“It’s been a real big goal of mine,” Pitz said. “I’m excited to get to compete.”
She made the final cut as a group of the 20 best Under-18 surfers was whittled down to 12, after training camps in Huntington Beach, Oceanside, San Diego and Santa Cruz.
Pitz said she’s never been to New Zealand but she’s definitely looking forward to it. Last year, the World Juniors were in Ecuador at a break called La Fae. The United States placed fourth, a cumulative team score that also includes results from boys’ Under 18s and Under 16s.
Australia won the team title.
Coach Ian Cairns, also a Laguna Beach resident, made the recommendations for this year’s final team.
In August, Cairns led the U.S. to the gold medal at the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica, their first since 1996.
Conlogue won the women’s open division to help the cause.
“He’s a really awesome coach,” Pitz said. “Everyone’s really come a long way this year. He’s really helpful and I think he also motivates us to try our hardest. He’s pretty critical and you don’t want to come back in knowing you did something wrong.”
Cairns definitely knows Pitz. On Wednesday evening, she was baby-sitting as he and his wife, Alisa, went out to dinner. Alisa Cairns, who like her husband is a former pro, is the assistant coach on the Breakers’ surf team, so she has also gotten to see Pitz’s talents.
Pitz has been a mainstay for the high school team. She’s been the girls’ shortboard champion in the South Coast League for two years running and the team MVP all three years.