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A mother’s love helps

Star surfer Conlogue of Sage Hill School rose to a huge victory at U.S. Open of Surfing Saturday, drawing support from her mother, Tracey.

July 30, 2009|By Steve Virgen

Not too long ago, Courtney Conlogue took a trip to Hawaii to compete in surfing, but there was something missing, actually someone.

Conlogue, an incoming senior at Sage Hill School, picked up the phone to call her mother, Tracey.

“It’s just not the same without you,” Conlogue told her mother. “Because when you are here, my desires and needs are immediately met.”

Conlogue has coaches, mentors and plenty of adoring fans who support her. But they don’t come close to the importance and intimate style of Mom.

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She’s been there from the start.

She was also there to see Conlogue’s greatest feat in her young surfing career. The 16-year-old won the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing and the reward of $10,000 in front of about 70,000 fans Saturday in Huntington Beach.

There was no need to book a flight or reserve a car rental for this one. As Conlogue put it, the victory took place in her backyard. The Conlogues don’t live too far away, residents of nearby Santa Ana.

During this time of year, they are hardly ever home, especially Courtney Conlogue. This week, she’s competing in Costa Rica for the Billabong International Surfing Assn. World Surfing Games.

Usually, when she travels internationally to compete, she’ll reserve a room separate from teammates or other surfers. She’ll stay with her mom.

Tracey Conlogue is like a second coach, said former U.S. junior national team coach Joey Buran, who was recently inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.

Buran, a Costa Mesa resident, said Tracey Conlogue keeps her daughter in line and also clears any distractions that might come her way.

The mother also keeps the daughter fit.

“She and I have a really hard work ethic together,” the mother said moments after watching her daughter being carried to the awards stage atop the shoulders of fans while she displayed an American flag. “As a team, she innately knows what she needs. I hate to sound so cliche, but the early bird gets the worm.”

Tracey Conlogue was referring to her daughter’s drive to continually practice in the morning and be the first to hit the waves. That happened back in April, when Courtney competed in the ISA World Junior Championships in Salinas, Ecuador.

Team USA finished fourth and Australia won for the fourth straight year, but during the week, Tracey Conlogue and her daughter made sure they would not get beat to the morning waves.

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