Waves of change is coming for USA surfing with the hire of a new CEO. The San Clemente nonprofit that took the country’s first crop of Olympic athletes to compete in the sport’s debut in the Tokyo Games — has hired a new CEO to run the show.
And USA Surfing has split with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee as the national governing body for Olympic surfing for the non-Olympic year.
Former CEO Greg Cruse, who led USA Surfing for years helped create the pathway for young athletes to fine-tune their competition skills stated, “It has a fantastic foundation that can be built on now. I still want to be involved but can’t keep up this pace of going and grinding and always worried about the financial side of things.”
Interim CEO Lowery from Encinitas
Coming aboard as USA Surfing’s new interim CEO is Brandon Lowery, who is described as a pioneer in the surf and action sport industry. Lowery, who currently lives in Encinitas, is originally from North Carolina and then lived in Australia for 13 years before transplanting to Southern California four years ago.
He grew up skateboarding and surfing, but also excelled at traditional sports such as tennis and soccer. With a background in economics and finance, he helped launch a series of wave pools abroad and is a partner at the popular BSR wave pool in Waco, Texas. He’s also involved with the firm California Skateparks, helping to design and build parks around the world.
Brandon’s connection in and out of action sports made him an ideal candidate to lead USA Surfing.
“Brandon is super connected. The missing piece to all of this the past 12 year has just been money,” Cruse stated. “We always managed to have enough to get by, to do what we needed to do. I think Brandon, with his connections and experience, is the right fit.”
Lowery is on a mission to focus on the athletes — from the young up-and-comers to the elite-level pros heading to the 2024 Olympics — to have a pipeline that will support their careers and build community and culture.
USOPC and USA Surfing
A statement from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee indicated USA Surfing will not be taking athletes to 2024, instead the Olympic committee plans on folding the sport under its organization.
“The USOPC is proud of Team USA surfing athletes and looks forward to supporting them in the lead up to Paris 2024.”
“This isn’t an Olympic year,” Lowery stated. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with ISA and we will continue to comply with USOPC guidelines. But it gives us an opportunity to focus on what USA Surfing does best, focus on the USA’s top talent. We just want to focus and double down on the USA Surfing infrastructure, staff, partnerships. We still have a strong relationship with USOPC to prepare athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic games. It’s a good opportunity to focus back on the young talent. It just gives us time to catch our breath, focus back on the community and youth, it seems responsible, it feels good.”
One of Lowery’s goals is to reimagine relationships and to bring in cultural aspects of surfing such as music and art, and to find sponsorships both in and out of the surf community.