ENCINITAS — Two international surfers won the Sambazon World Junior Championships on Friday at Cardiff State Beach, wrapping up a weeklong tournament at times battered by winter rain and high surf.
Jarvis Earle, of Australia, was named the men’s winner with a heat score of 17 on Jan. 13 after defeating Encinitas surfer Levi Slawson’s score of 11.60.
Slawson, 19, was excited to compete in his first world junior championship competition at Seaside Reef off the shore of Cardiff State Beach in Encinitas. The competition invited 24 women and 24 men from nine different countries and six continents to compete.
“The biggest highlight is just seeing everyone killing it out there,” Slawson said, who has been surfing in Encinitas since the age of four and “learned how to surf in Cardiff.”
Although he came in second for the men’s heats, he still managed to dominate the waves he has known for most of his life throughout the week. He received a 16.60 in his semifinal heat against Hawaii’s Eli Hanneman earlier that same day. Any score above 16 is considered excellent.
Two Encinitas women, Alyssa Spencer and Ella McCaffray, also competed in this year’s Sambazon World Junior Championships hosted by Best Western.
McCaffray, 19, was knocked out of the competition during the Jan. 11 elimination round by Japan’s Sara Wakita.
Spencer, 19, a former Jacksonville SuperGirl Surf Pro champion, remained in the competition until she was defeated by San Clemente’s Sawyer Lindblad in the semifinals on Jan. 13.
Lindblad went on to the final heat where she was defeated by Portugal’s Francisca Veselko. Both Slawson and Lindblad came in second place while Spencer came in third.
The competition was the first world junior championship since 2019. As this year’s winners, Veselko and Earle will receive spots in the WSL Challenger Series.