- 30 March 2009 | Surfing
The world's best junior surfers hit the water today for the first round of competition at the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. Unveiling the future of surfing to a full crowd on the beach, some of the most talented Under 18 and Under 16 Boys unleashed their full repertoire of maneuvers on the surf at Playa de las FAE in Salinas, Ecuador.
“We are pleased with the surf today, said ISA President Fernando Aguerre “The point was going off today, with some surfers getting at least 300 meters of open face on their waves. Even I got a few waves with a sunset session after the event.”
Running on double banks (two contest areas) event organizers were able to hold 24 heats of Under 18 Boys and 24 heats of Under 16 Boys. Past ISA Junior event champions Australia, Brazil and Hawaii were in stellar form, posting some of the highest scores of the day.
Quiksilver Young Gun of Australia Garrett Parkes threw down a solid combined heat score of 16.50 points (out of 20) followed closely behind by Brazil's Ian Gouveia, son of former WCT Fabio Gouveia, who secured a 15.50.
But as the horn blew on the last heat of the day, it was clearly the French, often an underestimated threat, who showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. Starting off in the morning in less than an hour into the competition, Dimitri Ouvre came out of the gates firing with a 9.0 and an 8.73 for the highest combined score of the day.
The rest of the French team fared well in the Under 18 division with all three of today's competing team members taking the top spot in their heats.
“The heat was fun, I love surfing good waves like this,” said Dimitri Ouvre. “I just focused on getting the best waves and tried to surf conservative. I think it is good to start a contest this way, I just want to focus on my own surfing and get to a final who knows maybe even win the Worlds.”
With fresh energy, new uniforms, tremendous talent and a really close team, USA dominated today, taking first place in all of their heats for both Under 18 and Under 16. USA team member Nat Young will take to the water tomorrow morning to close out Round One of Under 18 Boys.
All of the competitors showed tremendous heart and passion today giving it their all to avoid the repercharge rounds. There were some really close heats – most notably heat five's match-up between Brazilian, Ecuadorian and Chilean surfers.
Brazil's Felipe Braz took an early lead with a 5.0 with Ecuador's David Villaroel answering back with a 4.77. At the end of the heat, Braz and Villaroel were tied at 8.87 with the win being given to Braz for having a higher single-wave score. Chile's Diego Maria finished third with an 8.40.
Another close race ensued between Canada and Costa Rica in heat 14, with both surfers fighting tooth and nail to avoid the repercharge rounds. In the end, Canada's Janek Peladeau took second to Medi Veminardi of France, while Costa Rican Maikol Torres finished third.
In the Under 16 Boys, Moroccan surfer Ramzi Boukhiam finished second to advance to round two, coming behind USA's Evan Geiselman. Miguel Tudela of Peru and Lyn Petersen of Argentina came in third and fourth respectively. Moroccan teammate Othmane Choufani took third in his heat and will move to the first round of repercharges.
Barbados surfer Jordan Heaselgrave prevailed over favored-Hawaiian Tanner Hendrickson in heat eight for the upset of the day. In what was another close heat, Heaselgrave won by a mere 0.40. Both surfers advanced to round two.
The weather was ideal, with sunny skies and warm breezes all day. The beach was packed with cheering spectators and teams waving their national flags. Web commentator, 1989 ASP World Champion Martin Potter said it was the largest and most enthusiastic crowd he'd ever seen on the first day of an ISA junior event.
Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00am at Playa de las FAE beach in Salinas, Ecuador with the start of Under 18 Girls, the remainder of Under 18 Boys round one and Under 16 Boys round two.
In addition to the prestige of winning the World Junior Championship title, the first place finishers in Under 18 Boys and Under 18 Girls will also receive an entry spot into the 2010 Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast Trials, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour event.