Team USA Nears Perfection in Defense of Title at VISSLA ISA Juniors

Posted - News Posted for ISA News.

 11 of 12 USA surfers remain unbeaten as they pursue third Team Gold in four years

Australia, Brazil, France, Japan and USA with all competitors remaining in the event

Four days till Junior World Champions are crowned 

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Team USA has got off to a near perfect start through the first half of the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Visit Huntington Beach.

2017 Boys U-16 Silver Medalist Taro Watanabe leading the charge for Team USA. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

2017 Boys U-16 Silver Medalist Taro Watanabe leading the charge for Team USA. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Eleven of USA’s twelve surfers have impressed in front of the local fans at Huntington Beach Pier and passed every heat, an excellent start that has kept nearly the whole team in the Main Event.

USA is looking to earn their third team Gold in four years after having won the 2015 edition in Oceanside, USA and the 2017 edition in Hyuga, Japan.

Two consecutive Titles for USA would be the first time the feat has been accomplished since Team Hawaii earned Gold in 2013 and 2014.

The individual and Team World Champions are set to be crowned on Sunday, November 4.

Cole Houshmand, part of Team USA’s 2017 Gold Medal performance, advanced through Round 3 of the Boys U-18 Main Event and spoke about USA’s early success.

“Team USA went a perfect 24 out of 24 through the first two rounds,” said Houshmand. “The team is doing really well now, so we are stoked.

“It’s great having the event in our home turf. Most of us are from Southern California, so we surf this wave all the time.

“We are defending champs, but we are not trying to put too much pressure on ourselves. We are just having fun and going for Gold.”

Joining Team USA atop the leaderboard are Team Australia, Brazil, France and Japan having all surfers remaining in the competition between the Main Event and elimination Repechage Rounds.

Strong team camaraderie will be crucial heading into the final stretch of the competition. Team Costa Rica supports Eva Woodland as she advances into the Girls U-18 Main Event Quarterfinals. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Strong team camaraderie will be crucial heading into the final stretch of the competition. Team Costa Rica supports Eva Woodland as she advances into the Girls U-18 Main Event Quarterfinals. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Surfers in the Repechage Rounds and Main Event all have the same amount of potential points that they can earn for their team, since a surfer in the elimination rounds can still fight back into the Grand Final.

All three past individual Champions continued strong in the Main Event during Wednesday’s competition. Japan’s Joh Azuchi, Hawaii’s Summer Macedo, and USA’s Alyssa Spencer all moved into Main Event Round 4 in the U18.

Joh Azuchi (JPN) looking to earn his second consecutive Gold Medal in the VISSLA ISA Juniors. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Joh Azuchi (JPN) looking to earn his second consecutive Gold Medal in the VISSLA ISA Juniors. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Mexico’s Alan Cleland was on fire once again in the competition, earning his second 9-point ride in the Boys U-16 Division. His heat total of 14.87 was the highest of the day for the division.

The other high heat totals of Wednesday were earned by Germany’s Lenni Jensen (Boys U-18, 16.73), Germany’s Rachel Presti (Girls U-18, 15.67) and Portugal’s Francisca Veselko (Girls U-16, 15.70).

Canada’s Mathea Olin advanced into the Main Event Quarterfinals in the Girls U-18 Division, showing the emerging talent that Canadian Surfing possesses.

“Our whole team is very young, especially our boys,” said Olin. “They are all surfing amazing and in a few years they will be unstoppable. All our U-18 girls made it to round 3, so we are still alive in the event.

“Coming from Canada, we have very few competitive surfers. With my participation in this event, I really want to inspire other surfers back home to start competing and do what they love.

“A success for Team Canada would be to go out there and put everything we got into our heats. If we surfed our best, no matter what we will walk away with a smile.”

Canada’s Mathea Olin surfs strong to continue in the Main Event. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Canada’s Mathea Olin surfs strong to continue in the Main Event. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“After another day of eliminations, the team rankings are taking shape. The strongest nations and future stars of the sport are making themselves known.

“Anything can happen at this stage. I’ve seen many champions fight through the Repechage Rounds, so keep an eye on the team rankings as they shake up over the remainder of the event.

Huntington Beach does it again on day 5 with more flawless conditions. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Huntington Beach does it again on day 5 with more flawless conditions. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

The schedule for the event will be as follows*:

November 1-4 – Competition at Huntington Beach Pier south side, 7:30am – 6pm
November 4 – Closing Ceremony after competition

*Schedule subject to changes. All times in Pacific Standard Time.

To see the full schedule of activities, click here.

The 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship will be streamed live on www.isasurf.org October 27 – November 4.

About The International Surfing Association:
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).