World’s Best Junior Surfers Put Talent on Display During First Full Day of Competition at VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

Posted - News Posted for ISA News, World Surfing News.

Girls take to the water in record numbers, highlight historic gender-equal format of event

Japan’s Kana Nakashio notches event-high heat total and single wave score 

South Africa’s Jordy Smith shows support for Surfing’s future generation, expresses hopes to qualify for Tokyo 2020

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The world’s best Boys and Girls U-18 juniors took the water in the first full day of action at the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship – presented by Visit Huntington Beach – putting their elite talent on display.

Hawaii’s Cole Fry surfed strong on his backhand to earn the day’s highest wave score. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Hawaii’s Cole Fry surfed strong on his backhand to earn the day’s highest wave score. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

In the event’s first year featuring a gender equal format for competition slots, the girls broke participation records and rose to the occasion to demonstrate their world-class talent.

Team Japan’s Kana Nakashio earned the highest heat total of the event thus far with a score of 17.44 in the Girls U-16 Division. Her high wave score of 9.17 was matched by Hawaii’s Cole Fry, who also earned the same score in the Boys U-18 Division.

USA’s Kirra Pinkerton (14.74) and Sawyer Lindbald (13.5) and Japan’s Sara Wakita (13.44) were among the standout girls on the second day of the event, notching solid heat totals in the girls rounds.

In the boys competition, USA’s U-16 athlete Jett Schilling excited the home-town crowd at Huntington Beach Pier with the boys highest heat total, earning an impressive 15.33.

Tahiti’s Kauli Vaast (15.17) and Australia’s Mac McGuigan (15.07) also represented their nations well and got their campaigns off to a strong start, respectively earning the second and third highest totals among the boys.

The 44 countries and 361 surfers mark a record for the event, exemplifying the increased global reach of the sport since Surfing’s inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

England’s Lily Pierce advanced through Round 1 of the U-18 Girls Main Event and expressed her excitement surrounding the record number of girls competing in 2018.

“It’s super cool that the ISA is implementing gender equality in all their events. Women’s surfing is progressing so much around the world and in England.”

2003 ISA Junior Champion and top WSL surfers, Jordy Smith (RSA), returns to the VISSLA ISA Juniors to support the future generation of the sport. Photo: ISA

2003 ISA Junior Champion and top WSL surfers, Jordy Smith (RSA), returns to the VISSLA ISA Juniors to support the future generation of the sport. Pictured along side ISA President Fernando Aguerre. Photo: ISA

Current WSL #6 South Africa’s Jordy Smith, who jumpstarted his career as an ISA Junior World Champion in 2003, came to the event to show his support for the future generation of the sport.

“The surfers are all putting on a great show,” said Smith. “The boys have been surfing well and now I am especially excited to watch the girls take to the water.

“I came up through the ISA Juniors and was fortunate enough to win and have this experience. This is a unique opportunity for these young kids, so they just need to enjoy it.

“Surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is really a cool thing and something that I definitely want to be a part of.”

Rachel Presti takes a heat win for Team Germany in the Girls U-18. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Rachel Presti takes a heat win for Team Germany in the Girls U-18. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

Member of South Africa and ISA Scholarship ambassador Angelo Faulkner commented on his emotions competing in the event.

“This is my second time at the VISSLA ISA Juniors,” said Faulkner. “We did a pre-event training with Jordy Smith who is a past World Champion in this event. He told us to go out there and have fun and our surfing will come naturally.

“I was shocked yesterday when the ISA recognized me on stage during the Opening Ceremony as a Scholarship ambassador. I didn’t expect it. The ISA Scholarship Program really helped me with my school and I was also able to travel around South Africa for Surfing.”

2017 U-16 Silver Medalist, Taro Watanabe (USA), looks to earn an individual Gold in 2018. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

2017 U-16 Silver Medalist, Taro Watanabe (USA), looks to earn an individual Gold in 2018. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Team China’s Qiu Zhuo didn’t advance through the Main Event on Day 2, but he spoke about the importance of China’s first participation in this event.

“I am so stoked to be a part of China’s first Junior team,” said Zhuo. “I feel really proud. I get a chance to travel and compete, which has been really fun.

“Surfing is not yet popular in China, but it’s growing and quickly becoming a lifestyle. I am learning a lot from the other 43 countries here that I can take home and apply to my surfing to improve.”

Team USA cheers on Jett Schilling through his heat win. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Team USA cheers on Jett Schilling through his heat win. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“What an action-packed day of surfing. We ran from dawn to dusk and the world’s best juniors showed us that they came to win, putting on impressive displays of surfing.

“The girls got the spotlight and didn’t put it to waste, showing us the incredible surfing and scores that they are capable of.

“I am looking forward to keeping an eye on the top performers, which surely are in the running to be future Olympians in our sport.”

The schedule for the event will be as follows*:

October 29November 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).