Teenage Tidal Wave

This Virginia Beach phenom was practically born on a surfboard.

Cose Stoyanoff started surfing when he was just four years old. His dad and brothers would gently push him into the waves, his floaties strapped on tight for safety. They’d help stand him up on the wobbling board to gain balance and stand guard against sharks.

A short 10 years later, 14-year-old Cose is rising through the ranks of the competitive surf world.

“I’ve been competing since fifth grade, and I immediately loved it more than any other sport I’d done,” says Stoyanoff. “I hated getting out of the water to go to soccer practice.”

These days, Cose is a regular on the tournament circuit. In June, he competed in the National Scholastic Surf Association’s national championship in Huntington Beach, California. The NSSA requires its young surfers to maintain academic standards in order to compete. And the waves aren’t the only place Cose excels. He’s an A-student enrolled at Virginia Virtual Academy, which offers a curriculum that caters to his traveling surf schedule.

His success in the water has landed him a slew of sponsorships with brands like O’Neill, Lost Surfboards, and REAL Watersports.

In July, he competed in two O’Neill East Coast Grom (a slang term for a young, precocious surfer) contests, in Buxton, North Carolina (on Hatteras Island) and his hometown of Virginia Beach, as well as the 60th Annual Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championship in August.

Although he’s traveled the world for the sport, Cose says his favorite place to catch a wave is still Virginia Beach. “I like surfing the First Street Jetty, Croatan Jetty, and Little Island in Sandbridge,” he says. “They’re super crowded with all levels of surfers.”

So what’s on the horizon for this teenage tidal wave? He’s got his sights set on the 2024 Olympic Summer Games in Paris, where surfing’s on the summer sports roster.

This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue.

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