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By Andrea Swayne
Cascia Collings, 12, of Dana Point began surfing at the age of 7, and it has since become her favorite sport.
Although she is focused on becoming the best competitive surfer she can be—practicing nearly every day before or after school—Cascia’s surfing goals do not include chasing a professional surfing career.
“I want to be a surf commentator like Rosy Hodge,” she said. “I love to travel, and surf and that would be a great way to do both.”
A straight-A student, Cascia also enjoys school and wants to study science in college.
When not concentrating on riding waves or school work, she also enjoys skateboarding and art.
Cascia credits her family as her biggest supporters and a large part of the reason for her success.
“I’d like to thank my parents for everything,” Cascia said. “They take me to surf breaks near and far, they buy me rad boards, they get me really nice wetsuits that keep me warm. I love them. They help me a lot. I also want to thank my sister and two brothers. They come to the beach every day for me, even though they don’t like it very much. And they’re just so supportive, and they stay and try not to whine or anything. I love my family so much.”
Cascia finished her first season of competitive surfing May 14 and 15 at the Western Surfing Association Championship Tour West Coast Championship at Church Beach. Her debut competition season also included surfing as part of the Marco Forster Middle School surf team in Scholastic Surf Series events.
At the conclusion of the SSS season last month, Cascia was the second-place season finisher in the Orange County middle school girls shortboard division and helped her team to a third-place team finish.
In WSA Girls U12 Shortboard, she ended the season ranked No. 12 among a field of 32.
“I got third in my heat and didn’t advance,” Cascia said. “I heard Jordyn Kelly get like an 8.0 and I thought, ‘Oh gosh. I can’t make it now,’ but I just kept trying. I saw Ryann Daly catch a good wave and felt like I really didn’t have a chance. I still tried; I probably could have tried harder. I caught one OK wave, but I didn’t back it up. I learned that I need to catch more waves. If I see a good one coming, go for it, because I might not have that opportunity again.”
Overall, Cascia counts her first year of contest experience as fun and valuable to her growth as a surfer.
“I loved competing in the whole SSS and WSA season, even though I never made a final in WSA,” she said. “I really like competing, even when I lose. I just review what I did wrong and what I can fix. I like to watch other heats my friends are in, to see where they’re paddling out, where they line up and what they do. I’m not just surfing at contests; I’m studying.”