After a hard-fought season in the Challenger Series, Houshmand, Lindblad, Colapinto and Matson will join the world’s best next year
Four surfers from San Clemente have officially qualified for the 2024 WSL Championship Tour and will kick off their rookie seasons next year.
Winning the WSL Challenger Series, which serves as the pathway to graduating to the Championship Tour, Cole Houshmand will lead the charge, with lifelong friends Crosby Colapinto and Kade Matson right behind him.
Meanwhile, Sawyer Lindblad will join the world’s best as one of the few women from San Clemente to ever compete on the Championship Tour.
History in the making, the accomplishments of these surfers marks a seismic shift in the power and prowess of the local scene.
Houshmand, Lindblad and company will join reigning world champs Caroline Marks and Filipe Toledo, both San Clemente residents, as well as world No. 3 Griffin Colapinto on center stage next year.
With San Clemente establishing itself as the premier hotbed for surf talent in the United States today, the future is wide open.
All the surfers who have just qualified for the 2024 Championship Tour have a story to tell. The Colapinto brothers talked about being on tour together when they were just groms and have now turned that vision into a reality.
The next brotherly duo to go on tour together, they’ll be compared to Bruce and Andy Irons, CJ and Damien Hobgood, and Mike and Derek Ho as their journey continues.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. I’ve learned a lot about life through this sport and being in the jersey. I’ve learned dedication, discipline, highs, lows, balance, perseverance, and much more,” Houshmand shared on Instagram.
“Most importantly,” Houshmand added, “I learned to enjoy the journey more than the idea of the destination. The journey is where all the hard work happens, the growing, the good times, and emotions flow. The destination is the icing on the cake.”
Lindblad echoed the sentiment in her own Instagram post, stating that qualifying for the tour had been a lifelong dream of hers.
“I vividly remember writing down my goal during COVID of qualifying for the tour by the time I was 18 years old,” she said. “So many ups and downs to get to this moment.”
Meanwhile, for Matson, the last surfer of the bunch to qualify, it was unclear a year ago if he’d ever even surf again. Struggling with back issues, he finally succumbed to the reality that he would need surgery. Battling back every inch of the way, he’s overcome tremendous adversity to get to where he is today.
“Last year, I wasn’t even sure if I was ever gonna surf again, but I was able to trust everything that was happening to me and always believe in myself,” Matson wrote on Instagram.
And while there’s already plenty to celebrate, the future is bright.
San Clemente’s Jett Schilling, Kirra Pinkerton and Bella Kenworthy also came close to qualifying for the Championship Tour this year and will undoubtedly be more motivated than ever to join their friends.
Collectively, all of these rising stars are inspiring the generation of tomorrow and setting the bar for what success in professional surfing looks like. Undoubtedly, we’re going to see more and more surfers joining the elite ranks in the years to come.
Congratulations to all the surfers, their families, and supporters on their remarkable accomplishments. There will be an entire town riding along with you all next year when you set out to take on the world. This feels like the start of something truly special for American surfing.