With the 2009 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games quickly approaching on July 31st through August 8th, Surfing America just announced the PacSun USA Surf Team. Hoping to beat last year's silver, the team is stacked with a mix of seasoned competitors and a few fresh faces. Though defending Men's Champion CJ Hobgood will not be in the lineup, former ASP World Tour stars Ben Bourgeois and Cory Lopez will represent the U.S., along with Austin Ware and Nat Young.
Coaching the team is Ian Cairns, who has been a major force in competitive surfing for decades. "Cairns is making his debut as a coach for the team, and he commands complete knowledge of the sport and the athletes," said Mike Gerard, Executive Director of Surfing America.
Masters at beach break barrels, Lopez and Bourgeois are both particularly suited for Playa Hermosa. Currently ranked in the Top 10 on the WQS, Austin Ware should also be a solid addition. "He has a spectacular backside and he'll be really potent," said Cairns.
Nat Young, the fifth-rated Junior in North America who recently won the Arnette All Day Antics Pro Junior rounds out the Men's team. Cairns said he is really looking forward to see what the up-and-comer brings to the competition. "He has a really great traditional surfing style--great in reef breaks, very solid fundamentals, good tube riding."
As for the women's team, with no U.S. surfers from the ASP Women's World Tour, U.S. has turned to budding stars Courtney Conlogue and Sage Erickson. Conlogue is the 2009 ISA Girls Under 18 silver medalist and Erickson is in the top 15 on the WQS. "Sage has a lot of competitive experience," said Cairns. "And Courtney Conlogue is one of the most promising young female talents in the world. I'm expecting her to be a very solid contender to win the event to be honest."
Toni Silvagni and Steve Newton finish out the Pac Sun USA Surf Team as representatives for the Longboard Division. Both are ranked in the Top 10 in the Professional Longboard Association, the North American qualifying series for the ASP World Longboard Tour. "Both of them are beach break specialists and have new-school style. They'll be a really good choice for the waves we're going to have down there," said Cairns.
The team plans to use the upcoming US Open in Huntington Beach to prepare for the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games. "The next day we fly to Costa Rica and away we go," said Cairns. "I'm really looking forward to going down there and getting a real good spirit of rivalry going. I think these events are really phenomenal cultural exchanges between different countries. And it gives people and opportunity to surf for their country."