Upsets and Moody Weather Reign at Okuragahama Beach on Day 4 of 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

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Past World Champions fall to Repechage; Australia, France, USA, Japan share lead in teams ranking

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Moody weather and upsets reigned on the fourth day of competition at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. The world’s best junior surfers showed their talent and posted excellent scores despite the challenging, rainy conditions at Okuragahama beach in Hyuga, Japan.

Australia’s Morgan Cibilic displays powerful Surfing to earn the Boys’ highest heat total of day 4. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Australia’s Morgan Cibilic displays powerful Surfing to earn the Boys’ highest heat total of day 4. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Team Hawaii’s pair of past Gold Medalists, Brisa Hennessy (2016) and Summer Macedo (2015), both struggled in their Main Event heats and fell to the Repechage Rounds. If they are to repeat as World Champions, they will have to take the long route to the Grand Final through the single elimination Repechage Rounds.

Hennessy’s run in the Main Event came to an end due to the best performance of the day from USA’s Kirra Pinkerton. Posting two scores in the excellent range, Pinkerton’s heat total of 17.17 was the best of the day and will send her onto the Semifinals where she will look to make her first-ever Final in the event.

USA’s Kirra Pinkerton earns the highest heat total of day 4, the third consecutive day that the honor has been earned in the Girl’s Division. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

USA’s Kirra Pinkerton earns the highest heat total of day 4, the third consecutive day that the honor has been earned in the Girl’s Division. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

After 64 eliminations on day 4 (a total of 120 in the whole event), Australia, USA, France, and Japan remain at the top of the rankings with all athletes left in the competition. As the Repechage Rounds progress over the next few days of competition, the top teams will start to pull away from the pack in their quests towards Gold.

On the Men’s side of the competition Team France’s Tiago Carrique put on a top performance for the defending Team Gold Medalist. Carrique’s 15.94 was the second highest Boys’ score of the day and necessary to pass in first position since Japan’s Riaru Ito earned the third highest heat total of the day (15.60) in the same heat. Carrique and Ito advance onto Round 4 of the Main Event, just three heats away from the Grand Final.

The highest heat total for the Boys during Wednesday’s competition was earned by Australia’s Morgan Cibilic with 16.00 in Round 2 of the U-18 Boys’ Main Event.

Team Japan intends to make it back onto the podium after their first team medal at the event in 2016, and their Surfing thus far has shown that they are more than capable. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Team Japan intends to make it back onto the podium after their first team medal at the event in 2016, and their Surfing thus far has shown that they are more than capable. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

As the surfers competed to keep their dreams alive in the Repechage Rounds, Puerto Rico’s Dwight Pastrana put on an inspiring performance for his nation that has recently been devastated by hurricanes, earning a 6.2 on his final wave to move him into first place and onto the next Repechage Round.

Pastrana spoke about the struggles that Team Puerto Rico is currently going through:

“It’s hard for us right now, but it’s good that we are representing our flag. We are going through a tough situation. There is no power or water at the moment, but hopefully in a couple months we will be out of it.

“It’s on the back on my mind when I’m out surfing in my heats because it’s my family and my people struggling right now. They support us knowing that we are adding our flag to all the other countries here in Japan.

“My advice to the aspiring junior surfers in Puerto Rico is to never give up. Anything is possible. Keep working hard and you’ll get what you want.”

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:

“The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is always full of surprises. Junior surfers from all around the world start their careers here and burst into the spotlight.

“Today we saw some of the favorites fall victim to new emerging surfers, intent on following in the footsteps of the numerous past ISA Junior World Champions that have used this event as a platform to become the best in the world.

“Day 4 is the midway point through the event, and now it’s all downhill towards the Finals and the first ISA World Champions crowned in Japan in 27 years. It’s going to be an exciting finish to the week.”

Competition on Wednesday was called off in the afternoon as heavy rain affected visibility for the judges. Competition will get back underway on Thursday with Repechage Rounds.

The official Surfline forecast is calling for the current swell to linger around on Thursday with waves in the 2-3 foot range.

Puerto Rico’s Dwight Pastrana is received by his teammates on the beach, intent on making his country proud in dire times. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Puerto Rico’s Dwight Pastrana is received by his teammates on the beach, intent on making his country proud in dire times. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The event will be streamed live on www.isaworlds.com September 23 – October 1.

The schedule for Thursday’s competition is as follows*:

Podium 1 (live webcast)

  • 7:00am-7:20am – 1 heat Re-surf Boys U-18 Main Event Round 3
  • 7:20am-9:20am – 8 heats Girls U-18 Repechage Round 2
  • 9:20am-11:20am – 8 heats Boys U-18 Repechage Round 3
  • 11:20am-12:40pm – 4 heats Boys U-18 Main Event Round 4
  • 12:40pm-2:40pm – 8 heats Boys U-18 Repechage Round 4
  • 2:40pm-4:00pm – 4 heats Boys U-16 Main Event Round 4
  • 4:00pm-5:00pm – 4 heats Boys U-18 Repechage Round 5

Podium 2

  • 7:00am-9:00am – 8 heats Boys U-16 Repechage Round 2
  • 9:00am-11:00am – 8 heats Boys U-16 Repechage Round 3
  • 11:00am-12:00pm – 4 heats Girls U-16 Repechage Round 3
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm – 4 heats Girls U-18 Repechage Round 4
  • 1:00pm-3:00pm – 8 heats Boys U-16 Repechage Round 4
  • 3:00pm-4:00pm – 4 heats Girls U-16 Repechage Round 4
  • 4:00pm-5:00pm – 4 heats Girls U-18 Repechage Round 4

*All times in Japan Standard Time, UTC +9:00.

The remaining event schedule will be as follows:

September 28 – October 1: Competition at Okuragahama Beach
October 1:  Closing Ceremony, Okuragahama Beach

The view the official Surfline forecast, click here.

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 103 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