Sawyer Lindblad Is The Daughter Of A Web Developer Who Won Her First QS At 14 - Stab Mag

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Sawyer Lindblad Is The Daughter Of A Web Developer Who Won Her First QS At 14

The reigning US Open champion and CT rookie has made finals-day 12 QS events on the trot. 

cinema // Jan 28, 2024
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s seven new rookies on tour, four of them goofs. 

Ramzi Boukhaim is an unofficial goof rookie too, though not according to the Wozzle’s glossary of terms. 

According to a Stab poll of 7000 people, only 34% of the population stand with their right foot forward. For goofs to make up the brunt of the rookie class means… They are better at surfing. 

End of discussion.

Sawyer Lindblad is an 18-year-old rookie goof from San Clemente, California – a region three other CT rookies are also from: Crosby Colapinto, Cole Houshmand and Kade Matson. 

57% of the rookie class coming from one-town is non-trivial and likely has something to do with the camaraderie galvanized by former CT surfer and SITD star Kolohe Andino – who also happened to edit this video. 

With the Pipe event window starting tomorrow and this freshly released 2% clip doing the rounds on Slack, we thought we’d touch base with the most low-key rookie to join the big leagues.

Stab: Got any waves at Pipe yet?

Sawyer: I’ve been trying. It’s so hard. Even just getting an alright one feels good but definitely nothing crazy. I might be getting my first set when I’m in a heat [laughs].

Stab: Have you surfed waves like Pipe before? 

Sawyer: Nope, there’s nothing like Pipe at home. I’ve surfed over in Indo a bunch, that’s kinda been my training ground for waves like this. I have really great coaches over here (Shane Dorian and Miles Paka) on Oahu who have been really helpful in getting comfortable in bigger surf.

Stab: That’s a solid team to have in your corner. I saw your brother just won the QS3000 in Pismo. That’s pretty cool, you won that event last year, correct?

Yep the Lindblads are Pismo Beach specialists [laughs]. The worst wave in the world. Taj couldn’t make a heat for ages so I was pretty stoked for him to get a w. 

Taj’s first QS win came at Morro Bay in February last year. “Yeah some friends of ours who lived nearby take their horses along the beach there. So instead of getting chaired he rode a horse to the podium,” says Sawyer. Photo by WSL

I don’t know much about you other than the fact you made finals day (quarter finals or better) in the past 12 QS events in a row. Want to give me the Sparknotes summary of who you are?

Wow. I didn’t know that [laughs]. That’s pretty cool.

I’m from San Clemente. I live right on the beach at the Riviera and I started surfing because my brother and Dad did it. Dad works as a web developer, Mom works in the medical industry as a Physician’s assistant. I played literally every single sport you could think of as a kid. Tennis, soccer, softball etc. Mom probably wanted me to be a tennis player, but I don’t really like running so I got over that pretty quickly.

Last year was my second year on the Challenger and I ended up winning an event and qualifying pretty quickly. 

At what point did you realize you could make a career out of surfing?

I always loved competing and doing the local contests, and then when I won the US champs at Lowers I feel like that was when I was like ‘Oh, I could probably do this for a living’. Funnily enough, the first QS I ever entered at 14 I ended up winning. But I never thought I would make it to the CT this soon.

Not bad pocket money for a 14-year old. Photo by WSL

That’s incredible. This year has been pretty crazy with Carissa and Steph both announcing breaks from the CT. Along with Tyler Wright, I believe they had a 15-year stranglehold on women’s World Titles until Caroline won at Trestles. How are the girls thinking about it internally? Is it exciting or sad that those superstars won’t be competing all year? 

I think everyone’s just really grateful for Carissa and Steph paving the way for us, but I think our generation: myself, Caity, Bettylou, Molly and so forth just really want to step up and show that we can get to where they were. Big shoes to fill obviously, but that’s the goal.

What’s your analysis of why 4/7 rookies this season are from San Clemente? It feels like the camaraderie has really paid off. 

Kolohe played a huge role in getting the California kids to come together and support each other I think. He loves America and he loves American surfing. Doing the Challenger last year together was amazing. I feel like we were a lot stronger as a team and it reflected in the results. 

Sawyer’s first Challenger Series win at the US Open. Photo by Kenny Morris/World Surf League

Looking at the year ahead, obviously there’s five events before the mid-year cut. Which locations do you think play into your strengths?

Definitely backhand waves like Bells and Sunset. Pipe too. I’m really excited to show that I can surf Pipe. I’m really excited for all the events in all honesty. I feel like I’ve prepared my whole life for this, and I’m just excited to be here and to try my best and show the world that I belong on the CT.

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