NSSA Standout of the Week: Thelen McKinna-Worrell


Where SURFING recognizes surfers before they're recognizable

NAME: Thelen McKinna-Worrell
AGE: 13
HOME: Malibu, California
School: Malibu Middle School – 8th grade
Sponsors: O'Neill, Tim Ryan Surfboards, Drill Surf, Creatures, P3 Action Sports Training, Surfmonk.

"Eights or lates" is an oft-used competitive surfing saying, at least on the World Tour. But if recent NSSA heat totals are any indication, the mantra has trickled down to the middle schoolers as well.

So Thelen McKinna-Worrell was in good shape last weekend when, during the makeup final for the Northwest Open Juniors at Ventura's C-Street Pipe, he locked in an eight for his first score. He had one snowman, he just needed to make it plural to not go "lates."

So he paddled back out in what he describes as "Clean lines, not like the usual end of the day finals." Before he could even catch his breath, another runner arose and he took it.

"It was probably the best wave of the day, and I did five vertical backside turns," Thelen says. "I knew it was good, but I saw the others getting good ones too. I came in and my friend told me I got a ten. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy; it was my first ten."

Highest single-wave score. Highest heat total. And a clear win for the Zuma kid, who may just inspire a new saying: "Eights are great, but tens are frickin' awesome."