Column: ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in H.B.

Cole Houshmand, seen making a backside hook during the Junior Men's competition at the U.S. Open of Surfing on July 28, is competing in the Vissla International Surfing Assn. World Junior Surfing Championship this weekend.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Spend a little time walking along the pier or down Main Street in downtown Huntington Beach this week and you might have remind yourself you are indeed still in the good ’ol USA.

Reason being, there is a heavy foreign influence and a variety of languages being spoken in the area, thanks to those who are here for the Vissla International Surfing Assn. World Junior Surfing Championship.

The contest, which began last Saturday with 361 surfers from 44 countries, will crown champions on Sunday in four different divisions — boys’ under-16 and under-18, and girls’ under-16 and under-18 — as well as a team champion.


Competing for the U.S. are boys’ U18s Cole Houshmand (San Clemente), Taro Watanabe (Malibu) and Taj Lindblad (San Clemente); boys’ U16s Kade Matson (San Clemente), Jett Schilling (San Clemente) and Levi Slawson (Encinitas); girls’ U18s Alyssa Spencer (Carlsbad), Makena Burke (Ventura) and Kirra Pinkerton (San Clemente); and girls’ U16s Samantha Sibley (San Clemente), Caitlin Simmers (Oceanside) and Sawyer Lindblad (San Clemente).

40 years of National Scholastic Surfing Assn.

The International Surfing Museum will host the grand opening of its latest exhibit, “Celebrating 40 years of NSSA, raising world champions and industry leaders” on Friday from 6-9 p.m. at 411 Olive Ave. in Huntington Beach.

Two-time U.S. Open women’s champion Courtney Conlogue of Santa Ana, and Janice Aragon, a former NSSA champion and currently the NSSA’s executive director, will be in attendance, as well as a who’s who of surfing icons from the past four decades.

Peter “PT” Townend, surfing’s first world champion in 1976 and a Huntington Beach resident via Australia, is excited about the event.

“[I] have been around the NSSA since it got going in 1978, 40 years ago,” Townend said on his Facebook page. “I judged the first Nationals at the HB Southside which Bud Llamas won and of course was co-Executive Director with Ian Cairns and our early ‘80’s events company Sports & Media Services [SMS].”

Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for students and free for those under age 15.

JOE HAAKENSON is a Huntington Beach-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at