What a month. Jay-Z married Beyonc, while the NSSA filed for divorce from Surfing America. But for patriots and surf fans, the situation is no laughing matter. A weakened US Surf Team infrastructure could mean the return of sub-par rosters, disorganized rider selection and poor performances on the world stage. But fear not! This year's squad is finally locked in, and the list of talent is deeper than a Taylor Steele film. The process was no fly-by-night affair –– it took months of competitive training sessions, team trips and practices to whittle the list from 34 to a square dozen. Not surprisingly, superstars like Kolohe Andino, Luke Davis, Sage Erickson and Dane Zaun made the cut. But nailing down the final slots for France, where the Quiksilver ISA World Games take place in May, was a hard-fought battle. For the Under 18 Boys, it culminated in a dramatic sudden death surf-off between the top three contenders to decide who would fill the team's fourth and final spot. Chase Wilson, Quinn McCrystal and Chase Brady went blow for blow in what competitive guru and …Lost marketing manager Ryan Simmons called "the gnarliest amateur contest I've ever been to." Finding a "pier-bowl" at the horn, Chase Wilson hopscotched his way from third place to first and into a chance to represent the States across the pond. The question: Chase who? The answer: it's Wilson, folks, make a post-it note. We caught up with the lad to get his thoughts on being selected, being bound for France and being totally awesome.
SURFING MAGAZINE: TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE SELECTION PROCESS FOR THE US TEAM AND WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH.
CHASE WILSON: Since the start we've been doing practices like every Wednesday and Thursday, then every couple of months we had camps throughout a whole week. We'd train and practice in those and they'd make rankings off of the camps. Then the last thing we did was to decide the fourth spot and the alternate.
DID YOU FEEL LIKE THE UNDERDOG GOING INTO THAT LAST CONTEST? WERE YOU NERVOUS?
It was pretty heavy, a lot of people were really focused throughout the whole thing. I was definitely nervous, but I didn't want to let that get to me. I just went out and surfed, had fun with it and did well. Stoked.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO FRANCE?
No, I've never been. Seems like it's going to be fun though.
WHAT ABOUT THE GROUP THEY PUT TOGETHER THIS YEAR?
Everyone's super cool, everyone's good people, fun to be with. A lot of friends on it. It's going to be fun to travel with them.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TAKING ON THE WORLD AT THE ISA?
I've never been in a contest that big, except maybe Nationals. There's a lot of gnarly kids from around the world, but I don't know. Our team this year is pretty gnarly. The Under 16's have Brother and Luke, all those kids. They all rip. It's a really good team, I think we could win it if we really want to.
For more on the PacSun USA Surf Team or to help them in their quest for a world championship, visit www.SurfingAmerica.org