Non-traditional surfing nations leave their mark on competition in Huntington Beach
Australia’s Joel Vaughan earns highest heat total of event thus far
Hawaii’s Gabriela Bryan continues to roll in Womens’ U-18
As the 2019 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Visit Huntington Beach nears its midway point, the global growth and development of surfing has become evident through the improving performances of athletes from non-traditional surfing nations.
Athletes representing nations such as Sweden, Germany, Costa Rica, Italy, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Canada, to name a few, have had success in the event and passed heats to keep their Gold Medal hopes alive.
Team Germany’s Lenni Jensen represents one of these athletes from a land-locked, non-traditional surfing nation who is having early success in the event, advancing through to Boys U-18 Round 4 (of 6) in the Main Event.
“Today the conditions are amazing,” said Jensen. “I’ve never seen Huntington Beach this good. I am really looking forward to surfing more heats out here.
“It would mean everything to win a Gold Medal in this event. Representing my country is the best feeling in the world.
“Team Germany’s support in this event motivates me so much out in the water. Everyone is so hyped up for our heats and we have that team spirit really locked in.”
Canada’s Mathea Olin, another representative from a rising surfing nation, passed her Girls U-18 Repechage heat to continue in the event. Olin made her mark on the global stage earlier this year, showing her versatility in winning a Bronze Medal in the longboard competition at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
“Having Team Canada here in Huntington Beach definitely plays a huge role in inspiring other surfers back in Canada,” said Olin. “Everyone here is completely ripping. Every year our team gets better and better.
“With lots of people back home watching and young surfers wanting to come and compete internationally, it’s been amazing. I am looking forward to seeing the next generation start competing in this event.”
The fourth day of competition saw classic offshore conditions at Huntington Beach Pier. Team Australia’s Joel Vaughan took advantage to earn the event’s highest heat total thus far with 16.87 in the Boys U-16.
Hawaii’s Gabriela Bryan continued to be a standout in the Girls U-18 Division, earning the highest girl’s heat total of the day with 14.27.
Nicaragua’s 13-year-old Candelaria Resano outperformed the field in the Girls U-16 Division, earning a division-high total of 14 points to continue in the Main Event.
South Africa’s Eli Beukes left his stamp on the Boys U-18 Division with the top performance worth 16.33 points.
Among the past ISA Junior World Champions competing in the event, a few have stumbled into the Repechage Rounds, making the road to add to their Gold Medal count more challenging, and confirming the high level of competition in this year’s event.
Japan’s Keanu Kamiyama fell into the Repechage Rounds in the Boys U-18 and Germany’s Rachel Presti will have to battle through the Girls U-18 Repechage.
Joh Azuchi (JPN), Alyssa Spencer (USA), and Caitlin Simmers (USA) all have remained unbeaten in the Main Event in their pursuit to become two-time Gold Medalists.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“As I have said before, the ISA is truly the United Nations of Surfing. We have 44 nations here with surfers of all races, cultures, and social classes.
“Many surfers who often don’t have the opportunity to show their talents on a global stage do get such a chance here with the ISA, and we have witnessed the talent pool growing deeper in non-traditional surfing nations.
“We all know that countries like Australia, Brazil, France and USA, produce great surfers, but here we have seen landlocked countries holding their own against the more established surfers. That’s truly a testimony to the ISA’s commitment to the globalization of the sport.”
The official Surfline forecast is calling for a continued waist to chest high waves and another day of clean offshore conditions on Thursday.
The 2019 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is broadcast live until November 3 on isasurf.org.
View schedule for Thursday’s competition here.
The remaining event schedule is as follows*:
October 31 – November 3 – Competition on the south side of Huntington Beach Pier, 7am – 5pm
November 3 – Closing Ceremony at Pier Plaza following the close of competition
*Subject to changes. Pacific Standard Time.