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The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and assist its members in their interest to learn and develop the fundamentals and skills of surfing competition while competing in structured and quality events. The NSSA promotes the qualities of discipline and competitive excellence while supporting the merits of academic achievement to young surfers. The NSSA strives to provide a fun surfing experience for all of its members.
The NSSA is one of the few national youth sports organizations that require its participants to maintain academic standards in order to compete. Since 1978, the NSSA program philosophy has been that athletics and scholastics go hand in hand. More than 80 NSSA events are run nationwide that culminate with the annual National Championships which is regarded as the highest profile youth surfing event in America.
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Surfer of the Week - 11/23/2020
||Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
||Penn Foster High School, 11th grade. Favorite subject: Math
||Rip Curl, Dakine, Vertra, Mokulele Airlines, Raynor, FCS, Charming Shark, Matunas, Seven Brothers, Globe, Oakley
||5’6” CI Happy or 5’7” Raynor Mixplate
|Claim to Fame:
||When Diego and his family left Hawaii for North Carolina to compete in the first ever Nationals on the east coast, they knew it would be challenging with the travel restrictions. But they were unrelenting in their pursuit, especially because of Diego’s disappointing performance in 2019 due to illness. He worked harder than ever to prepare for 2020. “Travel to the east coast was easy but we knew that coming home would be more complicated,” Diego said. “Even though it would be difficult, it was important for me to get there, put the jersey back on, and compete. 2019 Nationals was a rough one because I had been sick for a while. Having a good result at Nationals this year meant that all the work I had done was worth it.” It was more than worth it as the 16-year-old from Kailua put together a sensational campaign of heats ending with him capturing the esteemed Open Mens National title. Diego was in a strong rhythm at Jennette’s Pier, looking right at home in the firing overhead beach break peaks produced by Hurricane Epsilon. “Never would I have imagined such epic surf on the east coast,” he said. “That week, Jennette’s Pier reminded me a lot of one of my home breaks on the east side of Oahu. The surf was pumping!” Diego’s intense fortitude revealed itself in the Open Men’s semis where a broken leash mid heat did not stop him from racing back out to the lineup and nailing an 8.30 score at the hooter which put him into advancing position. “That heat was a roller coaster of emotions,” he said. “It felt like the hurricane was just outside the lineup, my leash broke in the middle of the heat and with five minutes left I was needing a score. I was so focused on getting back out to the lineup that I did not have time to doubt myself. When that wave came to me with one-minute left all I can remember is telling myself to stick the landing.” The Open Mens final was a stacker with Diego going up against Dimitri Poulos, Max Beach and fellow Hawaiian Makana Franzmann. Right off the bat, he picked up two solid waves of 6.77 and 7.27 and then put down the hammer with an excellent 9.43. “In the the final I got two good scores early, but when the heat was winding down, I was expecting one of the other competitors to throw down a crazy buzzer beater. Longest five minutes of my life! When the heat ended and I had won, it just felt surreal, I was so happy!” It surely was a monumental finish to a historic National Championship event! ## What did you like best about the waves at Jennette’s Pier? You can get big hacks on the outside and connect it to the inside to hit the close out. Age you started surfing: I was 7-years-old when my dad taught me how to surf. Favorite pro surfers: Andy Irons, because he had the best style and was amazing in all conditions. Also, the translation of Ferri from Italian is “irons”. Surf crew: Aka San Luis, Kiva Wertheimer, Kai Martin, Bruno Ferri. Fantasy superpower: Teleportation because if the waves were pumping anywhere in the world you could just snap your fingers and be there in an instant. Hobbies: Skateboarding. Local spot: Pyramid Rock. What is the best thing about living in Hawaii? It's a small island, we have waves all year round and we can always drive to the best waves quickly whether it’s north, south, east or west. Also wherever I decide to surf, I usually know at least one or two people in the lineup. Surfers from around your hometown that you look up to: There are so many surfers that I look up. Mason Ho because he is so nice to everyone in the lineup and he always looks like he is having the most fun. Mason is one of the most exciting surfers to watch in all sorts of conditions. Kekoa Bacalso because he throws more spray than anyone and is very explosive and fun to watch. He could qualify for the CT if he wanted to. Brisa Hennessy because she surfs so good and made it out of the east side from my neighborhood. She has been my big sister since way back and she is always working hard to get better. Something people don't know about you. I was a BMX state champion when I was 7-years-old. Barrels or Airs: Both-I can’t decide! Goals? Grind the QS until I make the tour and then go for a world title while having a ton of fun surfing perfect waves all over the planet. Dream wave: Warm water perfect right hand point break with a barrel section, turn section and air section on the end. If you could surf like anyone in the world who would it be? Andy Irons because he is the perfect combination of relaxed, aggressive, and powerful. Who has pushed your surfing the most? I have been very lucky to have grown up in Hawaii with an incredible group of guys who have consistently continued to push each other in surfing and skating. The friendly competition on any day out in the lineup could be like a final in a national competition. Thank you’s: Dad, Mom, Matt Myers, Kekoa Bacalso, Doug Silva, Aunty Bobbi and Brisa Hennessy.
to view the 2020 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
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to view the 2018 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
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to view the 2015 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
to view the 2014 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
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to view the 2011 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
to view the 2010 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
to view the 2009 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
to view the 2008 NSSA Surfer of the Week archives.
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