The UCSB surf team held off a hard-charging rival to win the National Scholastic Surfing Association 2008 State Championship held March 7-9. The Gauchos, who entered the competition as the top-ranked team in the state, edged out 2007 national champion San Diego State 124-122 for the crown.
The state championship was held at Church Beach in the San Onofre State Park and featured 15 colleges, while 12 high schools and 10 middle schools each participated in their own competition. The event came after four regular season NSSA events and enabled Santa Barbara to qualify for the NSSA National Interscholastic Championships to be held June 18-21 at Salt Creek in Laguna Niguel.
UCSB was able to hold off the Aztecs, thanks to a strong showing from Matt Johnson and Charles McMahon, who took third and fifth, respectively, in the final to prevent SDSU from pulling ahead. The slim two-point Santa Barbara victory goes against the team’s trend of the season, as the Gauchos had blown out nearly every opponent they faced in the water. UCSB was victorious in three of the four regular season events, taking the top spot at Blacks Beach in San Diego, San Fernando Point in Mission Beach and 9th Street in Huntington.