By Jake Howard
The girls movement in San Clemente and Dana Point gains more and more momentum with every contest on the calendar and every new swell. Last weekend, the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s Southwest Division landed in Huntington Beach, and it was 11-year-old Avery McDonald topping the podium in the Open Super Girls division.
A regular at Lowers, McDonald’s presence in the lineup and on the beach has blossomed the past few months. A regular in the awards ceremonies at Western Surfing Association events, her competitive acumen continues to develop.
In May, McDonald finished runner-up in the Grom Division at the third annual Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Surf Off, where she competed against both boys and girls. Not your typical surf contest, the event, held in Huntington Beach, was also an effort to leave the beach cleaner than they found it—which is exactly what they did, collecting more than 120 pounds of trash.
With good vibes and positive energy on her side, McDonald went on to finish third in the Under 12 Division at the USA Surfing Championships in June. Not only did she make the podium, she was also selected to join the U.S. Developmental Surf Team, along with fellow San Clemente rising stars Mia McLeish and Ezra McPhillips.
After that, it was time to participate in the “Shine With Her” event in Manhattan Beach. With girls showing up from all over Southern California, it was a day full of stoke and empowerment. Founded by pro surfer Leila Hurst, Shine With Her is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping girls build confidence and self-worth in order to thrive in today’s society.
After that, it was off to Cabo for a little family vacation and some training in the warm Mexican waters. And now, after her performance at the most recent NSSA contest, McDonald appears fired up and ready to get after it this season.