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The Surfing America USA junior surf team all in on start of Day 3

PHOTO: Team USA members and fans run to congratulate Colt Ward on Tuesday, Day 2 of the ISA World Junior Championship. Photo: ISA/Chris Grant
PHOTO: Team USA members and fans run to congratulate Colt Ward on Tuesday, Day 2 of the ISA World Junior Championship. Photo: ISA/Chris Grant

By Andrea Swayne

Competition is underway at the 2015 Vissla International Surfing Association World Junior Surfing Championship at the Oceanside Pier and team USA is still fully intact.

As of press time on Wednesday (Day No. 3 of the Oct. 11-18 contest), with all four divisions into or through Round 2 of the qualifier heats, every member of the team had advanced on, and according to head coach Ryan Simmons, were looking powerful, determined and united.

“The team morale and cohesion is strong and everyone is upbeat,” Simmons texted Wednesday morning from the event. “And their level of surfing is top-notch.”

The team is facing a massive field of the world’s best under 18 surfers from 36 countries.

This year’s competition team members are: Colt Ward (San Clemente), Kei Kobayashi (San Clemente), Jake Marshall (Encinitas) and Nolan Rapoza (Long Beach) in Boys U18; Stevie Pittman (North Carolina), Luke Gordon (South Carolina), John Mel (Santa Cruz) and Ryland Rubens (Pacific Beach) in Boys U16; Tia Blanco (Oceanside) and Frankie Harrer (Malibu) in Girls U18; and in Girls U16, Alyssa Spencer (Encinitas) and Tiare Thompson (La Jolla).

The parade of nations and opening ceremonies were held Sunday followed by the beginning rounds of competition on Monday morning.

The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is run in a double elimination format. The top two surfers in each heat move on to the next qualifying round, while third- and fourth-place finishers go to the repechage round, for a second chance at advancing.

A live stream of the event is available online at along with news, recaps, photos and full results.

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