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By Jake Howard
At 9 years old, Braden Minnick, a fourth-grader at Concordia Elementary School, is psyched to see what doors wave riding can open up for him in the years to come.
“I think surfing will take me around the world,” Braden said. “When I first started, I was in Costa Rica; then in San Clemente, my dad and mom started to take me out.”
These days, you may find him out at the area beach breaks. He has a special affinity for the hollow wedges around Calafia State Park and Riviera, but he’s also prone to jumping into the talent pool that gets busy at T-Street.
“My favorite thing about surfing is that when I catch a wave, I feel really good,” he said. “The thing that inspires me is that I want to get better.”
Like any surfer his age, he’s got his heroes that he looks up to.
“I look up to John John Florence because he started really young, and I look up to Griffin Colapinto because he started in San Clemente and is really good at surfing,” Braden said.
Checking all of the boxes—the right outlook, the right approach and the right role models—there’s no doubt that Braden’s stoke level is high and surfing is going to take him wherever he dreams.