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Youth reigns at The Vic

Sam Stinnett and Catherine Squillante are first-time winners in professional division of 35th annual World Championships of Skimboarding at Aliso Beach.

July 21, 2011|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Laguna's Sam Stinnett pops a frontside air in route to winning the 2011 Victoria World Championships of Skimboarding at Aliso Beach over the weekend.
Laguna's Sam Stinnett pops a frontside air in route… (Don Leach, Daily…)

New faces went big places at the 2011 World Championships of Skimboarding at Aliso Beach.

The 35th annual championships saw two first-time winners in the Men's and Women's Professional divisions and viewers from around the world taking in all the action from a live feed of the two-day event. The championships started Saturday and concluded with finals action Sunday.

Youth was served in the Men's and Women's Professional divisions, as local athlete Sam Stinnett won the men's title and Catherine Squillante, who traveled from Fredericksburg, Va., claimed the women's crown.

Last year's pro division winners, Morgan Just and Anna Prophet, finished 10th and second, respectively, in the men's and women's finals.

Other division winners were: Brad Dickey (40-and-Up); Paul Wade (30-39); Will Wright (25-29); Johnny Atoe (22-24); Tyler Cruickshank (18-21); Johnny Webber (15-17); Yuoto Kishida (12-14); Casey Ritzer (9-11); Lucas Jablon (8-and-Up) and Lauren Thunen (Women's).

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The wins by Stinnett and Squillante were the big stories from the contest.

"Honestly, I think that the Men's Professional final and the Women's Professional champion were the big surprises of the weekend," said Trigg Garner, general manager at Victoria Skimboards in Laguna Beach, said. "Sam Stinnett has been chomping at the championship bit for a few years and finally climbed to the top.

Stinnett, 18, was less than a month removed from graduating from Laguna Beach High when he won Sunday's championship, his fifth try at the World Championships of Skimboarding. His previous best finish at the WCS was third place.

The battle for first place turned into a family affair: one of Stinnett's two older brothers, Jake, finished runner-up to the title.

"It was a dream come true to be in the final heat with all your brothers," said Stinnett, who played varsity soccer for three years at Laguna Beach High. "I'd like to give a shout out to my dad (Scott) for getting me to where I am today, also to all my sponsors for getting me the necessities of being a professional."

Squillante, a 14-year-old who recently completed the eighth-grade, won the Women's Professional division as a first-time competitor at the WCS. It's a quick ascend for a young girl who first took notice of the sport nearly nine years ago.

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