore.

“Me and Carissa Moore have been dawn patrolling every morning, getting some before everyone else,” said Ho, a system that seemed to pay off. But as Moore explained, the competition is never easy,

“The girls in the NSSA are improving so much, and it’s challenging right now, I think we’re all pushing each other. I have a lot of fun surfing against them, and I think the NSSA has helped me to grow in so many ways.”

Not long after the controversy with the girls, heavy favorite Kolohe Andino received two interference calls in the Boys’ Semifinal, disqualifying him. After a heated exchange and a light scuffle, Koa Smith seized the opportunity to advance.

Koa Smith advanced to the finals, but was disappointed with his performance in the end.

“Everything went pretty smoothe until the finals. I had some good ones, but the judging and the surfing and everything [this week] was phenomenal,” he said.

During the Explorer heats there was nary a soul to be found on the beach, as the Nike 6.0 tent was packed to capacity for the poker championship. The Hawaiians solidified their presence on land, with Mikihana Minamishia taking the pot. Not only did he walk away with some fresh new bling on his wrist, but a $2,000 United Airlines flight voucher, and a 27” flat screen TV as well.

With the poker tournament concluded, the finals had the audience’s full attention. After knocking out returning champ, Kekoa Cazimero, Alex Smith and Cory Arrambide met Kai Barger and Tonino Benson in the finals.

Finishing second in his semi-final heat to Smith, Arrambide was focused and determined, “It’d mean everything to me to win it, I’ve never made a men’s final, and this is my last year so I’m gonna go for it.”

Tonino Benson wasn’t about to make it easy for him, though. With Arrambide holding the lead, Benson unleashed with a 7.25 and an 8.0 to take control. In the waning minute, Arrambide found a nice right, dismantling it all the way to the beach, but as the announcer marked 50 seconds, Benson popped up on a left, letting his fins breathe a couple times on his way to the beach.

Not knowing his fate as results were withheld until Sunday, Tonino wrapped up the week as gracefully as he did his heat, “It’s kind of hard to say how that final heat ended up, I’m not really sure, but whatever happens, I’m just excited to be surfing with everybody. It’s really fun to surf Trestles with three other guys, so I’m excited just to do that,”

FINAL RESULTS
OPEN MENS FINAL

1 Tonino Benson 15.25
2 Cory Arrambide 13.75
3 Alex Smith 13.00
4 Kai Barger 11.75

OPEN WOMENS FINAL
1 Carissa Moore 18.00
2 Coco Ho 11.00
3 Sage Erikson 10.75
4 Alana Blanchard 9.00

OPEN JUNIORS FINAL
1 Andrew Doheny 15.00
2 Keanu Asing 14.50
3 Kiron Jabour 11.50
4 Evan Geiselman 9.75
5 Nick Falbo 8.25
6 Albee Layer 7.88

OPEN BOYS FINAL
1 Kealamakia Naihe 15.50
3 Benji Brand 10.00
4 Luke Hitchcock 9.75
2 Koa Smith 13.50
5 Lahiki Minamishin 7.25
6 Makai Mcnamara 6.38

OPEN MINI GROMS FINAL
1 Benji Brand 12.50
3 Imaikalani Devault 11.75
6 Kalani David 8.75
2 Ian Gentil 12.00
5 Chaz Kinoshita 8.75
4 Kanoa Igarashi 9.50

OPEN LONGBOARD
3 Kevin Osborne 13.50
2 Christian Wach 15.50
6 Cedric Caires 7.25
4 Christian Clark 10.75
1 Troy Mothershead 15.75
5 Cole Robbins 8.50