Costa Rica’s Leilani McGonagle earns Bronze, South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag earns Copper
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Team France put on a dominating performance at the Grande Plage on day 3 of the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz. Through a superstar final featuring world-class female surfers, Team France’s Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay came out on top and respectively took the Gold and Silver Medals for the host country.
Rounding out the women’s podium were Costa Rica’s Leilani McGonagle, who earned her second ISA World Surfing Games Bronze Medal in three years, and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, who earned Copper Medal.
Pauline Ado expressed her emotions, erupting in joy after the Women’s Final.
“I am so happy to win here in France,” said Ado, “I’ve competed in this event four times and this was my first final. It’s the perfect timing for this Gold Medal to come in France in front of my family, friends, and all those who came here to support me.”
The first of the Women’s Semifinals to take to the water on Monday morning featured a powerful lineup of Teresa Bonvalot (POR), Nao Omura (JPN), Leilani McGonagle (CRC) and Bianca Buitendag (RSA). Strategically navigating the last remnant of a dying swell, both Buitendag and McGonagle relied on their final wave scores of the heat to push them to the top two positions and onto the Final, ending the campaigns of Omura and Bonvalot.
The proceeding Semifinal saw the French teammates, Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay, matched up against New Zealand’s Ella Williams and Germany’s Frankie Harrer. In a wave-deprived heat where waves with high scoring potential were hard to come by, Williams and Harrer were not able to get in a groove, while Ado and Defay made the most of the challenging conditions and scored waves in the three to four point range that proved to be plenty to advance to the Finals.
In the final it was all Team France, as neither Bianca Buitendag nor Leilani McGonagle came close to threatening the scores of the French surfers. Ado needed only three waves to mark her heat total of 12.17, finishing just ahead of her compatriot Johanne Defay’s score of 10.43. McGonagle trailed with a total of 8.40 and Buitendag with 7.47.
Following the Finals the women’s award ceremony was held at Grande Plage, where ISA President Fernando Aguerre, addressed the crowd that gathered.
“Thank you everyone for coming and witnessing the crowning the first ISA world champions in Biarritz in 37 years. For many years the ISA has been running team world championships, often referred to as the ‘Olympics of Surfing’, and this year is very special because for the first time we are crowning gold medalists in the Olympic cycle.
“I would like to congratulate all the women competitors who have done a great job surfing for their countries over the last three days, and especially Team France for their impressive performance. Thank you to the Mayor of Biarritz, Michel Veunac, the President of French Surfing Federation, Jean-Luc Arassus, and all the supporters, you have put on a superb edition of the event that will go down as the best World Surfing Games in history.”
The opening round of the Men’s Main Event topped off the third day of competition at Grande Plage. 18 heats ran in the afternoon with a stiff onshore breeze that made the minimal swell even more difficult to manage.
Portugal’s Pedro Henrique was not phased by the smaller waves and turned out to be the standout performer of the Men’s Division, landing multiple radical maneuvers to earn the highest heat total of 16.17.
Open Women Medalists:
Gold – Pauline Ado (FRA)
Silver – Johanne Defay (FRA)
Bronze – Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Copper – Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
The schedule for Tuesday’s competition is as follows:
7am – 7:40am: 2 heats Men Main Event Round 1
7:40am – 4pm: 25 heats Men Main Event Round 2
4pm-5pm: 4 heats Men Repechage
The Surfline official forecast is calling for surf a new west swell to arrive on Tuesday to provide shoulder high surf in Biarritz.
The schedule for the remainder of the event is as follows:
May 23-28 – Men’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 26 – World Premiere of “Shredding Monsters”, an Olympic Channel Production, 8pm CET at the Municipal Casino Theatre, Biarritz
May 28 – Closing Ceremony, Grande Plage
Watch the event live May 20-28 on www.isaworlds.com.
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 104 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).