American amateur surf contest season came and American amateur contest season went. We'll forgive you if you hardly noticed. Words like "amateur" and "contest" and "season" rarely come together to demand your attention. But they demand mine, and I’ll gladly hand it over (so long as Cops isn’t on). I recently watched as little stars were born at the Surfing America Championships, Volcom's TCT Championships and good ol' NSSA Nationals. So many little star births, so many big trophies. And I learned so much. Namely: who's going to be owning our magazine and its digital appendages in the not so distant future. Namely, these ten kids (Kids as in under 18. In no particular order):Photo: Clayton Burns
He's supremely talented, which is nice and all, but he also seems to have an x-factor thing going on. A good x-factor thing though, you know? Like a he might just decided to paddle into an 8-footer at Teahupo'o when he's 13 x-factor not a he might decide to do a bunch of drugs and join a band x-factor. The good kind, so to write.
We once touted Brisa as the next Carissa Moore. I'm pretty sure we also tried touting Dylan Graves as the next Kelly Slater at some point. Alas, we tend to get a little bit ahead of ourselves at times. Anyway, back on Brisa: She's 15, from Oahu, and surfs with an incomprehensible amount of power for a 15-year-old girl. I have $327 in my savings account and am willing to bet all of it on her making the 'CT within the next six years. Email me for action on that.Photo: Brent Bielmann
Eli is the perfect grom. He's personable. He's cute. He's so small that his perfectly formed surfing looks fake. I don't know when his contract is up with Hurley, but I'd expect a bloodwar to ensue whenever it is. I'm talking team managers choking each other out with logo tees, marketing directors T-boning rear ending each other's Volkswagens on the 405, everything goes type shit…
Griff's already got a cover of SURFING, as well as a profile and an edit to go along with it. Suffice to say, we already think you should be paying attention to him.
Jake is too perfect to not make the 'CT someday. He comes from an awesome family, has spectacular hair, is fundamentally stronger than anyone his age and he's got airs. His surfing kind of reminds me of a young Kolohe. Maybe we should shower him in hype and burden him with expectations? Sounds fun?
He may or may not be an airplane pun waiting to happen, but he's definitely a hell of a surfer. Jett's from San Clemente, which means he surfs Lowers everyday, which means that anyone his age (12) is going to have a very hard time catching up to him.
Nolan has a darkhorse feel to him — maybe because his hair isn't blonde nor does it cast any light nor does it tremble perfectly in the Pacific breeze? He's still relatively unknown in comparison to some of the other kids on this list, but that'll change quite soon. He won the Airshow at Nationals and the Juniors division at the TCT. He told me that he was going to use his earnings to buy rims for his car, which is a really good sign. I once had (clip-on, garage sale bought) spinners on my '94 Ford Escort and would you just look at me now.
It would be a crime against humanity if he doesn't qualify and do well on tour. Need I say more?
Is the next Carissa Moore.
But seriously, Caroline impressed me more than anyone else on this list. She is on an entirely different level. She's got a great support system in her family, a great attitude and a backhand better than any kid (male or female) in her age range. She won back-to-back Open Womens titles at Nationals and that is tremendous because, you know, she's 13. I would bet my $327 on her winning a World Title in the next decade.Photo: Darren Muschett
Stevie's been a stylish little bleep on SURFING's radar for quite some time. He starred in our Grom Games trip last year, and we've already posted a few of his edits on our site. He didn't win anything major this year, but that'll probably just piss him off into winning a bunch of shit in the future.