Australia Takes the Lead in Race for Team Gold on Day 7 At World Junior Championships
Surf City, El Salvador — June 3rd 2022 — There have been multiple contenders in the race for Team Gold throughout the ISA World Juniors in El Salvador, but it was the Irukandjis (Team Australia) who emerged in pole position after Repechage Rounds 4 and 5 were wrapped in each division.
Highlighting the day for the Irukandjis was West Australian Willow Hardy. At home in heavy conditions, Hardy was excited to take on the increase in size at La Bocana for the Girls U-16 division.
“I’m just so grateful that El Salvador is proving the sickest waves and those waves are my favorite,” Hardy said. “It’s so similar to home. I’m just so psyching that we get perfect lefts.”
Hardy also believes that the Irukandjis have what it takes to bring home gold.
“Yesterday was definitely a hard day for Team Irukandji but we’re going to ‘bring the sting’ in the repechage. I reckon we’ve got this,” Hardy said. “Our team trained at the HPC (High Performance Centre) before and really got to know each other. I reckon having a strong team bond is really important as well. Seeing them down there with the tunnel of love after every heat really motivates you.”
Willow Hardy - Australia. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans
In the Boys U-16 division it was Japan and Israel providing the highlights. Yuma Nagasawa (JPN) claimed the best numbers (7.83 + 6.00) for his hyper-critical forehand attack on the La Bocana lefts.
Yuma Nagasawa - Japan: Photo: ISA / Sean Evans
John John Rabinovitch (ISR) might not have found the highest numbers, but certainly brought the entertainment. The 14-year-old snatched an advancing position in the final ten seconds of his Repechage Round 5 heat after recovering from a dramatic disappearing act on an end section hit.
El Sunzal played host to the U-18 divisions and saw a long list of major upsets, with multiple potential event winners knocked out of competition. Léo Casal (BRA), Sanoa Olin (CAN), Lucas Owston (USA), Arena Rodriguez (PER), Marlon Harrison (AUS), and Alys Barton (ENG) each had their runs come to an end in tricky conditions on the long, right point.
Amongst those U-18’s able to find success was Kai Martin (HAW), the soft walls of El Sunzal decimated by his backhand attack. An 8.65 and 7.50 combined for a 16.15 heat total, by far the best of the Boys divisions for the day.
Anon Matsuoka (JPN) found an 8.33 in her Repechage Round 4 heat for the best single wave score of the day of the Girls divisions, but unfortunately lost out in Round 5. Saving the best for last, Lucia Machado (ESP) provided the highest total for the Girls (15.34) during the final heat of the day.
Brazilian Teammates Isabelle Nalu and Laura Raupp advanced together in Girls U-16 Repechage Round 4 at La Bocana. The two are no strangers to international competition and have been slowly building their performances through the week.
“It’s my first ISA and I’m very happy to be here in El Salvador,” Raupp said. “It’s been amazing to be here with the Brazilian team.”
The rising stars delivered some of the best performances of their division today and are enjoying their time together. “When I saw that I was in the same heat with Laura, both of us Brazilians, I was like, ‘We need to pass together,’ and I’m so glad we did,” Nalu shared. “She’s a super good friend of mine and so I’m super happy to advance with her.”
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“The dramatic, exciting team race is starting to take shape. I have no doubt there will be some amazing performances in the quest for both team and individual gold in the coming days. With so many of surfing’s most powerful teams in the race it will be fascinating to see who will be on the podium when this championship concludes.”
“We lost some incredible talent from the competition today, but our Main Event rounds return tomorrow and there are so many exciting surfers ready to perform.”
The 2022 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship will be broadcast live until June 5 on isasurf.org.
The event schedule is as follows:
June 4 – June 5 – Competition at La Bocana and El Sunzal
June 5 – Closing Ceremony at El Sunzal following the close of competition