mwallace's blog

HMB High Surf Team Hook Results

HMB High Surf Team Hook Results:

The Cougar Surf Team finally got around to its second contest of the season amid spectacular weather at the Hook and some clean, shifty, contestable right peelers on the famous reef. It was a relief to get the season back under way after a long stretch of cancelled comps, wild weather and swell.

Team Round:

HMB (49) came up just shy of Soquel (54), unfortunately narrowly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The 5-point difference was a matter of just one or two surfers placing higher, but illness and lack of practice due to the unruly weather took their toll. Notable advancers to individual round were in men's shortboard Clay Johnson (1), Coel Miller (3), Ryan Bair (2) and Nate Feix (3) in a solid pair of heats. Women's shortboard saw Emma Stone (1) through, who also placed (3) in longboard. Hot dog logger Andy Vana (3) also went through for men's longboard.

Alternate/Individual Round:

Several surfers stepped up in the alternate round. Andy Vana (3), Nick Wiley (2) and Mitchell King (3) advanced in shortboard before surrendering in the quarters along with Ryan Bair. Grayson Capers advanced in longboard, as did Ella Catalano-Dockens (2) before exiting in the quarters. Kacie Sorfleet rode her shortboard alternate berth all the way to the women's finals.

Grayson and Andy made some stylish runs through the inside, but their busy longboard heat strategy ended in the semi-finals after a fun day. Coel bowed out in men's shortboard semis after some tactical power surfing, as did Nate. Both Clay and Emma made multiple critical turns that turned the judges heads in their semi-final shortboard victories. Emma was the standout of the day in a dominant display, placing first in every heat right through the finals in a very seasoned performance for the freshman. Clay was let down by a lully heat and lack of commitment to holding a strong position in the line-up.

Final Results:

Clay Johnson: (5) men's shortboard
Emma Stone: (1) women's shortboard
Kacie Sorfleet (6) women's shortboard

We'll have some work to do before the next contest, which is scheduled for February 25-26 at the Lane.


Coach Mike

SCSSL Hook Contests Cancelled this Weekend

From SCSSL Director Susan:

Hi coaches,

Unfortunately conditions for this weekend are deteriorating. The forecast is for rain and strong south winds and it's unlikely that we will have a large enough window of contestable surf to run a full contest.

The contests this weekend are CANCELLED. I will let you know the make up dates when I have them.

Thanks for your hard work and for being flexible!


Hey, you, goofy-footer!

Hey, you, goofy-footer!

There are some great video resources out there if you really want to improve you surfing technique. It can be challenging competing in Santa Cruz, the land of the right hand point break. But Surfline has posted a really helpful tutorial on how to crack the whip backside with Ace Buchan, narrated by former World Champ Barton Lynch (another right foot forward legend):

How to do Backside Carves With Ace Buchan

'It all comes back to the bottom turn,' says Ace
Hurley also has been running a serious of videos from the likes of team riders Michel Bourez and Kolohe Andino, which are archived here. So, even if you can't get in the water every day, you can do some mind surfing before this weekend's comp (so long as you get your other homework done first).
How-To Videos

Unlock your surfing potential with The Hurley Surf Club. Improve your technique with personal coaching, how-to videos and tips from the world's best athletes

Coach Mike

High School Surf Team Pics from Capitola

High school Surf Team -

Andre Bouchard has a couple hundred shots from the Capitola contest, including several interesting series that could be useful to review before this weekend's comp. Many thanks to Andre for taking the time to shoot and load these for the team. Details are below.


Coach Mike

From Andre: "I have loaded the full sequence of the ride and will leave these up for a week for parents and boys/girls to download their favorites. After a week, I will reduce the number of pics to just the best shots. Let me know if you have any issues with downloading. Please forward the link to other parents."

11-06-16-Capitola - Andre Bouchard
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this link is accessible via the smugmug app. Please note you do not need to sign up for an account to view these pictures.

11-06-16-Capitola - Andre Bouchard
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This gallery hosted by SmugMug; your photos look better here.

HMB High Surf Team Results from Capitola

HMB High Surf Team Capitola Results:

It was an action-packed Super Sunday for HMB with one of the strongest WNW winter swell pulses so far washing the season opener from Waddell to the relative protection of Capitola in Santa Cruz. Clean head-high lefts and rights swung through the line-up with contestable regularity, though there were indeed some lully heats. Crowds were on hand too, which meant certainly more than 5 other competitors in the line-up (ahem, no HMB coaches were seen near the main peak, though
"Team Geriatric" surf-toured all the way from the Hook to the Capitola Pier).

It was a nervous start for the team as a whole, with some very strong individual performances, but that belied the depth and talent of HMB, which is sure to emerge later in the season.

Team Round:

HMB (38) fell to an in-form and deep Santa Cruz high (66), but advanced a handful of surfers to the individual round. Men's shortboard saw Coel Miller (3) and Nate Feix (3) advance, along with Emma Stone (1) from women's shortboard and in men's longboard Clay Johnson (2) rallied through as well.

Alternate/Individual Round:

Several team alternates made wise use of their opportunity here. In men's shortboard as Andy Vana (2), Nic Bouchard (3) and Tanner Islander (3) made it through to the quarters before bowing out. Andy also advanced in men's longboard (2) before being halted in the semis (4). This was Nic's first comp and he displayed contest skills well beyond his limited comp experience.

Coel (3) and Nate (2) extended their run out of the quarters in men's shortboard, but ran out of waves in the semi-finals, finishing 6 and 5 there respectively after an abundance of strong power hacks and mature finishing maneuvers over the course of the day. Freshmen Clay Johnson and Emma Stone should be applauded for grinding it out all the way to the finals in men's longboard and women's shortboard, respectively. Clay was on point all day after trading the left with world-class longboarder CJ Nelson in the morning. He waited for quality waves to display his cross-stepping and critical nose rides, followed by 360 spins for finishing maneuvers. Emma won all her heats until the finals, when the fluky sets conspired against her. Very solid bottom and top turn combos will serve her well this season.

Final Results:

Emma Stone: (4) women's shortboard
Clay Johnson: (3) men's longboard - full results and ranking can be found here over the course of the season.

The next contest will be upon us fast, scheduled for November 19-20 at either Pleasure Point/Hook or even Waddell depending on the forecast.


Coach Mike

Surf Contest Nutrition Update

Surf Contest Nutrition:

I have been asked to resend this note from last year ahead of our first contest this weekend (thanks Andre!), which is an essential part of each surfer's recipe for success. Those planning on surfing more than one heat on contest day should be prepared to bring healthy snacks in their contest packs. Noshing in small portions between heats and staying hydrated is key -- keeping your energy levels elevated over the course of a potentially long day, even if you'd rather free surf, is crucial.

"Healthy snacks" include the likes of power bars (Kashi- or granola-type), trail mix, grapes, bananas, cuties (tangerines), veggie sticks, multi-grain chips or crackers, Gatorade, or juice mixed with water in your water bottles, etc. Or pick your favorite, so long as you can peck away at your snacks over the course of the contest, metabolize them easily and stay fueled. Donuts (again, sorry Marty!!), pizzas, hamburgers, burritos or other big entre's can wait until after the comp and will not leave you light on your feet or belly. Coaching studies have found that on contest day healthy complex carbs and glucose will give you the greatest shot in the arm. And you want to be able to sustain that over the day.

Formula 1 drivers wouldn't put sugar cubes in their tanks (maybe their competitors'); so as athletes, put the "high octane" fuel in yours. Don't stand there shivering wondering when the folks are going to leave their front-row parking space to go get you a big meal. Be prepared in advance and take responsibility for your own success. A couple power bars, fruit, Gatorade at a minimum will do. This is especially true at the Hook, Lane, Manresa and Waddell, which have minimal concessions nearby.

Let's start the season strong in our first regular season comp, with some energy and passion for your sport and teams! Especially after a long and successful water polo season (Good Luck Saturday Cougars!), it's time to refuel. We will have plenty-o-swell this weekend, so don't be caught napping in your heat and let's make the next rounds. May both teams have a fantastic contest at the Hook/Capitola this weekend. Good luck!

Also, note the recent NSSA comps at the Hook had a lot of non-competitors poaching in the contest area and conflict, and we are likely to face that as well. The SCSSL wishes to remind us that they have a permit for the staging area, but not the water. Please be polite and respectful if you drop in and burn non-competitors this weekend. Remember, no heat is worth a collision and injury though. Represent your team and league with style and maturity.


Coach Mike

SCSSL 2016 / 2017 Season

SCSSL 2016 / 2017 Season

Middle School / High School
Middle and High School dates will be finalized the Wednesday before the contest.

November 5 and 6, 2016 Waddell

November 19 and 20, 2016 Pleasure Point / The Hook

January 28 and 29, 2017 The Hook / Pleasure Point

February 25 and 26, 2017 The Lane

March 18 and 19, 2017 Manresa

State Championships
High School: April 22 - 24, 2017 Oceanside Harbor
Middle School: May 6 - 7, 2017 Oceanside Harbor

**all dates and venues are subject to change, see for updates and further information.

Your Coaches

Summer Jobs at Maverick's

Summer Jobs at Maverick's:

The Maverick's Surf Shop in Princeton Harbor may have a couple openings for any junior or senior in high school surfers who haven't yet lined up a summer job. Great place to work and be close to all the surf action.

For more information, contact Cassandra Clark at:


Coach Mike

SCSSL End of Season Awards Ceremony

SCSSL End of Season Awards Ceremony:

Great job HMB middle and high school surf teams on your epic 2015/16 El Nino season, pulling down a couple of very respectable third place finishes for the team category!!

Individual Placings for the season:

Middle School:

Co-Ed Bodyboard - Andy Vanna 6th
Boys Longboard - Clay Johnson 2nd, Luca Padua 4th
Boys Shortboard - Clay Johnson 5th
Girls Longboard - Emma Stone 5th
Girls Shortboard - Emma Stone 2nd

High School:

Mens Longboard - Hunter Murison 6th
Mens Shortboard - Hunter Murison 4th
Womens Longboard - Kaira Wallace 1st
Womens Shortboard - Kaira Wallace 4th

The competition from Santa Cruz was fierce this year, while we were hard pressed to pull off consistent practices in this historic winter season (The Eddie Went!). You had to overcome a lot of adversity and wild contest conditions, rising like an orange and black tide to the occasion.

Kudos! See you next year...

Coach Mike

Middle School Surf Team States Results

Middle School Surf Team States Results:

Conditions Saturday started out rainy and blustery with 3-5' peaks, and by the afternoon we were all enjoying a typical sunny Southern California day with the combo swell filling in. Those conditions played into our HMB surfers' strengths, as a number of our rippers advanced from the team rounds to the individual rounds at the Scholastic Surf Series Middle School State Championships.

Team Round:

Clay Johnson advanced in Boy's shortboard Saturday, but was eliminated in round 2. He also advanced with a 1st place in Boy's longboard. Luca Padua handily advanced through both rounds 1 and 2 in Boy's shortboard. Andy Vana just missed advancement in Boy's shortboard and Boy's longboard. Nick Wiley missed advancing in Boy's shortboard but advanced in Boy's longboard. Emma Stone advanced in her Girl's shortboard round, scoring a 9.5 (out of 10) on a single wave earning her 1st place. She also advanced with a 1st place in Girl's longboard.

Individual Round:

Sunday was a whole new game. We showed up to find a consistent 6-10ft bombing south swell. Surfers on the south side lucked out, able to use the channel/rip along the jetty, but surfers on the north side had to fight their way through 10 minute-long close-out sets. Clay continued to advance in Boy's longboard earning 1st place in both the quarter and semi finals. Luca advanced through round 3 in heavy conditions on the north side, but was eliminated in the Boy's shortboard quarter final. Andy Vana advanced with a solid 2nd place in round 1 in Co-ed bodyboard, but his run ended in the quarter final. Nick Wiley also advanced in Co-ed bodyboard, but just missed advancement to the semi final and was eliminated in the quarter final as well. Nick also advanced in Boy's longboard to round 2. Emma had a marathon day with a total of 5 heats all on the north side. Her luck ran out in round 2 for Girl's longboard, but she marched through all the rounds into Girl's shortboard finals.


Clay Johnson caught two of the biggest bombs of the event in his Boy's longboard final and that enabled him to lock down a fantastic 2nd place finish in the State Championships. Emma Stone endured a 10 minute double overhead set and yet was still able to catch three solid waves to finish 3rd in the State in a very tightly contested Girl's shortboard final. The HMB middle school placed 4th overall in Boy's longboard in the State.

Honorable Mention: Scott Johnson surfed the coaches' longboard final with the team hooting him on from the jetty and he finished with a solid 5th place.

Congratulations to all five surfers and coaches! Way to represent HMB at the SSS Middle School State Championships!

Coach Adam

HMB High Surf Team - State Championship Results

HMB High Surf Team States Results:

It was a special final long weekend of 2015/16 surf competition for the Cougar Surf Team at Oceanside Harbor Jetties from May 16-18 for the "Scholastic Surf Series" State Championships. Balmy weather and contestable surf prevailed for much of the contest window, though surfers had to make adjustments for a falling tide, rising winds and parallel heats during the course of the day and event.

Team Comp Saturday:

HMB men's longboard team advanced to semifinals, anchored by Hunter Murison (1), Malcolm Feix (3) and Coel Miller (5), before falling to San Diegito by a point. The Women's longboard team advanced to quarters, led by Kaira Wallace (1), Mia O'Brien (4) and Kacie Sorfleet (5), before matching up against a seasoned San Clemente team led by the WSL Women's longboard World Champion and narrowly losing by a point as well. Highlights in men's shortboard round I were a 1st place by Malcolm Feix, while Hunter Murison took 2nd in his shortboard heat and 1st in his longboard round 1 heat. Kaira Wallace also took first in both short and longboard heats. Some savvy contest surfing, especially the women's team by grabbing key last-second back-up waves on the inside made all the difference.

Individuals Comp Monday:

In the individual competition, the shredding Cougars had a really outstanding day with a number of impressive advancements. Freshman Ryan Bair made quarters (5) in men's shortboard with newfound confidence and another freshman Nate Feix made semifinals (4) with a heroic effort, while Hunter Murison advanced to the repassage stage (4th - just one shy of finals). Hunter was a force to be reckoned with for much of the comp with electric top-turns and sizzling runs to the beach, advancing the furthest of any NorCal competitors in shortboard. Hunter (5) and Mitchell King (6) also advanced to men's longboard quarters by connecting high-speed sections with style and raw power before succumbing more fleet classical cross-stepping competitors.

Kaira Wallace advanced to the finals of both women's short and longboard, where she placed 6th and 5th respectively in the State Championships after 8 arduous heats, a first for HMB, and the only competitor to double-final at the event. She was also the top NorCal finalist.

Special thanks to all the parents who helped with the BBQ Saturday, especially grill-masters Bill Sorfleet and Clark Capers. We also bid adieu to 3 graduating seniors: current Team Captain Hunter and former team captains Malcolm and Kaira, who will be sorely missed as they head off to college. Well done HMB on a fine finish to the season and good luck to the Cunha Surf Team next month!


Coach Mike

HMB High Surf Team Results from the Hook

HMB High Surf Team results from the Hook:

HMB finished the regular season with a solid performance in clean and contestable surf at the Hook on Sunday, unperturbed by the high tide lulls and swing sets that made lining up the best waves a distinct challenge. The weather was pretty balmy to start and the forecast contrary south winds fortunately never showed, though the tide drain and mist later kept team on its toes.

Team Round:

HMB (60) took down rival Santa Cruz Moutain (45), doing the heaviest damage in the first two rounds where a remarkable 5 out of 6 men's shortboarders from HMB advanced. Many of our surfers had taken part in a Life Guard training swim qualifier the day prior, in a testament to the superb fitness of our surfers. Hunter Murison (1), Nate Feix (2) and Coel Miller (3) swept the first heat and Malcolm Feix (1) and Ryan Bair (3) advanced in the second. In women's shortboard Kaira Wallace (1) advanced. Men's longboard saw Coel (2) and Hunter (3) progress, while in women's longboard Kaira (1) also moved forward.

Individual Round:

In the alternate seed into the individual round Mitchell King asserted himself by advancing from men's shortboard (1) and longboard (2) with keen wave selection and energetic carving. Our favorite twin competitors Nikki Sorfleet also moved on in women's longboard (3) and Kacie Sorfleet in women's shortboard (3). Nate, Mitchell, Coel and Malcolm ended their run in quarter finals of men's shortboard, while Hunter and Mitchell made the semi-finals of men's longboard before retiring. Nikkie bowed out in women's longboard semis and her sister Kacie in women's shortboard semis after some newly inspired surfing. Freshman Ryan Bair stuck with the plan to get on the first set waves and rode them maturely to men's shortboard semis. Hunter did his best imitation of WSL Snapper Rocks victor Matt Wilkinson with a deadly backside attack through the early rounds, but the wave-starved shortboard final was not his friend. Kaira finished the season strongly with solid tactical positioning, improved fitness and adapted her game well to the shifty conditions.

Final Results:

Kaira Wallace: (3) women's shortboard, (1) women's longboard
Hunter Murison: (5) men's shortboard

Special shout out to Team Padua for providing a very tasty hot plate lunch to both the junior and senior high teams this weekend. Gino and Wendy - we really appreciate you going the extra mile. Tom Feix thanks for running the heat results.

Next up is the SSS State Championships in Oceanside the weekend of April 16th. I want to meet or speak with each of you over the next week or two to discuss individual training plans/techniques to work on for states. There will be only Sunday practices if conditions permit.


Coach Mike

SCSSL Weekend Comp Schedule Released

SCSSL Weekend Comp Schedule Released:

From Susan Coffey:

The conditions look good for the coming weekend! The team vs team schedule is below. Please note the 7:30 start time to the day. It’s still a bit dark at 7:00 since the time change so we’re pushing it back 30 minutes.

We will run the middle schools on Saturday at the Hook and the high schools on Sunday at Pleasure Point (with the Hook as a back up location). We will make the final decision on the location for the high school contest when we arrive Sunday morning so make sure your team knows to look for us. We won’t be hard to spot!


Middle School: Saturday, March 19 at the Hook

7:30 Aptos v SC Mountain
9:00 New Brighton v Mission Hill
10:30 Shoreline v Half Moon Bay

High School: Sunday, March 20 at Pleasure Point (with the Hook as a back up)

7:30 Aptos v Harbor / Carmel
8:45 Soquel v Santa Cruz
10:00 Half Moon Bay v SC Mountain

Let me know if you have any questions.
See you this weekend,
Susan and Ward

****HMB High Squad: please be at the venue by 9 am for a team meeting.****

High School Surf Team State Championships Forms

High School Surf Team State Championships Forms:

Coaches will be submitting the team roster and fee for states this week, which will be covered by the Surf Club, but surfers will have to fill out two forms to take part: an "Individual Competition Entry Form" (for those who wish to take part in this additional event Monday, April 18) and "Student Membership" waiver (required for both team and individual events).

1) "Individual Competition Entry Form"

- Specify which individual events you wish to take part in - $50/event
- You must get a coach's signature on the form
- Surfers will send in their own individual entries, membership waiver and checks

2) "Student Membership" waiver

- Everyone must fill out the form online and submit directly
- Then print out form and include with your individual entry form with a check
- If not participating in individuals, print a copy send to the SSS

Let's try to get this all done by this weekend's practice for coach signatures. The drop-dead due date is April 4th, but by then many of the slots may be filled. Surfers are responsible for their own individual entries, payment and getting a coach's signature.


Coach Mike

HMB High Surf Team Results at the Lane

HMB High Surf Team Results at the Lane:

The sleeping giant Cougar Surf Team final awoke on Saturday, breaking a 3-contest losing streak with renewed energy and panache in challenging conditions at the marquee Steamer Lane. High tide in the morning, sunny skies and offshores greeted the squad, with solid overhead short-period swell ensuring plenty of large waves. Heats mostly ran at the Slot before at high tide before shifting over toward Middle Peak and Indicators as the tide plunged to negative in the afternoon, making for some tricky positioning decisions in the heats. Surfers were forced to enter the contest zone off the point and exit all the way at the statue or Cowells in the early rounds, followed by a biathlon-like run-around for their next wave or heat. To put it in perspective, locals were surfing their Maverick's guns out the back by the afternoon. HMB surfers were hooted into waves by the likes of former WSL Rookie of the Year Nat Young, who was rumored prowling the line-up.

Team Round:

HMB (61) handily prevailed over a depleted Harbor/Carmel (31), with the men's shortboard team in particular really stepping it up, with Hunter Murison (1) and Coel Miller (2) advancing in heat one, while Nate Feix (1) and Malcolm Feix (2) advancing in heat two. In women's shortboard Kaira Wallace placed (1) and Mia O'Brien (2). Men's longboard saw Coel (2) and Hunter (3) also advance, while in women's longboard Nikki Sorfleet (2) and Kaira (3) made it through to individuals.

Individual Round:

In the alternate round Malcolm Feix (1) took the back door in longboard and rode that opportunity all the way to the finals. While Dominic Padua failed to advance on shortboard alternate, in a major coup he challenged the Lane on his own self-shaped board and fins, while Nate (6) was halted at quarters. Nikki (6) bowed out in women's longboard semis, but only after a very courageous effort in huge, hollow surf at low tide. It was the Coel, Malcolm and Hunter show after that, with the first two lighting up the Lane with their power surfing into BOTH short- and longboard finals. Coel stole the show with aggressive turns, grab-rail cut-backs and strong finishing, while Malcolm heroically overcame a cold to double-final (same as last year at Kelly). Hunter was unfortunate to bow out in mens' shortboard semis, but advanced to men's finals in longboard. All three caught some epic Middle-peak bombs in longboard semis (HMB swept) and finals, fighting off the local gun-slingers. Kaira scratched into finals in both divisions as well.

Titans of the Lane:

Final Results:

Kaira Wallace: (5) women's shortboard, (1) women's longboard
Coel Miller: (4) men's shortboard, (3) men's longboard
Malcolm Feix: (3) men's shortboard, (4) men's longboard
Hunter Murison: (2) men's longboard

That's three double finalists folks and a 1st and 2nd place in women's and men's longboard at a world class break where home court advantage is huge. Tremendous job HMB! Very proud of the rebound in this team and the character and energy they reclaimed. Next comp is March 19-20, mostly likely at Pleasure Point.


Coach Mike

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