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Local members of the Surfing America USA Surf Team travel to the ISA World Jr. Championships
By Andrea Swayne
Four local members of the Surfing America USA Surf Team left for Ecuador Monday to represent the United States at the International Surfing Association World Junior Championships, set for April 5-13.
San Clemente-based surfers Griffin Colapinto, Malia Osterkamp and Tia Blanco, along with Jacob Davis of Capistrano Beach, departed from LAX feeling prepared and excited to meet their teammates from elsewhere in California and the East Coast, in Salinas, Ecuador for the event.
The four local athletes were accompanied on the trip by team manager and Surfing America Executive Director Greg Cruse, also from San Clemente. Cruse commended this year’s group, referring to them as a super talented and cohesive team.
“They truly are a team and will work together to keep each other performing at their peak,” Cruse said. “We are super excited to be on our way to Salinas to begin our quest for gold.”
The local contingent will be joined by fellow Californians Kanoa Igarashi (Huntington Beach), Nic Hdez (Santa Cruz), Jake Marshall (Encinitas), Nolan Rapoza (Long Beach) and Frankie Harrer of Malibu. East Coast team members are Daniel Glenn from Florida, South Carolina’s Luke Gordon and Maddie Peterson of New Jersey. The team is coached by Ryan Simmons and Micah Byrne.
Shortly after arriving at their destination on Tuesday an 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit Chile, triggering a tsunami alert in Ecuador.
“The tsunami warning definitely got our blood flowing,” said team videographer Justin Jung of San Clemente.
Team members, coaches and chaperones were a bit shaken, but after the “all clear” was given, everyone relaxed and re-set in preparation for the event.
The contest will be broadcast live at www.isawjsc.com.