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Age: 15, Cal Prep Academy , San Clemente High School
By Andrea Swayne
Malia Ward was the youngest, and the only female, caddying for a professional surfer in the lineup at Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore during the Vans World Cup of Surfing, the second of three contests in this year’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
As the daughter of professional surfer Chris Ward, Malia was given a nod of confidence by her dad and invited to serve as his official board caddy for his December 2 through 4 heats in the event.
Caddies must paddle out an extra board on hand for their competitor in case the surfer breaks the one they are riding. After handing the board off to the surfer, the caddy must then swim back in unassisted. Should a caddy need assistance returning to the beach, the surfer will be charged with an interference.
“It was amazing and it made me feel really brave and tough to be out there with pros like Sunny Garcia and CJ Hobgood,” Malia said. “You have to keep an eye on the beach and always know where you are; make sure you’re not in the contest area where the big waves are breaking. I was excited to be out there watching my dad rip. It was my first time out at Sunset but I hope to compete there in the future too.”
Caddying wasn’t the only memorable experience Malia made during the Triple Crown. She also had the honor of serving as an on-camera webcast host for The Surfing Channel’s coverage of the Surfer magazine Surfer Poll Awards.