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Tia Blanco. Photo by Jack McDaniel
Tia Blanco. Photo by Jack McDaniel

By Andrea Swayne

Age: 16, Connections Academy

The last few weeks have been exciting for USA Team member Tia Blanco. On December 28, the San Clemente resident won her first pro contest at the American Pro Surfing Series Shoe City Pro in Huntington Beach. The win not only earned her a $1,200 prize but also the women’s season champion title.

“It was the first time I’ve held up a giant check and it was really exciting,” Tia said.

Then on January 12 she battled through large, pounding surf to a second-place finish at the Surfing America Prime Steamer Lane event in Santa Cruz. As the swell built to triple overhead on day two of the contest, she conquered fear to claim her spot on the podium.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty scary jumping off the cliff in the final. The sets were huge and I had to do the ‘run around’ with 10 minutes left. I had to wait for eight minutes before jumping back in because the waves were just exploding on the rocks, so I didn’t get back into the water until about two minutes left,” she said. “It was a really good experience.”

On Tuesday Tia arrived in Hawaii for the North Shore Surf Shop Sunset Beach Pro Junior and next month she heads to Australia for a couple of Association of Surfing Professionals qualifying events.

“Everything I’m doing now is to challenge myself and gain experience,” Tia said. “My ultimate goal is to make the ASP World Tour and maybe be world champion one day.”

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