“Take it one heat at a time.”
True words to live by; especially when they’re coming from the 2008 NSSA men’s high school state champion. At 17, Douglas McLean van Mierlo, AKA “Dougie” or “Dougie Fresh,” has the world on a string—and the weight of it on his shoulders. Not that he can’t handle it. Modest, intuitive and surprisingly cautious, he’s a dream player for any coach and a standout leader on any team.
“Work first, then play” is Doug’s other motto, and one that has helped him maintain a near perfect GPA as well as a coveted position as an instructor at a local summer surf camp.
First surfing at age 10 at the instance of neighborhood friends, he began his competitive run four years later. And it wasn’t long before his reputation began to precede him. First to take real notice was former top 44 and F54 founder Todd Miller. “We were looking for someone down in the San Clemente area as we know there is always a lot of talent from there, and a few people pointed us to Doug… He was dripping with natural talent… Clearly the kind of kid we wanted to add to our program,” stated Miller in a recent interview.
It’s this kind of support and backing that has Doug as an odds-on favorite to take state again. A goal he’s taking very seriously—as well as steering clear of any injuries. A broken foot forced Doug on a brief reprieve last season prior to the championships, but any remnants of the accident are little to none. Daily sessions at either T Street or Lowers, yoga workouts with the team, and nightly stretching have him in top form.
Looking ahead, Doug plans to add Indo to his growing list conquered world class waves, as he’s anxious to charge some good lefts. But beyond travel and his other love for maintaining salt water fish tanks, he remains open to a variety of opportunities. College is a definite, depending on where gets accepted, as are his interests in a marketing career for a major surf brand.
And just so you know, Swell already called dibs-infinite-squared to hire Doug first.