USA Surfing’s junior team won team bronze in the 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in El Salvador, competing against a record 419 athletes representing 45 national teams.
In her ISA World Junior competition debut, 15-year-old Bella Kenworthy won the Silver Medal in Girls U16 with power surfing, and smart positioning far beyond her years.
Seventeen-year-old Zoe Benedetto took the Copper Medal in the Girls U18 division in tricky La Bocana conditions.
It was the first ISA World competition for all but two of USA Surfing’s team, with half the team finishing near the top ten.
Coach Ryan Simmons says USA’s Bronze Medal finish is a huge point of pride, but the growth and team bonding were truly remarkable.
“This team was young and unproven on the big stage crew. But after the nine-day marathon they call the ISA World Junior, these travel team athletes are now grizzled veterans,” declared Simmons.
Coach Simmons reflected on the roller coaster of emotions, the team ethic that took hold, and that magic Huckabee air.
“At first there were wide eyes among the team - almost amazed at the scope of the contest. Then reality set in, as we had a surfer drop to rep rounds. As more surfers incurred their first loss going to repechage, morale began to waver,” Simmons reflected.
“Assistant coach Asher and I went to work on attitude and confidence in the minds of the athletes. Then when Ryan Huckabee did that huge air something magical went through our camp and made everyone feel that it was going to be alright no matter the outcomes. We bonded, laughed, and cried together,” Simmons shared.
Coach Simmo said the team picked each other up after the first true losses occurred, and those that lost went right into cheerleader and support roles.
“Even on the last day with two of our surfers in Medal finals we didn’t worry about where we may finish. A medal was just the icing on the cake of a truly remarkable trip with the 12 athletes and staff. I’m honored to have led the charge, and thankful it was full of blessings. Can’t wait until the next one,” Simmons said.
Congratulations to the team, their parents and support crews!
And a huge thank you to coaches Ryan Simmons and Asher Nolan for guiding this team to extraordinary growth!
Thank you to everyone supporting the team with donations, comments and sharing the donation link! You are all a big part of this success! 🙌💓🇺🇸
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