Eight of the world’s best female surfers remain, making for thrilling semifinals on Monday morning
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The second day of competition has set the stage for the Gold Medalist to be crowned at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games, the first ISA Championship Medal to be awarded at this edition of the event in Biarritz, France.
Three rounds of intense Open Women competition played out at Grande Plage on Sunday. Eight of the world’s top female surfers are left standing, making for star studded semifinals to run on Monday morning.
The first Semifinal will include Portugal’s Teresa Bonvalot, Japan’s Nao Omura, Costa Rica’s Leilani McGonagle, and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, while the second semifinalwill feature France’s Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay, Germany’s Frankie Harrer, and New Zealand’s Ella Williams.
“It was incredible to watch the extremely high level competition during the women’s rounds today,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “Tomorrow will mark a historic moment, as the first ISA Gold Medal will be awarded in Biarritz since the last time the World Surfing Games graced the shores of Grande Plage 37 years ago.”
“Tomorrow will be a must-watch day of world-class women’s Surfing featuring athletes that we could potentially see in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”
Sunday morning’s competition kicked off in 2-4 foot surf accompanied by dreamy conditions groomed by a light offshore breeze.
South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag was once again one of the stand out surfers and backed up her strong day 1 performance, advancing through to the semifinals with consistently powerful Surfing.
“This morning we huddled with the whole team,” said Buitendag. “We assessed the conditions and worked out a game plan. The tides were varying with a dropping swell, which made it a challenge, but I found my waves and my heats were a success nonetheless.”
“The big day is tomorrow. It’s the whole reason that most of us are here. The semifinals and finals will be very exciting to watch. It would mean the world to me to stand atop the podium.”
The first quarterfinal saw the first teammates matched up in a heat with Portugal’s Teresa Bonvalot and Carol Henrique facing off. The Portuguese teammates weren’t able to move on together, as Bonvalot (10.1) went on to the semifinals with Germany’s Frankie Harrer (9.9), eliminating Henrique (8.1) and New Zealand’s Raiha Ensor (8.3).
The local Team France stands as the last with both their female surfers in the competition, as Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay fed off the support of the French crowd at Grande Plage. Both surfers took first place in their quarterfinal heats and will face off in a highly-anticipated Semifinal #2 on Monday.
Leilani McGonagle (CRC), the 2015 Bronze Medalist, continued her strong run through the competition and advanced onto the finals. McGonagle ended the inspiring run of Valentina Resano, the 13-year-old competitor from Nicaragua. In her third year competing in the ISA World Surfing Games, Resano acknowledged that bowing out of the event was not a failure.
“I’ve always wanted to make the quarterfinals of this event,”said Resano. “This is my third year competing in the ISA World Surfing Games and I finally achieved my goal and learned a ton.”
“When I found out that this year the event was going to have WSL Championship Tour surfers, I was especially motivated to have the chance challenge myself against the world’s best.”
In attendance at the ISA World Surfing Games on Sunday was Leonardo Picciani, the Minister of Sport of Brazil. Minister Picciani came to Biarritz to witness the historic edition of the event and the great leaps of growth that Surfing has experienced after inclusion in the Olympic Games.
“Surfing is one of the most popular sports in Brazil,” said Minister Picciani. “There are millions of surfers in the whole country. We have brought a great team for the ISA World Surfing Games and we hope to bring the best team possible to next year’s event and beyond to the Olympic Games.”
“Surfing is an important sport with the power to create social change in Brazil. You can find surfers in all social classes and in the water, everyone is equal.
“We have the ambition to bring the ISA World Surfing Games to Brazil next year in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Our National Federation is in talks with the ISA and they have the full support of the Brazilian government.”
The schedule for Monday’s competition is as follows:
7am – 8am: 3 heats Men Main Event Round 1
8am – 8:40am: 2 Women Semifinals
8:40am – 9am: Break
9am – 9:25am: Women Final
9:25am – 4:25pm: 21 heats Men Main Event Round 1
The Surfline official forecast is calling for surf in the thigh to waist range for Monday with a possible new swell to start showing in the afternoon, set to fully arrive on Tuesday.
The schedule for the remainder of the event is as follows:
May 22 – Men’s/Women’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 22 – Women’s Award Ceremony, Grande Plage
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 102 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). ƒ