OCHS Surf Coach Nate Garza holds a board up in victory after his team becomes state champions. (Photos courtesy of Nate Perry natesurfmedia.com)


The Ocean City Surf Team has done it – they won the NSSA State Championship, beating out rival surf team, Manasquan.

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the surf team, led by coach Nate Garza, competed in Atlantic City against other high schools from Cape May all the way up to Long Island.

Garza said the win was much deserved by the talented team of dedicated surfers. “It is a very competitive, year-round sport that requires a fair level of commitment,” he said in an interview.

Sophie Whelan gives it her all.

The contest was held at S. Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City, which is the official location for the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) State Championship.

The next stop is Dana Point, Calif., on June 14-16 for the 2024 NSSA National Interscholastic Championships.

The contest, organized by NSSA NE Director Randy Townsend, included surfers from the junior varsity and varsity teams.

The surfers competed in heats throughout the day, earning points on the waves they rode during the 15-minute heats and 20-minute semi-final and 20-minute final.

Brynn Gallagher heads to the water.

Each school was awarded points based on their athlete’s placement in each heat.

The top three from each heat advanced to a later round until there were only four surfers in each of the final heats.

Garza noted that he was extremely proud of his team. He said they practice nonstop and give it their all.

“Our season begins at the end of the summer and continues until the State Championship. The team practices rain or shine and whether or not there are waves,” said Garza, an OCHS social studies teacher.

Cooper Lysinger heads to shore.

It is the Ocean City High School surf team’s 24th title. The first was in 1988. Ocean City continued to win until 2012. Since then, Manasquan has won. They have won nine years in a row until this year, Garza said.

Garza, who replaced Ocean City surfing coach Mark Miedema, who was his surfing coach when he was in high school, called him to tell him the good news.

“He discussed with elation the joys of coaching and specifically of winning state titles. He talked about how difficult it was to beat Manasquan,” Garza explained of Miedema. “He was very congratulatory, and I will most likely get together with him to relive the “play by play” in the next few days.”

James Carr rides it in.

For more information about the competition, visit https://www.nssa.org/newsmanager/templates/NSSABland.aspx?articleid=289&zoneid=19 


Of the 12 Ocean City competitors, 6 JV and 6 Varsity, 10 placed and walked with special hardware.

JV Results:

Michael Carr (Sea Isle, Senior) won the JV contest.

Jude McAfee (Upper, Freshman) placed 3rd.

James McAfee (Upper, Junior) placed 5th.

Luke Collins (Margate, Junior) placed 3rd in Longboard.

Melana Rush (Margate, Freshman) placed 3rd in women’s.

Varsity Results:

James Carr (Sea Isle, Freshman) placed 3rd overall.

Ethan Dunn (Ocean City, Senior) placed 4th overall.

Mitch Zappone (Margate, Sophomore) made it to the round of 8, semifinal.

Cooper Lysinger (Ocean City, Senior) made it to the round of 8 and placed 2nd in longboard (2nd year in a row).

Brynn Gallagher (Ocean City, Junior) won women’s varsity.

Sophia Whelan (Ocean City, Senior) placed 2nd (2nd year in a row).

Team Totals:

Ocean City, 108

Manasquan, 92

Wall Twp., 89

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

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