Next Generation Stars Light Up Day One of the 2023 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship

November 25th, 2023

Isla Huppatz (AUS) and Lukas Skinner (ENG) set the pace for U/16’s

Straight air delivers victory for Sierra Kerr (AUS) in Brazil debut

2022 U/16 Copper Medalists Tya Zebrowski (FRA) and Hans Odriozola (ESP) return in strong form

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – November 25, 2023

An action-packed opening day of the 2023 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) saw Praia da Macumba deliver consistent and fun three-to-four foot peaks on a full beach, packed with hundreds of the world’s best junior surfers.

Two podiums were held approximately 100m apart. After the first four heats of Boy’s U/16 Main Round 1 ran at Podium 1, a further 22 heats were surfed at Podium 2, while all of Girl’s U/16 Main Round 1 was completed on Podium 1.

The first excellent score of the event came in the very first heat of Girl’s U/16. After building a solid lead, Isla Huppatz (AUS) blasted through a single-turn that set her fins free above the lip to earn an 8.17. The 16-year-old, originally from Bells Beach and now residing on the Gold Coast, is excited to join The Irukandjis (Team Australia) to represent her nation for the first time.

Sierra Kerr, Team Australia. Photo: Pablo Jimenez

“It was cool because I already had two 6’s, so I caught the wave and I was like, just go for it and see what happens,” Huppatz said. “I wasn’t sure how it would score because I’ve never been to these events, but it felt nice to get a good turn done. I’m so stoked [to be here], we have the coolest team ever.”

Fellow Australian Sierra Kerr, the second generation surf prodigy, collected a 7.50 for a speedy straight air in her first heat surfed in Brazil, while Catalina Zariquiey (PER) earned an 8.00 for a strong two-turn combo on her backhand.

A non-priority interference didn’t stop Annette Gonzalez Etxabarri (ESP) from progressing. A near collision with Alani Morse (NZL) halved the Basque surfer’s second-highest score, but her sharp, progressive surfing delivered her the heat win regardless.

Hans Odriozola, Team Spain. Photo: Sean Evans

Lukas Skinner (ENG) collected the highest heat total of the day for the Boy’s U/16 division, a pair of 8’s netting him a 16.27 total. Both waves also ranked as the highest two single wave scores of the day. Matias Canhoto (POR), Lucas Senkbeil (MEX) and Taro Takai (JPN) also found exciting moments to set the pace in their division.

2022 U/16 Girl’s and Boy’s Copper Medalists Tya Zebrowski (FRA) and Hans Odriozola (ESP) are two out of five 2022 medalists surfing in this year’s event. Both surfers started their 2023 campaigns in great form.

“I’m happy to make my first heat here in Brazil,” Odriozola said. “I like this place. Let’s see if I can at least better or get the same result as last year. I’m pretty psyching on it. It’s super fun, we’re having such a nice time with the team and we’re getting some fun waves.”

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

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