Mia Gallagher tore it up at the NSSA Championships held in North Carolina, Sept. 11-13.

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. – Two young Ocean City surfers won their divisions at the 2020 National Scholastic Surfing Association East Coast Championships held Sept. 11-13 in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The top surfers from up and down the coast traveled to enjoy the chance to compete, especially in great surf thanks to multiple hurricanes brewing off the coast. 

Cruz Dinofa wins several categories at the NSSA Championships in North Carolina.

Ocean City’s Cruz Dinofa, 11, won the Mini-Grom and the Super Grom divisions, while Ocean City’s Mia Gallagher, 14, took top honors winning the coveted Open Women’s Title, which puts her name “on the board” along with local surf legends Rob Kelly and Matt Keenan who won titles in 2007 and 1995, respectively. Gallagher also took home the title in the Girls division. Meanwhile, Mia’s sister Brynn Gallagher, 12, also made it to the final round of Open Super Girls and placed fourth overall in that division.

One of the thrilling highlights of the competition was Dinofa’s exciting come-from-behind win in the Super Groms final with an incredible air-landing 8.57 score with just 25 seconds to go on the clock, making it the second time in a row Dinofa won that title. 
The level of surfing and also the level of excitement were running high in Carolina Beach, especially after a long shut down from competitive surfing due to COVID-19. NSSA Executive Director Janice Aragon, who is a former ISA World Champ and a new inductee to the Surfing Hall of Fame, was thrilled to be able to travel the 3,000 miles from her home in Huntington Beach, California to finally “let the kids surf again.”  She and West Coast NSSA Director Gayline Clifford worked for many months overcoming permit challenges in various potential surf contest venues before finding a home in Carolina Beach for this 2020 NSSA Championship event.  Both Aragon and Clifford gave high praise to the town of Carolina Beach for allowing them the opportunity to prove that the NSSA can safely and responsibly run a major competition while remaining compliant to all the safety guidelines and requirements.

Mia Gallagher get her name on the board.

“It was great to be able to put on the jersey and compete at a big event again,” Gallagher said. “NSSA did an awesome job and I was so happy with my performance and to see all my friends again. The waves have really been firing so I am stoked to be able to do it again next week at Easterns.”

The Easterns is the next main event for East Coast surfers, which is run by the Eastern Surfing Association and will be held at Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina Sept. 20-26.
Other local competitors included Cooper Jewell, also of Ocean City, who competed in both the Boys and the Menehune divisions.
Categories: Ocean City

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.