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Gigantic Surf for Day 7 of the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games

Huge swell inundated Surf City for day seven of the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games (WSG). Triple overhead sets marched down the coast, setting the scene for an incredible day of surfing. Men and women alternated throughout the day, moving through main rounds 5 and 6 and repechage rounds 8-10.

The results of the final heat of the day delivered the news that Tahitian local Vahine Fierro (FRA) had clinched the European women’s slot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. As one of two athletes in the draw to call the Paris 2024 Olympic Surfing venue of Tahiti home, Fierro was extremely excited to solidify her slot in El Salvador and prepare for the Olympic Games to come to her.

“Teahupo’o is a very special place to me,” Fierro said. “It’s where I got my best waves ever, surrounded by really kind people that help me learn and push myself in that kind of waves. I’m feeling so excited to be an Olympian for the first time at home. I couldn’t ask for better, this point right now is the best ever. I’m really looking forward to putting the time in over there and figuring out how I can win that gold medal.”


Five European men entered the day in contention for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games continental slots. By day’s end those numbers were carved down to two.

At the beginning of the day, Uri Uziel (ISR) was the sole athlete surviving in the Main Round, while each of the others were already in repechage. As heats progressed, Uziel, along with Frederico Morais (POR) and Dylan Groen (GER), were eliminated, leaving either Kauli Vaast (FRA) or Gonzalo Gutierrez (ESP) to claim the slot on Finals Day.

Vaast has more motivation than most to qualify for the Paris 2024. As the only other native Tahitian surfer in the draw other than Fierro, the 21-year-old made a statement in his first of three heats, dropping the highest single wave score of the men’s division, a 9.43, for a three-turn combo on a gigantic set wave, easily triple overhead. He also picked up a 7.50 to post the highest men’s heat total of the event (16.93).

The final remaining available slot will go to one of two Japanese men. Whoever places highest out of Tokyo 2020 Silver Medalist Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and his teammate Reo Inaba will leave El Salvador with a ticket to Paris 2024 in their hand.


Igarashi is measured in his feelings. “I just really want to do my best, and support Reo, my teammate, as much as possible,” he said. “For me I want him to get it just as much as it is for me. Honestly I’d be more happy if he got it. He really deserves it, he’s surfing really good this week.”


The race for Team Gold Medals has slowly heated up through the event. Entering the day Brazil and Peru were sitting in equal first place, by day’s end France had slipped into the lead, with Peru hot on their heels. Australia is a more distant third, and Japan and Canada round out the top five.


Tatiana Weston-Webb, Team Brazil / Photo: Sean Evans



Santiago 2023 Pan American Games Qualifiers Confirmed

The continental Paris 2024 Olympic Games slots for one woman and one man from the Americas will be decided later this year at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. Five men and five women from the 2023 WSG claimed their Santiago 2023 slots today. Final standings for provisionally qualified surfers from the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games (PASA), held in April in Panama, were also confirmed.

In repechage round 8, Heat 3 Tokyo 2020 Olympian Leilani McGonagle (CRC) won an intense battle with Santiago 2023 qualification on the line. Surfing against 2022 ISA U/16 World Junior Champion Erin Brooks (CAN) and Candelaria Resano (NCA) for the final two Santiago 2023 slots, the Costa Rican stuck to the strength of her forehand on the La Bocana lefts, while the other two, along with 2022 WSL World Junior Champion Francisca Veselko (POR), battled it out on the rights. Brooks and McGonagle advanced to claim the slots and the Costa Rican couldn’t have been happier.


“I’m super-stoked to make it into Santiago,” McGonagle said. “We had Pan-Ams in Panama and I did very bad, so I had to take the hard road. I love Pichilemu, it’s one of my favorite waves in the world. I’m so excited to be able to go back, it’ll be super-fun.”

Joining Brooks and McGonagle in Santiago 2023 will be Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Daniella Rosas (PER), and Sol Aguirre (PER).


Although Weston-Webb has already qualified for Paris 2024 via the WSL CT, the Brazilian veteran has goals of her own, which an incredible backhand hit on a massive section during her main round 5 heat made clear.


“I really love my backhand when it’s big,” Weston-Webb said. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable. I looked at the surf today and I’m psyching because I can hit some big sections and get scores. I would love to win gold here.”


The men’s Santiago 2023 qualifiers were also confirmed today. Cody Young (CAN), Alan Cleland Jr. (MEX), Sebastian Williams (MEX), Lucca Mesinas (PER), and Miguel Tudela (PER) were the last men standing from the Americas and each will be heading to Chile in October for a chance to earn their Paris 2024 Olympic Games slot.




Sally Fitzgibbons of Team Australia with Team Ukraine, El Salvador Tourism Minister Morena Valdez and ISA President Fernando Aguerre / Photo: Pablo Franco


Three-time WSG Gold Medalist Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) embraces the spirit of the ISA


The winningest WSG surfer, three-time ISA Gold Medalist Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) continues to enjoy every aspect of the event, endearing herself to the other competitors and teams. This year she has developed a special bond with the Ukrainian team.

“I just had one of the moments of my event. I came up and Team Ukraine have been here and they’re supporting me and they were cheering and oh, my heart is just so full,” a tearful Fitzgibbons shared. “I just think that’s what surfing’s about. They’re proud of you for going out there and giving it your all and it’s obviously pretty emotional connecting with people through surfing. I think the best surfer in the lineup is the one having the most fun and they bring the joy and the energy and the purity about surfing.”

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre said:

“Today was a day to be remembered in the history of the World Surfing Games. So many new surfing nations with so many new talents. We are all ready for what will be an amazing final day and medal ceremony.”

Competition will resume tomorrow at 7:30am CST with Men’s Repechage Round 11 at La Bocana.


Live streaming will be available on Peacock, 7am - 1pm CST, 9am - 3pm EST.

Qualified Santiago 2023 Pan American Games Athletes


Women

Tatiana Weston Webb (BRA)

Erin Brooks (CAN)

Leilani McGonagle (CRC)

Sol Aguirre (PER)

Daniella Rosas (PER)

Silvana Lima (BRA)

Chelsea Tuach (BAR)

Lucia Indurain (ARG)

Sanoa Olin (CAN)

Isabella Gomez (COL)

Regina Pioli (MEX)

Ornella Pellizzari (ARG)

Nataly Bernold (CRC)

Dominic Barona (ECU)

Host Nation Allocation TBC (CHI)

Host Nation Allocation TBC (CHI)


Men

Cody Young (CAN)

Alan Cleland (MEX)

Sebastián Williams (MEX)

Miguel Tudela (PER)

Lucca Mesinas (PER)

Krystian Kymerson (BRA)

Leandro Usuna (ARG)

Isauro Elizondo (PAN)

Jean Carlos González (PAN)

Franco Radziunas (ARG)

Marcos Correa (BRA)

Oscar Urbina (CRC)

Francisco Bellorin (VEN)

Jose Joaquin Lopez (VEN)

Host Nation Allocation TBC (CHI)

Host Nation Allocation TBC (CHI)

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