South Bay Teens: 10 to Watch
They are young. They are talented. They are the South Bay’s bright future. Meet 10 extraordinary local teens, handpicked by our readers for their amazing gifts, inspirational stories and incredible potential for success.
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Noah Collins, 16 | Manhattan Beach
Every morning at 5:50 a.m., Manhattan Beach’s Noah Collins hits the waves for early surf before heading to class at Mira Costa High School. Once school lets out, he’s back on the water for an afternoon session. This is the life of a young competitive surfer.
“Surfing is incomparable to any other sport,” he says. “It’s not like basketball, where in any sort of conditions, you can practice the same lay-up 100 times in a row. In surfing, every wave offers different opportunities and is never the same, making it very hard to practice a variety of maneuvers in a series of days. It’s very challenging, and I am a person that likes to conquer challenges.”
To date, Noah has been sponsored by Body Glove, Spyder Surf Shop, Roberts Surfboards, Electric eyewear, Sanuk shoes, Sector 9 skateboards and Waxy Wax. “They supply me with all the product I need and a lot of support towards pushing me to get to the next level in my career,” he says.
When in Tahiti with the Body Glove team, the surfer had the opportunity to mingle with some of the greats in his sport. “Jamie O’Brien, Cheyne Magnusson, Anthony Walsh, Greg Browning, Brent Bielmann, Scott Smith and I surfed Teahupo’o and many other spots on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea,” he relays. “This amazingly talented group of guys led it to be the trip of a lifetime.”
Next year, Noah’s biggest goal is to begin the Pro Junior circuit, doing worldwide contests, upping his game and getting decent results. “Surfing a crowded spot or my home break with some really good surfers that I look up to pushes me more than anything to do what they are doing and to go bigger and better.”
Jazmin Chang, 13 | Manhattan Beach
"I wanted to get out of the house and do a sport, but I didn’t want to be like everyone else,” says Jazmin Chang, a Manhattan Beach native, of her decision to become an aerialist (an acrobat who performs in the air on a suspended apparatus, like a trapeze or rope). “I’ve played the piano, dabbled in jujitsu, but this was an instant passion for me. I couldn’t get enough. I started off with a two-hour class once a week, and within six months, I was at the studio every day.”
The eighth-grader at Manhattan Beach Middle School describes how this challenging sport allows her to be creative, artful and expressive. “I do it all the time. Doing my homework, I’m stretching … while eating breakfast. I made a joke one day with my mom, when she complimented me on my handstands, which I do all the time, and I said, ‘Yeah, but I’m having trouble when both feet are on the ground.’”
Jazmin admits it can be a balancing act fitting in time for school and time at the studio training. “Being responsible and putting what I have to do before what I really want is a big challenge. If I could, I would train every day, that’s what I want. But I know that I need a good education to support my future.”
Luckily, her parents have her back 100% and make sure to attend every performance. “They have encouraged me to catch my dreams and to never let them go,” she says.
Right now, the teen is learning more apparatuses and new routines in order to improve her craft. “My coaches tell me that I have a lot of natural talent, natural musicality, so I would love to be expressing that in whatever art form I can,” she says. “I think I am the best when doing what I love.”