Johnson finishes second in US Surfing Championships

Brock-BeachMyrtle Beach’s Brock Johnson finished in 2nd place today in the adaptive assist division of the Surfing America, US Surfing Championships in Oceanside, California. Fellow Grand Strand surfer Veronica Tario and Conway native Ernie Johnson didn’t advance out of the semifinals.

Surfing in his second US Surfing Championship final, Johnson picked up an early wave that collapsed in front of him, but he rode it all the way to the beach from nearly 200 yards out. His score came in low and Johnson was forced to scramble in the 30 minute heat. Surfing in 6-8 foot clean faces, Johnson found himself in fourth place with 8 minutes left. Five minutes later, he caught an open faced wave that produced a mid level score to move him into second place. It wouldn’t be enough for  the win, and time eventually ran out.

Jeff Andrews from Reno, Nevada jumped out to an early lead in the final and continued to dominate to the end. Andrews, who spends his winters in Hawaii, found several open faced waves that produced room to carve. CC Roberts finished in third place, while Life Rolls On founder, Californian Jesse Billauer finished in fourth.

Socastee surfer Terrel Rawson surfed in two different divisions as an exhibition surfer. He currently surfs as a tandem surfer, with a rider on his back. Surfing USA doesn’t offer that division on the national level. In a surprise move during the awards ceremony, Rawson was presented with a trophy for 1st place in the tandem division nicknamed, “Terrel’s Division.”

Brock Johnson emerged from the water with the look of disappointment on his face, but to the cheers of the 14 volunteers and family members that made the trip as part of the Adaptive Surf Project. “Today was a great day. It was amazing surfing next to the best quadriplegic surfers in the nation, and I’m proud to be one of them,” Johnson said with water still dripping from his face.

Conway native Ernie Johnson participated in his very first US Surfing Championship, struggling on the outside and failing to advance out of the semifinals. After breaking his nose on a wave two days ago here in California, Johnson decided to forgo practice yesterday in an attempt to put his best effort forward during the competition. “I appreciate all the support from my friends and family back home,” Johnson said. “I came up a little shorter than I anticipated. I worked my butt off to get here, but I’ll work even harder for the next time around.”

The surfers and adaptive team members will spend the next several days surfing the California coast. They return to Myrtle Beach early Monday morning.

Photo Credit: Tyler Watkins

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