The 2019 NSSA Southwest Conference Open


Every year, the best youth surfers on the West Coast battle it out wave by wave right here in Dana Point, CA for the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Southwest Conference Open. This year’s competition will take place February 24th and 25th at Salt Creek Beach.

The NSSA is a nonprofit whose mission is to encourage members to develop fundamentals inside and out of the water. This may be perfecting their surfing and competing in structured events to learning more skills in the classroom.

The NSSA is one of the few national youth sports organizations that requires 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, and they lead up to the annual National Championships.  This event is regarded as the highest profile youth surfing event in America.

Chuck Allen brought the NSSA to Salt Creek.  He had support early on from Mike Parsons and Alissa Schwarstein. In the early eighties, Eric Diamond, who is now the president of the Dana Point Surf Club, was actually on the national team battling it out with Dana Point local Jeff Booth for first place.  Dana Point Surf Club Vice president, Pat O’Connell, was also on the national team in the late ’80s and early ’90s.  Overall, many members have represented the United States through NSSA.

This year the Dana Point Surf Club has a bunch of great young gals Elle Emery, Ryann Daly, and young gentlemen Nate Caplinger and Sean Doughty, who are currently in NSSA and will be ones to watch.

For more information on the upcoming conference including current NSSA ratings, how to qualify, or to sign up to become an NSSA member, check out the NSSA website here. The site is for anyone who is interested in the sport of surfing.  It also shares more about our young surfers in a weekly feature called, “Surfer of the Week.”

Stay connected on all of The City of Dana Point social channels for more information on youth events happening in our community all year long.