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Laguna's Conklin rules

Victoria Skimboards World Championships of Skimboarding

Laguna Beach High alumnus captures Pro Men's division title for first time at world championships of skimboarding.

July 04, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(Don Leach / Coastline…)

The title of Pro Men's champion of the Victoria Skimboards World Championships of Skimboarding still belongs to a rider from Laguna Beach.

This year's title was won by recent Laguna Beach High graduate Blair Conklin who captured the Pro Men's division for the first time. Conklin, 18, emerged victorious from a highly-competitive field.

He defeated Bill Bryan (fourth place), a 14-time world champion, in the semifinals, then got past Brandon Sears in Sunday's final at Aliso Beach Park in Laguna Beach.

Sam Stinnett of Laguna Beach, last year's Pro Men's champ, finished in third place.

"It's a pretty good start to the summer," said Conklin, who graduated last month from Laguna Beach. "Sunday was a tough day because we had to skim five heats in one day. The competition was tough."

Conklin, of South Laguna Beach, had previously won amateur age group division titles at "The VIC." He's ranked No. 2 in the United Skim Tour world rankings, behind Stinnett.

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Conklin finished third in last year's Pro Men's final.

"Winning this is something that's definitely a big accomplishment for me," he said. "It's something I've always wanted to do, and now I can take it off my bucket list."

Keiao Gucwa-Bucasas of Hawaii won the Pro Women's division.

"The VIC brings out the highest level in every competitor on the beach, and this year was no exception," said Kyle McClure, general manager of Victoria Skimboards in Laguna Beach. " Victoria Skimboards embraces the opportunity to hold an event that showcases the world's best, alongside the future superstars of the sport and after the 37th annual VIC, the future is looking pretty bright."

Championships were earned in 12 divisions over the weekend.

"Blair's style, along with his explosiveness, is pretty incredible," McClure said of Conklin. "I am sure this is a first in many VIC titles for the kid, as we are only going to see him get better. A truly deserving champion.

"Keiao is a leader in the women's pro division, heading the charge in the progression and ability that the women posses. Bottom line, she is a charger."

McClure said the contest, which started Saturday and was broadcast via a live webcast, had its most consistent surf in the "past 10 years."

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