By Jake Howard

About this time last year, San Clemente’s Avery McDonald was storming podiums at NSSA competitions. And she’d just earned herself a spot on the U.S. Developmental Surf Team.

Making the most of a summer without surf contests, McDonald recently joined the U.S. Developmental Surf Team down in Oceanside for two days of training and learning and ripping. Stepping up to help coach the girls and lend her sage advice was WSL Championship Tour stalwart Courtney Conlogue.

With the tour currently on hold due to the pandemic and worldwide travel restrictions, Conlogue, who hails from nearby Huntington Beach, has committed herself to the U.S. program and the development of the next generation of young women. She helped them work on things such as technique and strategy, as well as the power of a strong mind.

One of the leaders of this exciting new pack is McDonald, whose surfing is reminiscent of a young Conlogue. Powerful, stylish, impeccable rail work and an ever-present willingness to keep getting better are signatures of what she brings to the water. And she’s not only a great surfer, she’s also a great teammate.

Whenever we get around to having surf contests again, it’s going to be exciting to see how far McDonald and all of these other talented young women have come in their progression as elite surfers. Until then, they’ll be doing what they always do: surfing. 

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