Grom of the Week: Willow Wilder Holman

Just how does a 5-year-old get into ’80s hair metal? That’s a question perhaps only Willow Wilder Holman, our featured Grom of the Week, can answer. Not only is Willow, a hard-charging kindergartener, into some of the raddest ’80s bands, but she’s also obsessed with the boardsports life, recently winning the SC Open Skate Contest’s highly competitive, and amazingly inspiring, 5 and Under division.

Team USA Goes Gold

After a high-pressure, high-stakes week of surfing at the ISA World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach, San Clemente’s Kirra Pinkerton came out on top, winning the women’s gold medal and leading the American squad to their first team gold since 2009.

Grom of the Week: Bella Kenworthy

This week’s featured grom is Bella Kenworthy, a San Clemente talent who was on a tear at the Super Girl Pro in Oceanside last weekend. Ripping through heat after heat, en route to a very respectable third-place result, she promptly dispatched North America’s top-tier talent, including American Zoe Benedetto, as well as Japan’s Anon Matsuoka

Grom of the Week: Dane Matson

This week’s featured grom is Dane Matson, a powerful goofy-footer who is anchoring the San Clemente High Surf Team this year. Matson is focused, determined and extremely talented, as he looks to lead the Tritons to more glory this year.

It’s Finals Time

The world’s top surfers have landed in San Clemente this week as they get set to compete in the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles sometime between Sept. 8-16. With the WSL’s top five men and top five women in town for the one-day, winner-take-all sprint for the 2022 world titles, it would appear, based on Surfline’s forecast, that Lowers could deliver some great surf for these competitors, including the top ranked Carissa Moore and San Clemente resident Filipe Toledo.

Grom of the Week: Samaira Lizzi

This week’s featured grom is Samaira Lizzi, an 11-year-old San Clemente ripper who’s been getting into a competitive spirit recently, showing up at the Western Surfing Association competition at Trail 6, where she came in strong with a sixth-place finish in the Under 12s.

Rip Curl WSL Finals Lineup Locked In

With the 2022 WSL Championship Tour regular season wrapping up last week in Tahiti, it’s time to shift gears and get ready for the Rip Curl WSL Finals, Jake Howard reports. Defending world champ Carissa Moore and San Clemente resident Filipe Toledo, who has his sights set on capturing the first world title of his already accomplished career, come into this battle royal of a surf contest as the No. 1 seeds.

The Man Who Started It All

The Dana Outrigger Canoe Club’s annual Whitey Harrison Canoe Classic, during which 9-person outrigger canoes race for 20 miles from Dana Point Harbor to Laguna Beach and back, is a bit of living, breathing, paddling history, Jake Howard writes this week. Named after Lorrin “Whitey” Harrison, the race is dedicated to the man’s memory and legacy, as he’s considered one of the earliest pioneers of California surf and beach culture.

A True Beach Life

Surf pioneers and longtime friends were at last able to gather on Beach Road last week to say their final goodbyes to Wayne Penn Schafer, who died in his Poche Reef home at 91 in June 2020. Schafer, who lived a true beach life, always bringing his friends along for the ride, was instrumental in the development of the original Hobie Cat with the late Hobie Alter, Jake Howard reports this week.

Cross-Stepping Through the Glass Ceiling

Tory Gilkerson of San Clemente and Kirra Seale will become the first two women to serve as head judge and tour manager, respectively, of the WSL Longboard Tour, Jake Howard reports. The news drops ahead of the Vans Duct Tape Invitational and Festival, which is running in conjunction with the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach and takes place from Aug. 3-7.

Grom of the Week: Lexi Rynne

This week’s featured grom is Lexi Rynne, an incoming sixth-grader at Bernice Ayer Middle School who dove into WSA contests this past year. She didn’t start surfing until age 11, but Lexi has been logging serious water time in local lineups.

Open Season Is Here

The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing is to set to roll into Huntington Beach this weekend. But, of course, the biggest local story percolating, Jake Howard reports, is San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto and his quest to go back-to-back in Surf City. The Open’s been an event that Colapinto has shined in over the years, but he went next-level in 2021 to top the podium.

Grom of the Week: Mika Baker

This week’s featured grom is Mika Baker, an incoming San Clemente High sophomore whose love for surfing has blossomed from a fun hobby to full-time passion. Settling right into the local lineup, she captured the only freshman spot on the Tritons’ longboard team in 2022.

Let’s Keep It Clean

Following the recent release of Surfrider Foundation’s latest Beach Cleanup Report, Jake Howard this week highlights some of the key findings, while expressing his own frustration with some of the pollution he’s seen on our local shores.