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Taj Lindblad, Bella Kenworthy claim national titles, while San Clemente High and Shorecliffs Middle School Continue Their Dominance.
By Jake Howard
Culminating in national titles for a number of local Dana Point and San Clemente surfers, last week the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) National Championships landed in Huntington Beach. Winning the coveted Open Men’s title was San Clemente’s own Taj Linblad. Besting Encinitas’s talented Nick Marshall in a one-sided final, Lindblad was ripping all week long and received the AI Open Men’s Outstanding Performer inspired by Andy Irons Award.
Not to be outdone by the boys, Dana Point’s Bella Kenworthy blew up in the Open Super Girls division. Claiming her first NSSA national title, Kenworthy went undefeated in the 2018-19 regular season, then won the Regional Championships before blitzing through Nationals.
And because surfing is a family affair for the Kenworthy clan, younger brother Loyal was very stoked to come away with a respectable fourth-place finish in the Open Mini Grom division.
Other winners included San Clemente’s Hayden Rodgers, who won the National Junior Airshow title for the second year in a row, and Kevin Skvarna, who took out the College Longboard division.
San Clemente High won its 19th national title, with Kai McPhillips winning the Varsity Men’s division. And the future is bright, as San Clemente High’s JV squad won its fourth consecutive title. It pulled off a title sweep, with Luke Blackwill winning JV Men’s, Julia Guild winning JV Women’s and Griffin Glenn taking out the JV Longboard division.
Not to be outdone, Shorecliffs Middle School claimed its 16th National Middle School Title. And like the Triton JV squad, Shorecliffs swept the podium, with Brayden Burch winning Middle School Boys, Sawyer Lindblad winning Middle School Girls and Banning Wetzel claiming the Middle School Longboard title.
Congratulations to all of the winners, competitors and kids who dedicated themselves to being better surfers, as well as better people.