Big Names Fall on Day 6 of the 2023 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

November 30th, 2023

Spain jump into second place on team rankings, Australia maintain lead

Kohai Fierro (TAH), Hans Odriozola (ESP), and Lanea Mons (HAW) find excellence

2022 Girl’s U/16 medalists Tya Zebrowski and Mirai Ikeda eliminated

Mateo Cadena (MEX) thrilled to manage stacked heat

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – November 30, 2023

The action came thick and fast on day six of the 2023 ISA World Junior Championship (WJSC). The shorebreak waves on offer at Praia da Macumba provided each heat with a flurry of activity, especially with such high quality surfers packing each match-up.

A shortened day of competition was held for the second day in a row due to the combination of small swell and high tide. The final two heats of Girl’s U/16 Main Round 3 were completed before Main Round 4 was held in each division.

The team rankings once again had a big shake-up. Despite losing four surfers today, Australia maintained the lead, while Spain made a huge leap, all the way from eighth place into second. USA, Portugal and Brazil follow.

Lanea Mons, Team USA. Photo: Pablo Jimenez

Three surfers were able to crack the excellent range, with Lanea Mons (HAW), Hans Odriozola (ESP) and Kohai Fierro (TAH) each finding 8.00 rides. Fierro has been consistently scoring amongst the highest heat totals of each day and the 17-year-old, youngest of three Fierro sisters, is focused on winning the gold medal.

“I’m here for a reason. That’s what I’m looking for, so I’m trying to go heat-by-heat, trying to get those good waves and trying to make the final and do my best. The conditions are tough, there’s good waves out there but it’s pretty slow. Getting that 8 is definitely a boost in confidence. So yeah, I’m happy.”

The conditions meant that heats could turn within the space of seconds. Kai Odriozola (ESP) summed up the day best after another convincing Boy’s U/18 heat win.

“You need to be open to moving all the time,” Odriozola said. “Because the waves never come in the same place and there’s not a big difference between the big sets and the normal waves. So you don’t need to wait too much to get scores.”

Joaquín Muñoz, Team Argentina. Photo: Jersson Barboza

After sitting in fourth place for much of his heat, Joaquín Muñoz (ARG) found two counting scores in the final 3 minutes to progress along with Rylan Beavers (HAW), who found his two scores at the start of their Boy’s U/18 match-up. An impassioned Muñoz was extremely happy to progress, as was his younger sister Victoria Muñoz (ARG) in Girl’s U/16.

With 90 seconds left and only a single wave score of 0.73 on the board, Catalina Zariquey (PER) was able to catch the wave of her Girl’s U/16 Round 4 heat, earn a 6.17, and progress in second place behind Eden Walla (USA). It was the second tense heat of the day for the 14-year-old, who also moved through the first of the day in second place after expertly applying pressure to event standout Milla Brown (AUS), blocking the Australian’s opportunity to progress.

The two 2022 Girl’s U/16 medalists in the draw, Bronze Medalist Mirai Ikeda (JPN) and Copper Medalist Tya Zebrowski (FRA), were both eliminated in Round 4. After putting on a masterclass in the first heat of the day, Ikeda was unable to back it up in her subsequent heat. Meanwhile Zebrowski was unable to find her first wave until there was less than 4 minutes on the countdown and never entered the conversation in her heat.

Mateo Cadena, Team Mexico. Photo: Sean Evans

You couldn’t wipe the smile off the face of Mateo Cadena (MEX), who opened a stacked match against Lucas Owston (USA), Jackson Dorian (HAW) and João Mendoça (POR) with a 6.33 and controlled the heat until the final minute to knock out two of the biggest names in the draw in Owston and Dorian.

“I don’t think there’s words that can explain it, you know, passing the heat,” Cadena said. “It’s just incredible. I was just so stoked to get that first wave off the bat. It was such a pain relief. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got that one!’ Obviously I was nervous at the beginning, but all the time once I’m in the water I kind of try to lose myself, you know, not think about who I’m in the heat with, just try to surf myself.”

The next call for the 2023 WJSC will be tomorrow at 7:00am BRT.

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