A year ago at the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Championships, Marty Weinstein found himself lying on the beach, clutching his left ankle in pain and feeling the disappointment of an opportunity lost. This year, the scene was vastly different, as Weinstein’s lasting memory will be of him hoisting a giant trophy.
Weinstein, who will be a senior at UCSD this fall, won the NSAA men’s college championship on June 17 at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point. His score of 13.75 put him well ahead of second-place Ben Powell from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Coming together“It all came together in the final,” Weinstein said. “I didn’t really have too much rhythm the whole day, but in the final, I started strong and held the lead. It was definitely the best heat I surfed all day. I got the right waves, I was in the right position, and my team and family were on the beach cheering me on.”
Weinstein is a native of Santa Ana who grew up surfing in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and other Orange County hotspots when he could get to the beach on weekends. Since he enrolled at UCSD, he has surfed regularly at Black’s Beach, Windansea and wherever the waves are good up and down the North County coast.
He has surfed at a high level for many years, so was heartbroken at last year’s NSSA Championships when he took a hard fall and suffered an injury to his left ankle. Doctors later told him it was a severe high ankle sprain, but he may as well have broken the ankle. He wasn’t able to finish the event, and had to stay off his board for nearly four months.
Time to prepareWeinstein gave the injury enough time to heal, and was fortunate that he had plenty of time to prepare for the competitive surfing season and perfect his techniques for the championships.
The ankle held up during a long day of surfing that started at 6:30 a.m. and took him through multiple heats until the championship heat late in the afternoon.
“After my semifinal heat, I was thinking about last year and getting hurt,” Weinstein said. “I told myself, ‘I made it, and I’m shooting to win.’ Even throughout the whole season, I was just thinking about getting to nationals and getting to the final. It was pretty cool to get back to the final and win it.”
Weinstein said he took the large trophy that accompanied his championship to his parents, who have displayed it proudly near the entrance to the restaurant they own in Santa Ana.
Quite a memoryEven without the trophy in his immediate presence, winning the NSSA championship is not something he’ll soon forget.
“It’s definitely one of the greatest accomplishments of my surfing career,” Weinstein said. “There were a lot of expectations on me, but I really wanted to do it for my team and my school, and lastly for myself.
“It’s just really cool to be able to say that I’m a national champion for UCSD.”