Huge Day of Action Sees Field Significantly Narrowed on Day 5 of 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

May 8th, 2024

Strong rebounds for Olivia Storrer (USA), Kiara Goold (TAH) and Alfonso Suarez (ESP) after shock Main Event losses

Belle Betteridge (ENG) and Lucas Senkbeil (MEX) find near-perfect scores as they begin their journey through repechage

ISA history made with first heat progressions for multiple national teams

Surf City El Salvador – May 8, 2024

The 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) continued into its fifth day of competition today, and once again the world class location delivered a full day of exciting surf in pumping waves. A slight decrease in swell saw an increase in high performance surfing as the more manageable four-to-five feet of swell allowed for a wider range of maneuverability.

The record-breaking initial field of 441 athletes was whittled down to 243 after a full day of repechage rounds. Across the four divisions of Boy’s U/16 and U/18 and Girl’s U/16 and U/18, 60 athletes continue to place in the Main Round, with 183 left in repechage, though the numbers of those remaining include some surfers competing across two divisions.

Team El Salvador had a great day with four big heat wins, and another three heat progressions, again highlighted by a solid performance from Julissa Moody, as their largest-ever team makes the home nation proud.

Olivia Storrer, Team USA / Photo: Jersson Barboza

Olivia Storrer (USA) bounced back with a strong showing in Repechage Round 2 after a tough loss in an extremely tight heat in Main Event Round 1, earning an 8.93 and 7.00 for a near-excellent 15.93 heat total. Slightly above her, Kiara Goold (TAH) picked up a 16.13 heat total, the highest of the day for Girl’s U/16. In Girl’s U/18 Repechage Round 2, Vera Jarisz (ARG) got straight to work with an 8.67 providing a convincing win, while a single wave was enough to allow Constância Simões (POR) to progress thanks to her excellent surfing earning an 8.50.

Two more surfers unexpectedly in the repechage were 2022 U/16 silver medalist Inigo Madina (FRA) and Alfonso Suarez (ESP) who met each other in Boy’s U/18 Repechage Round 2, Heat 2, along with John John Chan (TPE) and Ethan Hollander (CRC). Suarez was able to open with an 8.67, the highest single wave score of the day for his division, and maintain strong control of the heat. Meanwhile, Madina struggled to find bigger scores, and ended up in a tight battle with Chan and Hollander that went right to the wire, with both Chan and Hollander receiving scores after the buzzer, eventually landing in the Costa Rican’s favor and eliminating Chan and Madina.

“My heat was really difficult, I was with Inigo Madina, one of the best surfers I think in this comp,” Suarez said. “I started with such a big score. It (allowed me to be) more patient and go to the big ones to take a big backup. So I’m really happy to make the heat and stoked to be in the next round. I’m still in the comp, but in the repechage and I have some confidence in me that I’m going to be in the Final.”

Lucas Senkbeil, Team Mexico / Photo: Sean Evans

Belle Betteridge (ENG) and Lucas Senkbeil (MEX) find near-perfect scores as they begin their journey through repechage

Belle Betteridge (ENG) and Lucas Senkbeil (MEX) were able to find the best of the day. Both surfers posted scores in the near-perfect 9-point range, as well as excellent heat totals, at the two very different podiums. Surfing in Girl’s U/18, Betteridge utilized exceptionally strong rail work on the long, right point of El Sunzal to earn her 9.60, while Senkbeil’s 9.10 in Boy’s U/16 largely came from a single whipping closeout layback on a right at the peak of La Bocana. The two surfers each have multiple WJSC events under their belt, and for Betteridge the experience has been improving every time.

“The wave looked pretty good and then it was just like surfing, I don’t know, just chilling. I feel like the team has just built every year, like Brazil (WJSC 2023) the team was sick and this year the team is even better. Having everyone around us and in El Salvador, it’s nice, it’s warm, the waves are pumping, so we’re all happy.”

Senkbeil’s early appearance in repechage was hard to swallow, but he’s been gaining encouragement from the rest of his team.

“I had a pretty rough heat over at Sunzal for Main Round 1, and yeah, feeling a little nervous,” Senkbeil said. “Yesterday, seeing everybody from the team surf their heats just kind of makes me also want to go out there and perform, so that’s what motivated me. It’s kind of a confidence booster and I hope to go far in this contest.”

Team Lithuania / Photo: Pablo Franco

ISA history made with first heat progressions for multiple national teams

Four national teams have made their debut in this year’s WJSC, British Virgin Islands, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia, and three of those teams saw their first heat progressions today. Tiago Kytka earned the first ever heat win for Slovakia in ISA history and Rush Broderick became the first surfer from British Virgin Islands to make it through a heat, a goal he accomplished twice today, as he moved through heats in both Boy’s U/16 and U/18 divisions. Meanwhile, Antanas Dapkevicius became the first Lithuanian surfer to progress at the WJSC.

The first girls to represent their nations at the WJSC, Marta Sauka (LAT) and Goda Staskeviciute (LTU), were both eliminated, but are still thoroughly enjoying their experience competing on the international stage for the first time.

“I’m proud of my country, that we have an opportunity to be here and participate,” Staskeviciute said. “It’s the best event I have ever been in, and I like it very much. The first heat was a little bit difficult, but now it’s very good. I like Sunzal. I like to communicate with others, I met an Indonesian girl and a lot of other countries.”

Competition will resume tomorrow at 7:00am CST with the continuation of Boy’s U/18 Repechage Round 2 at La Bocana and Girl’s U/16 Repechage Round 2 at El Sunzal.

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