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Huge waves complement surf contest in Santa Cruz

Posted: Monday, Jan 13th, 2014

Maya Saulino executes a bold cutback on a six-foot wave Saturday at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz during the Surfing America Prime Contest. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

SANTA CRUZ — For surfers 18 years and younger, Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz was the place to be over the weekend where the fifth annual Surfing America Prime contest unfolded during a spell of giant surf.

About 130 surfers, in boys and girls divisions, were able to spell out their talent in the water as they were treated to massive waves, especially on Sunday.

“Sunday was unbelievable,” said Andrea Swayne, who helped organize the event. “We mostly had 8- to 10-foot waves with an occasional 12-footer coming through. Those waves truly gave the competitors a chance to shine.”

The contest, for short board surfers from around the U.S., is invitation only. The Santa Cruz event was stop No. 4 of a six-stop series held around the state. The next stop will be at Upper Trestle at San Onofre State Beach on Feb. 8 and 9. The final stop will be in March at Huntington Beach.

The overall winners of the contest move on Team USA.

Ben Coffee, a native Santa Cruz surfer, finished in first place Sunday, in the 18 and under. Jake Davis of Capistrano Beach placed second while Nick Hdez of Santa Cruz placed third and Nolan Rapoza came in fourth. In the girls 18 and under, Steffi Kerson of Thousand Oaks was first, Tia Blanco of San Clemente came in second, Meah Collins was third and Ashley Held, a Soquel High junior, placed fourth.

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