Ojai’s Sage Erickson snagged the biggest win of her professional career on August 6 at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, a weeklong event that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to Huntington Beach Pier each summer. The win — over defending event champ Tatiana Weston-Webb, of Hawai‘i — earned Erickson, 26, a check for $60,000 and moved her up three spots to sixth overall on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour. The tour’s next stop is the Swatch Trestles Women’s Pro, which runs September 6-17 in San Clemente. Last year, Erickson finished ninth worldwide.
Another big surf trophy was handed out to Santa Barbara’s Jak Ziets for winning the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s Explorer Super Groms national championship earlier this summer, also in Huntington Beach. To prepare, the 11-year-old Ziets surfed a series of qualifying events and spent extra hours in the water with his dad, Adam Ziets, who introduced surfing to his young son three years ago. “He’s got a strong connection to the ocean,” said the elder Ziets. “When he’s not [surfing], he’ll be in the water for the junior lifeguard program or fishing in the harbor.” Jak added, “I like having the freedom [of] just being out in the water. I don’t like being on a team. I like being an individual and surfing.” Ziets is a 6th grader at Washington Elementary.