Former Medalists and Newcomers Set the Standard on Day 1 of 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

May 4th, 2024

441 surfers celebrate Opening Ceremony of largest ever ISA WJSC

First time participants, British Virgin Islands, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia, join a total of 54 national teams, setting new record

Surf City El Salvador – May 4, 2024

A big day of action, featuring a total of 54 heats held across the dual platforms of La Bocana and El Sunzal, saw solid performances and large scores posted by former medalists and newcomers alike for day one of the 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC).

The first 27 heats of Boy’s U/18 Main Event Round 1 were held at the peak of La Bocana, while the first 27 heats of Girl’s U/16 Main Event Round 1 were completed at the long right point of El Sunzal.

2023 Team World Champions, Brazil, made it clear that they intend to defend their title. Half of their 12-person team surfed today and each of their three boys in U/18, Rafael Barbosa, Rickson Falcão, and Luan Ferreyra, along with their three girls in U/16, Aurora Ribeiro, Luara Mandelli, and Maria Eduarda, earned convincing heat wins.

Tya Zebrowski, Team France / Photo: Jersson Barboza

The highlight of the day came from Tya Zebrowski (FRA) in U/16 Girl’s. The 13-year-old has nearly doubled in size since her breakout performance in the 2022 Surf City El Salvador WJSC, when at the age of 11 she won the copper medal and registered her arrival on the international stage. Using every part of her newly developed strength, Zebrowski delivered a variety of powerful forehand hits down the long wall of El Sunzal to notch the first excellent score of the event, a near-perfect 9.70. Backing it up with a pair of 7’s, her 17.10 heat total was easily the highest of the day.

“I was just so happy to make that heat with some big scores,” Zebrowski said. “I feel pretty confident for the next heats. I didn’t know I received a 9, for me it was only like 6-points, so I know that I could do better with my surfing. This year I’m surfing in U/16 and U/18, so my real goal is to have two gold medals. I know I can do it but it’s going to be really hard because there’s a lot of heats, but I mean I’m feeling confident, so you never know.”

Excellent heat totals from Skai Suitt (HAW) and Ziggy McKenzie (AUS) rounded out a trio of exceptional performances in U/16 Girl’s.

Suitt returns in search of a medal after missing out by a single place in 2023, the 14-year-old’s stylish forehand carves highlighting two 8-point rides that provided a heat total of 16.80. Mckenzie’s first WJSC comes straight off the back of her first WSL Challenger Series appearance, thanks to a win in the trials at the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro, and the 15-year-old got straight to work here in El Salvador, opening with an 8.00 ride, which she quickly improved upon, adding an 8.43 for a 16.43 heat total.

Mariano Maugere, Team Peru / Photo: Sean Evans

Competing in his second WJSC, Mariano Maugere (PER) found a strong start, earning the only excellent score of the Boy’s U/18 competition today. The goofy-footed Maugere stuck to his forehand in the lefts of La Bocana, delivering strong, committed surfing to collect an 8.17 and a 7.33 for a 15.50 heat total, the day’s best for the boys.

“It feels amazing to start with an 8.17 on my second wave,” Maugere said. “It was a two-turn combo and in the heat then I was a little bit more relaxed. I just broke the ice you know, the first heat you take all the nerves. Being a part of the Peruvian team is amazing, it’s a dream.”

Two 2022 Surf City El Salvador WJSC U/16 medalists, Inigo Madina (FRA) and Luke Tema (HAW), found heat wins as they seek to find the same success in U/18. A buzzer-beater for Madina saw him jump into the lead in the final moments, while Tema had an easier win, though he feels he still has much more to give and is ok to pace it.

“It was definitely pretty tricky,” Tema said. “I felt like I was kind of out of position the whole heat, but I got a couple little ones at the start and it was enough to get me the win so I’m stoked. (During the 2022 event) I learned that it’s ok not to start super strong and just keep building throughout the event and have your best heats at the end is ideal.”

Competition will continue tomorrow at 7:00an CST with Boy’s U/18 Main Event Round 1 at La Bocana and Girl’s U/16 Main Event Round 1 at El Sunzal.

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