(April 26, 2022) – USA Surfing named twelve of America’s top under 18 surfers to defend USA’s world title at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championship in El Salvador May 27 – June 5.
“This is a talented team prepared to take on the world’s best next month in El Salvador,” said coach Ryan Simmons. “I am very proud of the work they put in to push their performances to the next level. Each surfer knows what an honor it is to surf for their country and give it their all to clinch a repeat team Gold Medal.”
Simmons said he was excited about the mix of seasoned leaders like 2019 silver medalist Zoe Benedetto and bronze medalist Ryan Huckabee and fresh, frothing talent eager to perform on the world stage. “I’m planning to apply some old secrets that have worked to this new crop of talented juniors,” said Simmons. See full roster below.
Zoe Benedetto, Palm City, Fla.
Lilie Kulber, Los Angeles, Calif.
Talia Swindal, Malibu, Calif.
Ryan Huckabee, Flagler Beach, Fla.
Lucas Owston, Oceanside, Calif.
Kyan Yang, Encinitas, Calif.
Bella Kenworthy, San Clemente, Calif.
Sara Freyre, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Vela Mattive, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Cannon Carr, San Clemente, Calif.
Kai Kushner, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Jak Ziets, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Alternates are Keanna Miller, Santa Cruz, Calif. (Girls U18), Blayr Barton, Sandbridge, Va. (Boys 18), Kylie Pulcini, Melbourne, Fla. (Girls U16), and Benji Lange, St. Augustine, Fla. (Boys 16)
The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is the largest junior surfing competition in the world with more than 300 surfers from 45 nations. “The event is an exciting experience for surfers to represent their country and make lifelong friends and memories,” said Simmons.
Simmons coached USA Surfing juniors to the first-ever ISA World Junior Championship Gold Medal in Oceanside in 2015. He still has the flag from the historic win and takes it to team practices for inspiration to carry on the tradition.
“We were proud to have our first team practice in Oceanside and are stoked to have the city backing us,” said Simmons. “The stars are aligned for a repeat in 2022.”
A verification committee that included Coach Ryan Simmons, former coach Brett Simpson, East Coast coach Asher Nolan, COO Andrea Swayne, and San Clemente aerial phenom Kevin Schulz. The committee reviewed criteria that included 2021 Championship results, the first half of the Prime Season finishes, past ISA World Championship experience, WSL QS results, work ethic, talent, heat strategy and tenacity.
Simmons has a medal-studded coaching track record. As head coach between 2012-2016 USA Surfing’s team racked up medals in ISA World Surfing Games, World Masters Games and World Junior Surfing Championships. These include winning team Gold, three team Bronze, and team Copper Medals.
“It is a true personal and professional privilege to coach the team that will be defending their team Gold Medal against the world’s best in El Salvador,” Simmons said. “The talent among under 18 surfers in the United States is next level.”
USA Surfing is raising funds to help support the team’s travel, accommodations, and coaching in El Salvador. If you would like to show your support for the team, go to https://www.usasurfing.org/donate.html
“Coach Ryan, his support crew, and all the surfers are dedicated to excellence and making our country and sport proud,” said CEO Brandon Lowery. “Thank you for showing your support by donating money, or sharing our fundraising link and social posts to help spread the word.”
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