(San Clemente, Calif.) - USA Surfing is excited to announce the 2019-20 junior developmental, and junior national teams.
The selection comes after analysis of each surfer’s season and Championship performances and potential for growth. The presentations of the teams took place during the closing award ceremony at the Toyota USA Surfing Junior Championships at Lower Trestles.
“USA Surfing’s junior teams represent the nation’s most elite under age 18 surf athletes, who are on a path to raise their performances and athleticism to world stage levels,” said USA Surfing coach Brett Simpson. “We are stoked on these kids’ performances and commitment to elevating their game.”
Simpson’s approach is focused on building teams that offer continuous opportunities to progress. Each team and surfer will be tracking toward the goal of fielding the most competitive International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Championship team possible. Simpson will implement a mid-year assessment in December 2019 to evaluate the current team members’ performances and potentially identify talent flaring in the Prime Series. As part of their development as athletes, team surfers and parents will sign a Code of Conduct and complete the new SafeSport training geared toward minor athletes and their parents.
There was more movement in the teams this year due to aging out and performances that showed potential to surf up age divisions. Simpson said the deep pool of talent made selection difficult, but is also a reflection of the strong elite-level young surfing in the U.S. He noted that a significant number of strong surfers over age 12 are back in the “minors” after having the benefit of time on the development team. It’s often a motivating phase in their development to take what they've learned and apply it to the new season in hopes to make it on the junior teams.
USA Surfing has three levels for its USA Junior Teams: developmental, junior national and ISA world juniors training team. Each level creates a progressive path to perform at elite levels and potentially qualify for the World Surf League’s Championship Tour and Olympic Games.
Selection to national USA Surfing teams brings surfers into an elite program with year-round high-performance training and skill development.
The teams are as follows:
Developmental Surf Team
20-position boy/girl roster consisting of surfers under age 15 at the date of the 2020 ISA World Jr Championship
Selection is based on regional and national results, the athlete’s commitment to improvement and the coaches’ eye for budding talent.
The development team is designed to be a proving ground for the youngest surfers to train and improve and eventually move up to the junior national team level, which is a significant jump in performance levels.
Makai Bray, San Clemente, Calif.
Cannon Carr, San Clemente, Calif.
Rex Hennings, San Clemente, Calif.
Braeden Kopec, Flagler Beach, Fla.
Kai Kushner, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Chase Niemann, Carlsbad, Calif.
Hudson Saunders, Laguna Beach, Calif.
Charlie Stevens, San Clemente, Calif.
Luke Wyler, San Clemente, Calif.
Jak Zietz, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Brynn Gallagher, Ocean City, N.J
Isabelle Kryger, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Vela Mattive, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Mia McLeish, San Clemente, Calif.
Avery McDonald, San Clemente, Calif.
Ezra McPhillips, San Clemente, Calif.
Kylie Pulcini, Melbourne, Fla.
JuJu Romaniuk, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Mya Sniadach, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
32 boy/girl roster consisting of U16 and U18 surfers
Selection is based on regional, national, QS and international event results. The coaches will do a mid-year assessment of current team members as well as top performers in the Prime Series, who could be “called up” to join the team. This elite team will train for the 2020 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. The date and location are TBD.
Boys Under 18
Tommy Coleman, Vero Beach, Fla.
Taj Lindblad, San Clemente, Calif.
Kade Matson, San Clemente, Calif.
Dimitri Poulos, Ventura, Calif.
Jett Schilling, San Clemente, Calif.
Levi Slawson, Encinitas, Calif.
Jabe Swierkocki, Ventura, Calif
Taro Watanabe, Malibu, Calif.
Girls Under 18
Zoe Benedetto, Palm City, Fla.
Makena Burke, Ventura, Calif.
Ella McCaffray, Cardiff, Calif.
Olivia Pessanha, San Diego, Calif.
Kirra Pinkerton, San Clemente, Calif.
Samantha Sibley, San Clemente, Calif.
Alyssa Spencer, Carlsbad, Calif.
Caitlin Simmers, Oceanside, Calif.
Boys Under 16
Blayr Barton, Sandbridge Beach, Va.
Ben Brantell, San Clemente, Calif.
Robbie Goodwin, Jacksonville, Fla.
William Hedleston, Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Ryan Huckabee, Flagler Beach, Fla.
Cole McCaffray, Cardiff, Calif.
Owen Moss, Wilmington, N.C.
Lucas Owston, Oceanside, Calif.
Hayden Rogers, San Clemente, Calif.
Girls Under 16
Sarah Abbott, Jupiter, Fla.
Taylor Green, Pensacola, Fla.
Sawyer Lindblad, San Clemente, Calif.
Keanna Miller, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Ava McGowan, New Smyrna, Fla.
Bella Kenworthy, Dana Point, Calif.
Lillie Kulber, Los Angeles, Calif.
Marlee Lovell, Oceanside, Calif.
Syd Ott, Encinitas, Calif.
ISA World Junior Championship team
The final twelve team members will be named in September of 2019. This 12-member team of six boys and six girls will consist of the top performers in national and international competition. Selection criteria will also include prior experience surfing at ISA events, training performance, participation and commitment to the team. The team will be drawn from the 2018 junior national team. That team of 32 will be narrowed to 16 in July and to then train extensively for the ISA World Junior Championship held in Huntington Beach Oct. 26- Nov. 3, 2019.
Contact: 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.
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