Hana Catsimanes, 13, of San Clemente is a determined multi-sport athlete and an accomplished scholar.
This year, her first full competition season in the Scholastic Surf Series, Hana made a name for herself as a member of the champion Shorecliffs Division 1 middle school team, bringing home two wins, a second-place and a third-place finish. Her performance not only earned her the Girls Longboard champion title in Orange County middle school competition, but also the middle school state champion title.
Despite her late-season debut in the Western Surfing Association Tour, Hana ended the season as the No. 5-rated surfer in Girls U14 Longboard, finished No. 13 in a field of 21 in Open Women Longboard, and No. 15 of 25 in Girls U18 Longboard.
“I’m competitive so I like surfing in contests,” she said. “I love to surf, and I just think it’s really fun. I like surfing against other people because I feel like it makes me better. It’s a good way to practice, and it’s a good experience for me.”
Hana has also enjoyed playing soccer since the age of 5. As a part of the West Coast Futbol Club, she recently started with a new team and is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good this year,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the new season. All the girls are good, and we have a great coach.”
She also runs cross country and track with the San Clemente Cross Country club team. In a February high school qualifier meet at Azusa Pacific University, she finished fifth out of 47 high schoolers in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:57.
Hana is looking forward to trying out for all three sports at San Clemente High School next year. Although sports are an important part of her life, and she would “love the chance” to surf professionally in the future, Hana said her main focus in high school will be academics. A straight-A student and a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Hana said her top goal for the next four years is earning acceptance into a good college.
Right now, however, she is counting the days until summer break, amped at the prospect of having an abundance of free time to work on her surfing.
“I’m so excited for summer,” she said. “I just want to surf a lot and try to get as good as I can for high school tryouts.”
She also pointed out that she realizes how much her parents do for her in helping her follow her dreams and wanted to take this opportunity to express her appreciation to them.
“Thanks for always helping me and supporting me and my decisions,” Hana said. “And thanks for taking me to faraway soccer games, paying my entry fees and taking me to surf competitions. I love you so much.”