Ten Things You Need to Know About the DaKine ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong

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Depending on the tide, the beachbreak wave at Playa Venao can be heaving barrels or super rippable lefts and rights. Photo: ISA/Demarsan

DaKine ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong
April 14 to 22, 2012
Playa Venao, Panama

With the tenth edition of the DaKine ISA World Junior Championship Presented by Billabong set to commence in just a few weeks time, there is a lot to start to think about. It is a fact that the event will feature many of the top under-18 athletes from outposts around the world looking to establish themselves as the next big thing in surfing.

What’s yet to be determined is which athletes will assume those roles. For every highly rated junior, like Dylan Lightfoot (RSA) or Creed McTaggart (AUS), there’s the possibility that some lesser-known Tahitian or Venezuelan boy or girl could also step up and shock the world. Surprises come with the territory.

With that in mind, here are 10 things you need to know – and should know – about the upcoming event:

The DaKine ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong is the biggest surfing event in the world for under-18 surfers, with nearly 300 competitors from over 30 countries. It is the pinnacle of the career of every junior surfer around the world.

The event gathers the best junior surfers from every continent to compete for their National Teams in an “Olympic-style” event. The surfers compete for medals and the honor of representing their respective countries. There is no cash prize awarded.

The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship is an annual event, in its tenth year as a stand-alone event. The ISA began including the Junior division at the ISA World Championship in 1980, which was held at Biarritz, France. Surfing legend and three-time ASP World Champion Tom Curren was the first ISA Junior Champion. Thirty-one years later, in 2011, Curren also became an ISA Masters Champion.

The DaKine ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong will mark the third consecutive year that Panama has hosted an ISA event. In 2011, the ISA World Surfing Games took place at Playa Venao, and in 2010 the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship was held at Santa Catalina.

Panama won the hosting bid over other candidate nations because of its continued commitment to a better surfing future, its ideal high-performance wave conditions for the explosive lineup of surfers scheduled to compete in the event, the dedication of its Tourism and Sports Department and also as a means to help develop surfing in the region.

Athletes from over 30 countries will surf the waves of Playa Venao, located in Los Santos province, five hours away from Panama City. Powerhouse teams including Australia, USA, Hawaii, Brazil, France, South Africa and Peru (the defending team champions) and the host, Panama, will be seeking a place on the podium in the three individual divisions (Boys Under-18, Girls Under-18, Boys Under-16) and, most importantly, in the overall team standings.

In the history of the event, 1,964 athletes have competed. The first junior championship had 128 surfers in contention, while the 2012 event is expected to have 288 surfers, with 96 in each of the three divisions.

The venue for the event is a tropical setting with air and water temperatures on par with summer in Hawaii, and located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country. The waves at Playa Venao, depending on the tide, can be hollow beachbreak barrels or perfect, rippable left- and right-handers. The wind conditions this time of year are also ideal, blowing offshore most days.

The tenth edition of the championship will officially open on April 14 in Pedasí, 30 minutes east of the event venue, at the traditional ISA Opening Ceremony, which will include the Parade of the Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony.

The participating countries will pour sand from their favorite beaches into the same container, representing the peaceful union of the nations through the love of the sport of surfing.

Major Dates

Friday, April 13
Press Conference, Pedasi

Saturday, April 14
Parade of the Nations, Opening Ceremony and Sands of the World Ceremony

Sunday, April 15
Competition Begins

Tuesday, April 17
ISA Aloha Beach Party

Sunday, April 22
Closing Ceremony

Past individual and team champions of the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship are:

Under 18 Boys
1980 – Biarritz, France: Tom Curren (USA)
1982 – Gold Coast, Australia: Bryce Ellis (AUS)
1984 – Huntington Beach, USA: Damien Hardman (AUS)
1986 – Newquay, England: Vetea David (TAH)
1988 – Aguadilla, Puerto Rico: Chris Brown (USA)
1990 – Chiba, Japan: Shane Bevan (AUS)
1992 – Lacanau, France: Chad Edser (AUS)
1994 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Kalani Robb (HAW)
1996 – Huntington Beach, USA: Ben Bourgeois (USA)
1998 – Carcavelos, Portugal: Dean Morrison (AUS)
2000 – Porto de Galinhas, Brazil: Joel Centeio (HAW)
2002 – Durban, South Africa: Warwick Wright (RSA)
2003 – Durban, South Africa: Ben Dunn (AUS)
2004 – Papenoo, Tahiti: James Wood (AUS)
2005 – Huntington Beach, USA: Jefferson Silva (BRA)
2006 – Maresias, Brazil: Julian Wilson (AUS)
2007 – Costa de Caparica, Portugal: Jadson André (BRA)
2008 – Seignosse, France: Alejo Muniz (BRA)
2009 – Salinas, Ecuador: Dean Bowen (AUS)
2010 – Piha Beach, New Zealand: Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2011 – Punta Hermosa, Peru: Cristobal De Col (PER)
2012 – Playa Venao, Panama: ?

Under 18 Girls
2003 – Durban, South Africa: Jesse Miley Dyer (AUS)
2004 – Papenoo, Tahiti: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2005 – Huntington Beach, USA: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2006 – Maresias, Brazil: Pauline Ado (FRA)
2007 – Costa de Caparica, Portugal: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
2008 – Seignosse, France: Laura Enever (AUS)
2009 – Salinas, Ecuador: Tyler Wright (AUS)
2010 – Piha Beach, New Zealand: Tyler Wright (AUS)
2011 – Punta Hermosa, Peru: Canelle Bulard (FRA)
2012 – Playa Venao, Panama: ?

Under 16 Boys
2003 – Durban, South Africa: Jordy Smith (RSA)
2004 – Papenoo, Tahiti: Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
2005 – Huntington Beach, USA: Tonino Benson (HAW)
2006 – Maresias, Brazil: Owen Wright (AUS)
2007 – Costa de Caparica, Portugal: Garret Parkes (AUS)
2008 – Seignosse, France: Tamaroa McComb (TAH)
2009 – Salinas, Ecuador: Keanu Asing (HAW)
2010 – Piha Beach, New Zealand: Matt Banting (AUS)
2011 – Punta Hermosa, Peru: Filipe Toledo (BRA)
2012 – Playa Venao, Panama: ?

Team Title
2003 – Durban, South Africa: Team Brazil
2004 – Papenoo, Tahiti: Team Australia
2005 – Huntington Beach, USA: Team Hawaii
2006 – Maresias, Brazil: Team Australia
2007 – Costa de Caparica, Portugal: Team Australia
2008 – Seignosse, France: Team Australia
2009 – Salinas, Ecuador: Team Australia
2010 – Piha Beach, New Zealand: Team Australia
2011 – Punta Hermosa, Peru: Team Peru
2012 – Playa Venao, Panama: ?

Past ISA World Junior Champions include current ASP World Tour competitors Gabriel Medina (BRA, 2010), Tyler Wright (AUS, 2010, 2009), Alejo Muniz (BRA, 2008), Laura Enever (AUS, 2008), Jadson Andre (BRA, 2007), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS, 2007), Julian Wilson (AUS, 2006), Owen Wright (AUS, 2006), Pauline Ado (FRA, 2006), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS, 2005, 2004), Matt Wilkinson (AUS, 2004) and Jordy Smith (RSA, 2003).

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, Para 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; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).