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By Zara Flores

Along the coast of Southern California, the Spanish Village by the Sea has become synonymous with beautiful weather and nice beaches. With that, comes surfing, which is set to make its debut at this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Local surfers Kolohe Andino and Caroline Marks will finally have their chance to compete at the Olympic level, a year later than anticipated after the 2020 Summer Games were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To help commemorate the milestone and show support for Andino and Marks competing in Tokyo, the city of San Clemente is partnering with USA Surfing by inviting artists to apply for the opportunity to create a mural in the downtown area.

“Surfing is an integral part of the history and the future of San Clemente. Baseball might be the American pastime, but surfing is the San Clemente pastime,” Jonathan Lightfoot, the city’s economic development officer, said in a press release. “From swell watchers to the surfboard shapers, surfing is a legacy we are proud to embrace.”

Because surfing has such a heavy presence and a deeply rooted culture in San Clemente, the city’s pride in the sport will only be solidified with the murals, which are slated to adorn two commercial spaces—at 102 Avenida Victoria and 103 Avenida Del Mar.

Local hero Kolohe Andino has long been touted as a world title contender. Could it all magically come together in 2021 in his own backyard? Photo: Courtesy of WSL/Kenny Morris

“We are honored to be a part of the mural project celebrating San Clemente’s influence on the world of surfing,” Sam and Eugenia Kollias, owners of the commercial space at 102 Avenida Victoria, stated in the release. “We wish our athletes all the best. Go, USA!”

The city has a $2,500 budget for each location and the fees to create them. At the Victoria location, the area on the east wall facing Del Mar will be used for one mural. The second mural, on Avenida Del Mar, will go on the east wall facing the alleyway and the Bartlett building.

Professional and semi-professional artists, as well as experienced amateur artists, are encouraged to apply to participate in the project. USA Surfing and the city are seeking artists who have successfully completed other mural projects.

To be considered, artists must digitally submit a letter of interest that explains relevant experience, a concept narrative, a rendering of the conceptual design, a resume and work samples. All submissions must be sent to admin@usasurfing.org.

The submission deadline is May 10, with a proposed start date of the project slated for May 23. Work on the murals is expected to be completed by June 15. 

“San Clemente has a historic and strong surfing and artist community,” Andrea Swayne, USA Surfing’s chief operating officer, said in the release. “We look forward to seeing the artists’ vision come to life at the two locations. This is an exciting time for surfing and San Clemente-home to USA Surfing and two Olympic surfers.” 

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