Multi-Sport Olympic Gold Medalists Take On 2020 Surfing Olympic Hopefuls in Exhibition Heat
San Clemente, California (June 18, 2018) – The drama and excitement is building at USA Surfing Championships – the contest that determines which surfers are selected to be USA junior surf team members and compete internationally. After some of the best conditions and performances in the history of the event, we are one step closer to the decisive final heats.
This year’s competition included exceptional performances with a 10-point ride Monday by U16 Gabriela Bryan of Hawaii, who consistently scored 9’s throughout the day. There were three 9.93 waves on day two, Saturday - all in the girls U14 division by Caitlin Simmers (Oceanside), Luana Silva (Hawaii), and Sawyer Lindblad (San Clemente).
The level of competition is intense. In a chess match of a U16 boys heat Taro Watanabe (Malibu) won his round 2 heat with an aggressive 9.83 wave and Jett Schilling’s (San Clemente) explosive maneuvers earned a 9.07 ride helping him clinch second.
Kade Matson (San Clemente) dominated double divisions, with athletic, first-turn progressive maneuvers and unwavering composure that allowed him to stay fresh and sharp with every round.
“Competing at Lowers offers surfers a very special experience,” said Andrea Swayne, USA Surfing President. “It is one of only two surf contests allowed at Lower Trestles – one of the world’s best surf breaks. The level of surfing at this elite event provides a preview of the pipeline of talent USA Surfing is building as we take on the new task of developing not only professional caliber surfers, but Olympians. And judging by the performances so far, our young athletes are rising to the occasion.”
Championships competition features the latest technologies and talents used at the most elite levels of surfing. The heats are announced by crowd favorites Todd Kline and Ryan Simmons, 5-panel WSL/ISA judges use electronic scoring and replay, priority with LED display and head judges – all with years of experience analyzing surfing around the world.
USA Surfing head coach Joey Buran said the unprecedented performances are encouraging, but also make decisions about selecting members for the USA Surfing junior national and development teams extra difficult. “All our hard work, training and preparation shows in these performances at Championships,” Buran said. “For many surfers, this week’s performances reflect the strength, grit, composure and athleticism they’ve been cultivating for months and even years. It’s the journey that builds the greatness. It all builds, progresses and hopefully peaks at the right time. It’s a puzzle that we have to put together and the pieces are always changing.”
USA Surfing will announce its 2018 national travel team who will compete at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach October 27 – November 4, in early July, following the June Championships. The U.S. Junior team won gold at the 2017 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Hyuga, Japan, where 306 surfers, from a record-breaking 41 nations across all continents of the globe, competed.
Anticipation is growing for the Olympian vs Olympic Hopefuls Expression Session that will take place on the last day of competition. This first-of-its-kind exhibition heat will take place prior to the finals heats at Lowers with multi-sport Olympic medalists in a heat with surfing’s Olympic hopefuls. NBC is sending a crew to capture the action and take B-roll that contextualizes the road to surfing’s debut in the 2020 Olympic Games.
The exhibition heat will provide surfing’s Olympic hopefuls a chance to share their love of surfing with Olympians from other sports and learn from them about the experience of the Olympic stage. Some of the gold medalists from other sports will be surfing for the first time.
Olympic athletes in the exhibition heat will include gold medalist Slope Style snowboarder Red Gerard, silver medalist Big Air snowboarder Kyle Mack, silver medal Snowboard Cross snowboarder Lyndsey Jacobellis, water polo gold medalist Kaleigh Gilchrist and Winter and Summer Paralympic gold medalist Alana Nichols. In addition, snowboarder Brock Crouch who is recovering from injuries sustained in an avalanche will join fellow athletes on the beach. Crouch was on the USA Surfing junior team.
Surfing Olympic hopefuls will include WSL World Tour surfers Kolohe Andino, Griffin Colapinto, Courtney Conlogue and Caroline Marks, who grew up participating in USA Surfing events.
Contact: Becky Fleischauer, 302-588-0671, becky (at) usasurfing (dot) org
USA Surfing is the National Governing Body for surfing in the United States, recognized by the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). USA Surfing’s mission is to promote and grow the sport of surfing and support United States athletes of all backgrounds to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American competition. USA Surfing will oversee and support America’s Olympic team as surfing makes its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and surfing and stand-up paddleboarding athletes compete in the 2019 Pan American Games.