Santa Barbara professional surfer Conner Coffin has elevated to fourth in the world after a runner-up finish Monday in Australia.
In a nail-biting 35-minute final round at the World Surf League’s Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic by Corona in Narrabeen, Australia, the regular-footer faced off against Brazil’s Gabriel Medina.
In just 1- to 4-foot surf, Coffin caught the first wave of the heat, putting a throw-away score of 2.83 on the board. Medina responded in kind with a throw-away 2.90 ride of his own.
Ultimately, it was Medina’s near-perfect scoring waves (9.27 & 9.50) with gravity-defying airs that propelled the two-time world champion into first place with a winning heat total of 18.77.
Coffin’s 5.33 and end-of-heat 8.77 rides were simply not enough to take the Santa Barbara underdog to the top in the second WSL final of his career.
Still, Coffin kept it positive.
“Wow! Second place at the Narrabeen Classic and the chance to surf a final with an on-fire Gabriel Medina… The stuff I dream about,” he said in a statement.
The final was a culmination of heats in which Coffin beat 2019 world champion Italo Ferreira of Brazil in the (11.47-10.67) in the Round of 16 and eliminating Olympic surfer Kanoa Igarashi in the quarterfinals (11.06-0.80).
In the semifinals, Coffin surfed against fellow southern Californian, Griffin Colapinto, of San Clemente. Colapinto held down the top score for the majority of the 30-minute heat before Coffin squeaked ahead with a mere 6.70 score in the final few minutes.
Coffin pulled out the victory with a 13.83-11.03 decision.
Coffin’s advancement to the final follows the 27-year-old’s fifth-place finish at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona.
Securing second place at Narrabeen puts Coffin in the elite top five on the 2021 World Surf League Men’s Championship Tour, and marks only the second time he has made his way to a final since his rookie year on the tour in 2016 in Portugal.
His rise through the ranks of nearly 40 of the world’s top surfers serves as proof that, despite the year’s delayed starts in contest scheduling and COVID-related quarantines, his focus and commitment are paying off.
This winter, Conner and younger brother, Parker, a freesurfer and Channel Island’s team rider, spent time on Oahu’s North Shore, training on the waves at Pipeline, Off The Wall and Sunset Beach.
During the 14-day quarantine required for entry to Australia, Coffin spent the time training and eating healthy in the confines of a hotel room.
In his down days while Down Under, he surfed in a sizable North Narrabeen swell and spent some beach time with his girlfriend.
Between contest days, Coffin’s post-surf recovery routine included an on-the-go muscle compression therapy, using Hyperice’s travel leg compressors.
Next up for the Santa Barbara surfer is Western Australia’s Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona. Coffin is slated to surf against Australian Wade Carmichael and South African Mathew McGillivray in Heat Seven, his initial elimination round.
— Mara Pyzel is a Noozhawk contributing writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.