Medal Contenders Begin to Emerge on Day 3 of the 2023 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

November 27th, 2023

Confident surfing solidifies highest heat totals for Inigo Madina (FRA) and Sol Borelli (ESP)

First eliminations begin as repechage rounds kick off

Aris Voicu dreams of becoming Romania’s first Olympic surfer

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – November 27, 2023

Big performances shone through on day three of the 2023 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) as gold medal contenders began to emerge. Highly consistent three-to-four-foot peaks at Praia da Macumba provided endless opportunity for Main Round 2 to run in each division, along with Repechage Round 1 in Girl’s U/18 and both Boy’s divisions.

Harley Walters (AUS) showcased the unpredictable and exciting surfing that he is known for and was rewarded with the highest single wave score of Boy’s U/18 so far, a 9.00. Brazil’s Ryan Kainalo and Luan Ferreyra also kept themselves at the forefront of the conversation in the division, as did Noel de la Torre (CHI).

Anon Matsuoka, Team Japan. Photo: Sean Evans

For the second day in a row Anon Matsuoka (JPN) earned the highest heat total in the Girl’s U/18 Main Round. It is the third and final WJSC for the 18-year-old. Though her previous best result was equal 19th in 2022, Matsuoka’s past year has been marked by many major results and she has now established herself as the woman to beat in her division.

“ISA Junior champion is my goal,” Matsuoka said. “I want to be surfing like high score, high score, high score every heat. Beach breaks are not my favorite wave but Macumba Beach is my favorite wave, that’s why I can find good waves. My backside attack is a good thing for me for sure.”

Keira Buckpitt (AUS) and Zoé Jaeckin (FRA) also had standout moments in Girl’s U/18 Main Round 2, each collecting single wave scores of 7.50, while Arena Rodriguez (PER) and Talia Swindal (USA) both earned excellent scores to find redemption in Repechage Round 1.

Axel Dominguez, Team France. Photo: Pablo Jimenez

Highlight performances in Girl’s U/16 Main Round 2 came from Eden Walla (USA) and Chesney Guinotte (HAW), who collected the highest single wave score for the girls today with an 8.50, while Sol Borelli (ESP) surfed a brilliant heat to score one of two excellent heats surfed today. Inigo Madina (FRA) earned the other in Boy’s U/16 Main Round 2.

In a tight heat that featured strong competition from Tommaso Layson (BAR), Rex Hennings (USA) and Louis Esudeiro (BEL), Madina opened with an 8.67. The 2022 U/16 Boy’s silver medalist then waited until there was less than a minute remaining before catching a second wave, raising the stress levels for the rest of his team. They needn’t have worried, Madina easily nailed a two-turn combo, earning a 7.67, for a 16.14 heat total, the highest of the day in Boy’s U/16.

Two heats earlier Madina’s teammate Axel Dominguez (FRA) had a similar start, opening with an 8.83, the equal highest single wave score of the division. Dominguez stayed more active however, locking in multiple back-up scores, before an air reverse finish in the sand polished off a great heat, earning the 16-year-old his first international post-heat interview.

“The first wave, my second turn wasn’t really good, but I saw a really good section, so I just went for it,” Dominguez said. “It was really good to finish with a good wave for the confidence. I’m feeling really good, with a great team, really strong.”

Aris Voicu, Team Romania. Photo: Sean Evans

Romania is being represented in the ISA for the first time ever this week and today Aris Voicu (ROU) became the first surfer from his nation to progress through an ISA heat. Born in Romania, but traveling around the world with his family from a young age, the 15-year-old has been surfing for just three years. Voicu fell in love with the sport after witnessing a competition in Brazil and he and his family have slowed their travels to support his dream of becoming the first Romanian Olympic surfer.

“I’m so proud,” Voicu said, “It’s an honor to be Romanian and representing Romania. I’m just very happy to be here competing in the ISA for the first time. It’s very exciting to be surfing with all these surfers from all around the world. It’s very cool.”

The 2023 WJSC will continue tomorrow at 6:30 am BRT at Praia da Macumba.

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