San Clemente, Calif. (November 4, 2018)– Team USA won the team silver medal at the 2018 VISSLA International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships held this week in Huntington Beach. Team Japan earned the gold medal with sensational finals day performances. Team Australia won bronze and Hawaii earned copper.
Team USA’s 13-year old phenom Caitlin Simmers won the gold medal in the under 16 girls division. Simmers’ hard charging, above-the-lip slashes earned a 17.10 heat total – one of the highest of the event.
Team USA took the gold in the Aloha Cup team event with powerful surfing from team captains Kirra Pinkerton and Cole Houshmand and teammates Alyssa Spencer and Jett Schilling. USA's 2018 team silver and Aloha Cup gold combined with Team USA's 2017 team gold make USA Surfing's head coach Joey Buran the winningest junior coach in the program's history.
Team USA scored 300 points more this year than they did last year in winning the gold medal. Head coach Joey Buran said making it the finals has never been so challenging. "The level of surfing at this year’s ISA Worlds was simply next level. These athletes will be storming the WSL Championship Tour and Olympics faster than anyone realizes,” Buran said. “I am extremely proud of Team USA’s performances and stoked about surfing’s future.”
The all-or-nothing surfing of Kade Matson earned a silver in the boys U16 division, pulling off a 360 air and a series of aggressive vertical turns. A powerful sliding blowtail helped Levi Slawson earn the bronze in the boys U16. Team captain Cole Houshmand ended the day with impressive top-to-bottom backside slashes, taking the copper medal in the boys U18 division missing bronze by a tenth of a point.
USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said Team USA hoped to clinch a second gold medal in a row after winning in 2017, but he is proud of the performances and applauded Team Japan for exceptional surfing and extraordinary sportsmanship. “Japan officially established their eminence in the sport of surfing,” Cruse said. “The Olympics could not ask for a more perfect country to host surfing’s debut.”
Cruse also praised the city of Huntington Beach for playing host to the largest junior surfing competition in the world: “The teams loved the hospitality, stoke and support of Surf City USA. They did a superb job as host.”
WSL CT professional surfers and former USA Surfing athletes Courtney Conlogue, Kolohe Andino and Brett Simpson were on the beach supporting Team USA through several critical heats. Conlogue joined ISA President Fernando Aguerre in the medal ceremony to celebrate ISA’s leadership in providing equal opportunities to men and women and the record number of girls participating in this week’s event. Conlogue was the youngest USA Surfing team member to surf in ISA events at 11 years old, winning a gold medal.
Finals Day Results
Aloha Cup team event
Team USA - gold
Caitlin Simmers – gold
Kade Matson – silver
Levi Slawson – bronze
Cole Houshmand – copper
The 2018 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship’s drew a record-breaking 362 surfers from 44 nationsand an unprecedented number of female athletes.
2018 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship team members
*Team Captain - Cole Houshmand
Cole Houshmand, San Clemente, Calif.
Taro Watanabe, Malibu, Calif.
Taj Lindblad, San Clemente, Calif.
Kade Matson, San Clemente, Calif.
Jett Schilling, San Clemente, Calif.
Levi Slawson, Encinitas, Calif.
*Team Captain - Kirra Pinkerton
Kirra Pinkerton, San Clemente, Calif.
Alyssa Spencer, Carlsbad, Calif.
Makena Burke, Ventura, Calif.
Samantha Sibley, San Clemente, Calif.
Caitlin Simmers, Oceanside, Calif.
Sawyer Lindblad, San Clemente, Calif.
Results can be found here.
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.