Family runs deep in surfing. Fathers and mothers pass their passion down to their children and once they get that first taste of the ocean, more often than not, it's love at first dip. Every once and awhile you will see not just one, but both or more siblings follow suit and carry that passion into adulthood.
From the iconic brother duos of Andy and Bruce Irons, CJ and Damien Hobgood, to Michael and Derek Ho - the legacy of siblings runs deep. Modern day surfing siblings include the likes of Miguel and Samuel Pupo, Evan and Eric Geiselman, and much more but now a brother, sister duo have put their name in the mix to start 2020 - Taj Lindblad and Sawyer Lindblad.
It started with the younger of the San Clemente, California, siblings Sawyer, 14, taking down her first-ever WSL event at the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach QS 1,000 after an astonishing first season among the Pro Juniors earned her a WSL Junior Championships spot. Taj, 17, wasn't far behind at Pismo, earning an equal ninth before both headed to the SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay QS 1,000 where Sawyer would find a second-consecutive finals appearance and Taj a second equal ninth - but not before overpowering some of surfing's legends.
Now that the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro, Junior Pro and Roxy Junior Pro finished off competition for the foreseeable future with Taj earning a runner-up in the QS 1,500 and Sawyer a runner-up in Junior Pro to pick up where she left off in 2019, both head into the break sitting atop the rankings. The WSL caught up with the Lindblad duo to talk 2020, ambitions and more as the world sits on hold.
WSL: What's it like seeing both of you at No. 1 on the North America rankings?
Taj: Being No.1 in North America is so cool. It's pretty crazy that we both are at the same time. We were not really expecting it so, it's been a pretty cool surprise.
Sawyer: It's so awesome to see our hard work paying off. Both being No.1 in North America is pretty surreal!
WSL: How are you guys staying busy amid the abrupt halt to everyday life?
Sawyer: I have been staying busy by getting ahead in school and doing live Instagram workouts. We have also been surfing less crowded breaks.
Taj: I am used to being very active so it is pretty hard during this time. (Our routine right now) we usually surf in the morning, then just do homeschool, then we go back down for a surf.
WSL: Sawyer, aside from surfing what's something you're better at than Taj? Taj, same question.
Sawyer: I'm probably better at getting my school done.
Taj: I get pretty lazy when it comes to school (laughs). But I'm better at fishing and working out than her.
WSL: With the hold, have you been able to look at where you want to be in 2020? Both in and out of the water?
Taj: In 2020 we both want to try to get into the main US open since we are 1st in North America. We would also be super psyched to qualify for the QS 5,000's and Challenger Series next year.
Sawyer: I think we both want to stay healthy and help keep this virus away from our family. Surfing wise, we definitely want to qualify for the US Open Challenger Series.
Speed Round: Worst prank or trick you've pulled on each other?
Sawyer: One time at Lowers, Taj and his friend hid my board in the bushes while I was changing. I started freaking out. After a while, they finally brought my board back.
Taj: (laughs) Yeah sometimes we prank each other. Today, we drove down to the beach today and Sawyer was messing with me and said she forgot her wetsuit.
Who's the better surfer?
Taj: Sawyer surfs longer than anyone in the whole world so she's probably the better surfer.
Sawyer: Taj is definitely the better surfer. He trains so hard and wakes up at 3:30 AM a couple of days a week.
Favorite post-surf grub?
Sawyer: My favorite food after a surf is probably a yogurt parfait from the Cellar.
Taj: My favorite post-surf grub is Nicole's mix from SC Cafe. Best food in the world.
If you weren't surfing you'd be...?
Taj: I would be at the lake or ocean fishing, working out at my gym or my house, or doing school at home (laughs)
Sawyer: I would be eating, doing school, working out, or going on my trampoline.