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Makayla Moss. Photo: Andrea Swayne
Makayla Moss. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Andrea Swayne

Makayla Moss, 11, of San Clemente is one of the most stoked young surfers in the area, with a love for the sport that propels her to continually strive to be the best she can be, in and out of the water.

As a sixth-grader and a member of the Shorecliffs Middle School surf team, Makayla works hard to maintain straight-As in school, not only because she has to in order to continue surfing, but because she has also set a goal of being accepted into a good college and really enjoys learning.

In addition to her school surf team competition, Makayla surfs in the Western Surfing Association Championship Tour where she is ranked No. 8 in a field of 28 in the Girls U12 Shortboard division. In overhead waves, wind and rain, she brought home a sixth-place trophy from last weekend’s WSA event in Pismo Beach. And in October, she finished third in Girls 12U Shortboard in the Stoke-o-Rama at T Street.

Makayla has been surfing since she was 6, first learning under the tutelage of her father, and now enjoying the practice she gets from surfing contests.

“When I was first learning, my dad would give me donuts before, so that was nice,” she said. “And then as I got better I started surfing with friends and entering contests. I like being competitive and paddling as fast as I can. And it’s really nice because it’s only you and a few other girls, so you get the break to yourself.”

Her training now includes working with her coach Brandon Phillips, practicing five days a week along with regular fitness training at Foundation Fitness and skateboarding. She thanks her parents, coach, trainers, Cordell Surfboards and her friends for their support as she works to hone her skills.

“Right now I’m focusing on really getting on my stomp pad and throwing spray,” she said. “I also love surfing with my friends Reese and Rachel Hartnett and Riley Nattrass. We all get coached together and run practice heats. It’s great because we battle each other for waves and push each other to get better.”

Makayla is working toward a future career as a professional surfer, looking up to pro women Courtney Conlogue and Lakey Peterson for inspiration.

“I like how competitive Courtney is and how powerful her turns are, oh, and that she’s from Orange County,” she said. “And I like Lakey’s surfing too because I think her cutbacks are really good. If not a pro surfer I’d probably like to work in as a contest announcer, like Rosey Hodge, or be a clothing designer—as long as I can be in the industry somehow.”

Makayla is a charger, preferring larger waves and giving herself an extra push during big swells.

“I really like big waves because when you drop in, the wind just gets you and you’re zooming down the line,” she said. “And then you notice that your turns are a lot better because the wave is bigger and you have a lot of speed. It’s so fun.”

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