Huge Upsets And Incredible Action at the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
Huge Upsets And Incredible Action From The Point To The Beach Break With The Worlds Best Juniors
Day 5 of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) in Ecuador was “do or die” for many countries and athletes, as a 3rd or 4th place in the Repechage heats meant elimination from the world’s largest junior surfing competition.
Today witnessed huge upsets. Defending Boys U-18 Gold Medalist from the 2013 ISA WJSC, Josh Moniz (HAW) was eliminated from the contest. Another casualty was one of the event favorites, Noe Mar McGonagle from Costa Rica, who came close to a Gold Medal in 2012 and was chasing after the title in his last year as a junior.
The nail-biting day featured heats in the Repechage rounds 2-5 for both Boys and Girls divisions. With the current swell maintained in the 2-4 feet range, although bigger waves are on the way. Surfline, the official forecaster of the event has predicted a building swell on Saturday that will deliver 5-8ft waves with occasional 10ft+ waves on Sunday.
After 5 days of competition, Team France is leading the charge as they have only lost one of their 12 athletes so far. Following close behind are Australia and Hawaii.
The host country, Ecuador, is sitting in 12th place after losing all of their athletes except Esnaider Parrales, who is keeping the hopes alive for the local team in the Boys U-18.
“As we approach the final days of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, all teams are giving their best effort,” commented ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “I wish the best of luck to all the surfers remaining in the contest.
Aguerre also said, “The world’s best juniors are guaranteed to put on an incredible show all the way to the finals so make sure not to miss any of the action on the live webcast.
The main podium featured Repechage 2-5 for the Boys U-18 and U-16.
Italy’s Leonardo Fioravanti, 2013 ISA WJSC Silver Medalist, was the best surfer in the U-18 Repechage. Fioravanti earned a 13.50, and defeated Costa Rica’s Manuel Mesen (9.17) and Canada´s lone competitor, Sean Foerster (3.73), who is now out of the Medals race. The Italian advanced in 1st place in his next Repechage heat.
“It’s not like the Qualifying round, where you lose and you get another chance so this is it; everyone’s giving 100%,” remarked Fioravanti on the level of competition.
In the Boys U-16, France’s Tituan Boyer was the standout of the round, earning the highest total heat score of 9.90, defeating Mauiki Raioha (8.03, HAW), Luis Pereira (7.83, POR)
The second podium featured Repechage 3 and 4 for the Girls U-18 and U-16.
In the Girls U-18, despite getting off to a great start in her Round 3 heat, USA’s Frankie Harrer, was sent home in her Repechage Round 4 heat.
Harrer scored 11.80, the highest score of the division in Repechage 3, but in Repechage 4, Harrer came up short, posting a 6.90 and finished in fourth. The American and NSSA standout was defeated by Hawaii’s Bailey Nagy, who scored 8.80, placing first, Argentina’s Lucia Cosoleto (7.64), in second, and Japan’s Hinako Kurokawa (7.17), in third.
The standout of this round was Australia’s Holly Wawn, a member of the 2013 Australia Gold Medal Team, who earned the highest heat total of 9.33.
In the Girls U-16, Billie Melinz (AUS), the 2013 Australian Rip Curl Grom Search Champion, set the pace in the division where she has fought her way through with good performances after dropping out of the qualifying round.
The Aussie scored 11.00, the highest heat total of the Day in her Repechage 4 heat. Melinz defeated Lisa Girardet (7.00, FRA), Elin Tawharu (3.73, NZL) and Lilly Von Treuenfels (3.33, GER).
Friday will feature the semifinals of the ISA Aloha Cup, a tag-team relay competition featuring the top 7 finishing teams from last year’s ISA WJSC, plus the host country, Ecuador. Each team is made up of 4 boys and 1 girl surfing in a Semifinal followed by the Final on Sunday.