Top surfers wait through meager waves
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Isaiah Moniz is from the south shore of Oahu in Hawaii. His local surf spot is one that barely has any waves, and when he and his friends paddle out, they have make sure they are not being watched by guards who patrol the beach to keep trespassers out.
On Friday, Moniz, 17, was surfing the south side of the Huntington Beach pier along with hundreds of other surfers competing in the NSSA National Championships.
South Side is a historic spot. The U.S. Open of Surfing is held here every year and can usually be counted on to provide continuous glassy waves, unlike Moniz's home beach. But when the Hawaiian took to the water as part of the Open Men's division (men of all ages), there were hardly any waves to be found.
The swells were uncharacteristically few and far between, making the surfers wait for a majority of their 20 minute heats
"It was really tough. Super long waits and when it comes it's still barely anything," Moniz said, "But everyone has to deal with the same thing so you just have to make the most of what you get."
When someone did catch a wave, it was up to the surfer to show off his or her skill keeping a mediocre wave and executing on it.
Moniz was in fourth position in his afternoon heat and was looking to make a jump into either of the top two advancing positions. He didn't need much of a score given the day's low scoring, but a nice run on a wave that lasted all the way through to the inside secured him a second-place finish and a spot in today's qualifying stages.
The Open Men's division is just one of many in this week's national championships. Competition started Sunday and culminates with tomorrow's final rounds.
By then Moniz is hoping that the waves will return and live up to their reputation.
"When we do come (to Huntington Beach) it's fun because it's not like home," he said. "Hopefully it gets a little better for the last two days."