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Australians Make It Four In A Row

Australia has done it once again. They’ve earned themselves a fourth gold medal in a row at the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships. This year it was Dean Bowen and Tyler Wright leading them to victory, both earning golds in their respective divisions. Aussie Laura Enever also helped contribute to the cause with a copper in the Girls U18 division.

Hawaiian Keanu Asing edged out Brazil’s Gabriel Medina in a very close Boys U16 final. Along with a bronze for Alessa Quizon, the gold for Asing helped team Hawaii take home a silver medal this year back to the islands.

Team Brazil took home the Aloha Cup (a tag-team event), and also a bronze in the medal department. Their third place finish was due in part to Miguel Pupo (silver in Boys U18), Gabriel Medina (silver in Boys U16), and Jesse Mendes (copper in Boys U18).

USA’s Courtney proved herself once again this year as one of America’s top young surfers. She surfed her way to a silver in the Girls U18, and for the second year in a row, was the only individual medal placer for Team America. Though not is all to be lost for Team America, as they had a great competition and took home a copper medal in the team standings.

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:

(Salinas, Ecuador) April 5, 2009 – In a dramatic come from behind victory, Team Australia was crowned the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Champions today in Salinas, Ecuador. Australians Dean Bowen and Tyler Wright won individual gold medals for Under 18 Boys and Under 18 Girls. Keanu Asing from Hawaii won the Under 16 gold medal. Team Brazil won the Aloha Cup, an Olympic style ISA specialty tag-team event.

2005 ISA World Junior Champions, Hawaii, received the team silver medal, Brazil bronze and USA copper. France placed fifth overall, South Africa sixth, New Zealand seventh, Tahiti, Peru and Costa Rica came in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

The largest crowds ever seen at a junior surfing event packed the beach for eight days at la FAE and were on hand to witness a thrilling conclusion to the contest this afternoon.

Today’s final was a triumph for Australia who found itself relegated to sixth place in the standings only two days ago. "It comes down to the fact that all of our kids have the real Aussie pride," said Australian coach Mark Richardson. "At the world juniors, there are so many good surfers and there is a lot of pressure. But when the pressure comes on, our kids step up. They’ve got big, big hearts. They stayed positive and they didn’t give up."

Bowen was knocked into the repercharge rounds earlier this week, losing to Costa Rican Carlos Munoz, Brazilian Thiago Guimaraes in round three. In a test of endurance, Bowen battled his way through seven elimination rounds before making it to the finals, impressing the 12 member judging panel on his way to taking first in all but one of his heats. His final match opponents, Brazilian Miguel Pupo, French surfer Maxime Huscenot and Hawaiian Dylan Goodale, all came through the qualifying rounds.

In the Boys Under 18 final heat, Bowen took the lead catching the first wave, working the left point with huge frontside turns all the way to the shore. Bowen’s next scoring wave solidified his first place lead. Pupo made an attempt to move into first with two back-to-back waves and a combined score of 15.06, but Bowen held the lead. With eight minutes still on the clock Bowen sealed the door shut with a huge 9.10 leaving Huscenot and Goodale way behind and needing a combination of 17.61. Huscenot’s last wave featured a huge free falling floater on the outside section and pulled him up into third but with time running out, but he couldn’t find the last second wave he needed to win. In the end, Pupo won silver, Huscenot bronze and Goodale copper.

"I feel on top of the world," said an emotional Bowen after the win. "This is by far the biggest win of my life. I train for this contest all year, it is what I do. I am stoked, I cannot believe we won. I would like to dedicate this win to my late mother whom I lost when I was nine years old, and to my father who is recovering from knee surgery back at home."

In the Under 18 Girls Final, Australian Tyler Wright was up against 2008 ISA World Junior gold medalist Australian teammate Laura Enever, USA surfer Courtney Conlogue and Hawaiian Alessa Quizon. After charging through the main rounds through all eight days, Wright came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, posting the first big score of the final and holding on to first for the entire 30 minutes. USA surfer Courtney Conlogue kept right on Wright’s heels, also posting big scores, but in the end was left needing almost nine points to overtake Wright.

Coming in from the water on the shoulders of Australian teammates and wrapped in the Aussie flag, Wright poured water over herself to cool down from an exhausting and intense final. "This is so awesome," said Wright. "Every heat this year in Ecuador has been a hard. There are so many good competitors here from around the world. I knew I had to just focus on my own game out there in the water and not worry about the others. We hit rock bottom the other day and it didn’t look as though we would be in the medal rounds, but we pulled together as a team. The support we’ve given each other has been amazing."

The Under 16 Boys was one of the toughest divisions this year. Stacked with talent, the race for gold seemed as though it could easily have gone to any one of the top 16 juniors. Surfers from Brazil, USA, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa and Hawaii all had a shot at the top podium spot and Under 16 gold medal. Coming down to the final heats, Hawaii’s Keanu Asing made it clear he was going to prevail as the 2009 ISA World Junior Champion. Coming back from deep in the repercharge rounds, Asing set his radar on the gold and gave it all he had.

"This is the biggest thing I have ever won," said Asing. "I am so stoked to have pulled through the repercharges. I think the loss in round four actually helped me. It made me more charged up and more focused. I knew I had to get good waves because every heat could have been my last. Coming to Ecuador has been an incredible experience. We have had good waves all contest and everyone surfed really well."

In the final heat, Gabriel Medina from Brazil fought hard, just narrowly missing first by 0.16. Medina also had the highest single-wave score of the heat with a 9.52, but was unable to overtake Asing despite a combined score of 17.38. South African David Brand came in third, needing nearly a perfect 10 for first. Brazilian teammate Jesse Mendes finished fourth. In a great show of sportsmanship, all four surfers embraced and congratulated each other after the heat.

In the Aloha Cup, Brazil pulled ahead for the win over France, Ecuador and South Africa. Making the final was a proud achievement for the host nation, which showed all week how talented and welcoming its surfers are.

The day concluded with the official medal ceremony with the crowning of the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Champions. "This is where we show the world that the Olympics of surfing are for real," said ISA president Fernando Aguerre before the medals were awarded and the national anthems of the winning teams were played. "Muchas, gracias, Ecuador!"

As winners of the Under 18 Boys and Under 18 Girls, Dean Bowen and Tyler Wright will also receive entry spots in the 2010 Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast Trials, an Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour event.

For full results from the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship and to see photo highlights and on-demand video, visit quiksilver.com/isa.

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BLOG FROM ECUADOR:

After a long day at the contest site watching heats and talking to athletes, I made it over to a movie premier last night for the Peruvian surf flick Out of My Head at Club Blonde. The place was jam packed as competitors, event organizers, and local groms cruised by to catch a glimpse of Latin America's latest documentary in surf. Highlighting Peru's top surfers and majestic left point breaks, Out of My Head was a refreshing escape from Latin America's past reputation for under-produced surf films.

Following the film locals hit up the bar, music began to blare, and the groms were owning the dance floor. As the clock hit midnight more and more locals swarmed the club. The crowd got progressively younger throughout the night. I've never seen this many teens out this late in one place, ever. It felt as if I was at a high school dance squished between hormonally crazed teenagers. I threw in the towel and called it quits after the local teens got a little too friendly.

Well rested and ready to charge, I made it back to the contest site for day eight of the ISA pro juniors. The leftovers of this last swell came in around the 2-4 foot range. For the majority of the day, the tide was pretty high, forcing surfers straight into the rocks.

By mid afternoon eight teams came together to battle it out at the Aloha Cup tag team relay. The crowd was going nuts as competitors were duking it out in two 50 minute heats. Advancing to the finals of this tag team event were Brazil, South Africa, Ecuador, and France. It should be an exciting day of competition tomorrow as ISA finals will also be held tomorrow.

Team USA is currently sitting third in the points bracket right behind Australia in second, and Hawaii in first. Nat Young, Kolohe Andino, and Courtney Conlogue will be slugging it out tomorrow for a crack at the gold. -James Pham

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELASE:

After a marathon day full of twists and turns, Hawaii is still holding a solid lead in the race for team Gold. Check out all the photo and video highlights and things kick off at 8 a.m. for the exciting final day of the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. Be sure to watch when medals are determined at quiksilver.com/isa.

Updated Team Standings
1. Hawaii
2. Australia
3. USA
4. Brazil
5. France
6. South Africa

Salinas, Ecuador) April 4, 2009 – The weekend sun and red hot surfing brought out huge crowds and created an electric atmosphere on day seven of the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship at la FAE in Salinas, Ecuador. In what has been a marathon of a competition, spanning over eight days are is now in the final stretch. The contest began with a record number of 264 competitors and has now been narrowed to only 18 of the world’s best junior surfers.

The Mayor of Salinas, Ana Trivino, attended today’s competition to present special gifts to all of the visiting teams. "We are really honored to host this special event and to be able to share Ecuador with the world. When we started last week, I said, 'I hope that everyone enjoys their time here so much that they will not want to leave.’ So I am pleased to hear from the ISA President himself, Fernando Aguerre, that even though he has not left yet, he already wants to come again. Thank everyone you for being with us this week."

For competitors, it was a very intense and emotional day. Despite tricky wave conditions, La FAE was still quite contestable and surfers were averaging scores in the eight point range. In some really close heats, competitors with combined scores of 16 out of 20 and above were not able to place above third and fourth to advance on.

In addition to the three main event rounds, several elimination repercharge rounds were held today, culminating with the repercharge semi-finals this afternoon. Contest organizers also ran the semi-final heats of the Aloha Cup, an ISA specialty tag-team event. Teams from Australia, Ecuador, France, USA, Hawaii, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand competed in 60 minute heats. Each team had to score two waves a piece within the heat window.

Home team Ecuador won their first semi final, leading to an ecstatic celebration on the beach. They will be joined by France, Brazil and South Africa in tomorrow’s final heat of the Aloha Cup.

In Boys Under 18 main rounds, French surfer Maxime Huscenot continued with another first place finish so far he has had a total of four first place finishes in this year’s competition. Australian Jordy Watson came in second to also advance. Frenchmen PV Laborde and New Zealander Alex Dive finished third and fourth. In heat two, Miguel Pupo of Brazil and Hawaiian Dylan Goodale advanced over South Africans Shaun Joubert and Nick Godfrey. Godfrey went straight to the repercharges and was unable to advance. Joubert made it through his first repercharge heat but lost this afternoon to USA surfer Nat Young and Australian Dean Bowen. Bowen and Young will lead tomorrow’s final repercharge match.

In the Girls Under 18 main rounds, Australians Laura Enever and Tyler Wright barely edged past Hawaiian Malia Manuel in one of the closest heats of the day. Wright had first pretty much all but sealed up the win, leaving Enever and Manuel to duke it out for the number two spot. Coming down to the closing minutes, Enever caught two back-to-back waves giving her just enough to overtake Manuel before the buzzer sounded off.

USA surfer Courtney Conlogue and Canelle Bulard of France both advanced through their repercharge heats and will compete in tomorrow’s final Under 18 Girls repercharge finals. South African David Brand and Hawaiian Keanu Asing also advanced to the final Under 16 repercharges finals.

Tomorrow competitors will be back at la FAE for the crowning of the 2009 ISA World Junior Surfing Champions and the medal ceremony. In the team standings, Hawaii is in the lead followed by Australia, USA, Brazil, France and South Africa.

For more information on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, LIVE web, free photos and on-demand video highlights, visit quiksilver.com/isa.

CLICK THROUGH TO NEXT PAGE TO SEE PREVIOUS DAYS’ PHOTOS AND HIGHLIGHTS

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:

(Salinas, Ecuador) April 3, 2009 – The world’s best junior surfers fought tooth and nail in do-or-die elimination heats on day six of the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Salinas, Ecuador. Many surfers made the 300 meter paddle out to the lineup three separate times and performances were through the roof.

After six days of competition and 294 heats, only 40 surfers remain in the competition. When the dust had settled on today’s action, 2005 ISA World Junior Champion Hawaii led the team standings followed by France, South Africa, the USA and Brazil. Three-time defending champion Australia suffered a series of devasting losses to its top prospects and went from first yesterday to sixth today. Still with only 700 points separating Australia from Hawaii, all six teams at the top still have a chance at the gold.

Other teams like Peru might not be in team medal contention, but their surfers are making a strong push for individual medals. This afternoon, despite tired legs from having surfed three times, Peruvian surfer Carlos Mario Zapata had the beach and his Peruvian team in uproar as he posted the highest score of the competition, a 9.77, in his round six repercharge heat. Within the hour, exemplary French surfer Canelle Bulard matched it with her own 9.77 to show the world the stunning level of talent in this year’s Under 18 Girls division.

USA team member Conner Coffin was able to regain his composure after a difficult loss earlier this morning on the secondary contest site. In today’s last Boys Under 16 repercharge heat, facing tough competition, Conner waited for the right waves and posted a searing 9.17 ride to take first place over Brazil’s Caio Ibelli, Australian Dylan Cummings and Peruvian Cristobal de Col.

"I was nervous going into the heat today – it could’ve been my last. It’s no playground out there," said Coffin. "I spent the day relaxing on the beach, trying to focus, watch the conditions and get ready. Once I got in the water, I knew I had to wait for the right wave. I got lucky, everyone really wants it and they are surfing incredibly well."

Costa Rican surfer and recipient of the 2009 ISA Scholarship Award, Carlos Munoz has been competing in two divisions this year. Having back-to-back heats today, he won his Under 16 heat and then had to run 300 meters up for his first round of Under 18 repercharges. Munoz, exhausted, was unfortunately only able to get one wave and finished fourth to Australian Dean Bowen, Brazilian Tiago Guimaraes, and Tahitian Teiki Charles. Munoz will continue in the main rounds of Under 16 Boys tomorrow.

Many teams found themselves with two surfers in the same heat today. In repercharge round six, heat one, South Africans David Brand and Mikey February went one and two over Tahitian Mihimana Braye and Costa Rica’s Jordan Hernandez. Tomorrow, Brand will face off against Coffin and Zapata in heat one, and Brand will meet Hawaii’s Keanu Asing and Brazilian Caio Ibelli in heat two.

For Australians in the Under 18 Boys division, Dean Bowen and James Woods had to fight together against Tahitian Ariimoana David and South African Dale Staples. They both stayed alive to advance finishing first and second in round five.

Round six, also held today, proved to be an unfortunate one for Australia as Woods took the exit card with a third place in his heat against USA surfer Nat Young, New Zealander Matt Hewitt and Hawaiian Albee Layer. For the first half of the heat, not one surfer caught a single wave and contest organizers contemplated a restart. In the closing five minutes, a great set came through and Young was able to prevail as the heat winner followed by Hewitt in second, Woods in third and Layer in fourth.

Australia also lost superstar and gold medal hopeful Garrett Parkes. Brazil’s Felipe Braz and Medi Veminardi from France placed first and second to advance.

In the Girl Under 18 elimination repercharge rounds today, South African Bianca Buitendag continued to stay alive, taking second in her heat to advance on. She will face USA team members Courtney Conlogue and Lani Doherty tomorrow in the semi-final repercharges. The last remaining Portuguese surfer, Ana Sarmento, finished fourth in her heat to place equal 16th overall.

Local Ecuadorians Johnatan Zambrano and Fabio Dapelo placed third in their heats today to finish equal 25th, the highest place any Ecuadorian has achieved an ISA World Junior event. Moroccan surfer Ramzi Boukhiam also finished equal 25th today.

The day finished with the heads of the Ecuadorian Department of Tourism, Transportation and Environment visiting the contest site at la FAE and experiencing the contest with ISA President Fernando Aguerre. Veronica Sion, Ecuadorian Minister of Tourism commented, saying, "I am really happy because of the alliance we have between the tourism department, surfing and the surfing federation FES. I really see this sport as an important part of the tourism development in Ecuador. We have close to 100 surf spots in Ecuador and as head of the Department of Tourism I can say undoubtedly say, we want to increase the support we give to the surfing in Ecuador."

Competitors will be back tomorrow for round seven of Under 18 Boys, Under 18 Girls and Under 16 Boys as well as eight rounds of repercharges and the Aloha Cup Semi-Finals, a specialty tag team event. The swell is expected to continue to hold through the weekend for the finals. Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00am at Playa de las FAE beach in Salinas, Ecuador.

For more information on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, LIVE web, free photos and on-demand video highlights, visit quiksilver.com/isa.

CLICK THROUGH TO THE NEXT PAGE TO SEE PREVIOUS DAYS’ PHOTOS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Day 5 of competition saw more solid swell in Salinas, Ecuador, which offered up a few big scores. Brazilians Miguel Pupo and Barbara Muller each scored a 9 in their heats today (9.5 for Pupo and 9.07 for Muller). Pupo’s Round 4 ringer had to be one of the better waves of the entire competition; a set wave that he weaved into, climbed up, smashed the big foam section into a mineshaft freefall (which he stomped), worked it all the way to the inside bowl and proceeded to light up on his forehand with a few solid snaps.

The repercharges got into some later rounds today as well, and having both lost heats today, U18 American competitors Coutney Conlogue and Nat Young will have to surf their way through these if they have a shot at placing this year. Tough go at it, and lots of surfing, but if any of the Americans can do it, they’re the two. And in the Boys U16 division, fellow countrymen Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin await their Round 4 heat in the main event, being the only Americans not having to fight their way through the repercharges.

Things are set to kick off again tomorrow at 8 a.m. local Ecuador time, and it should be another exciting day of solid surf and stacked heats. Be sure to get all your updates on transworldsurf.com, and to watch it live head to quiksilver.com/isa.

BLOG FROM ECUADOR:

It’s now day five of the ISA World Juniors and I’m sitting front row with a killer view of the contest in a nicely air-conditioned press room. My skin is peeling, my trunks smell like garbage, and my whole body is covered in bug bites. Should I be complaining? Maybe…but I’m not. Why? I’m just amped to be here hanging with all the teams and occasionally getting snaked by the world’s best groms. I keep thinking that at least I’m not in my wetsuit at home freezing my tail off surfing Newport with all the grumpy locals.

Knowing Spanish really makes this event that much more thrilling. I’ve been translating for athletes and chatting it up with coaches and managers from all over the world to catch a glimpse of how the event is going on a global scale.

The other day, I cruised over to Hotel Mediterrano to hang out with team USA. The place was packed to the rim, as nearly six other powerhouse countries are posting up for the week. Somehow I managed to stumble into USA coach Joey Buran’s pep talk. This guy is one hell of a speaker and really knows how to get his kids going. He’s passionate about the sport of surfing and the importance of heat strategies as they relate to innings or quarters in any major league sport. If I was a grom, I would be pretty amped to have him as a coach.

The contest has been pretty exciting and full of surprises left and right. On day three, Domenic Barona from the girl’s Ecuadorian team managed to upset Tahiti’s Karelle Poppke within the last 30 seconds of their heat. Barona stood up and did one turn to send Poppke to the repercharge heats, further advancing herself to the next round. The crowd on the beach went crazy celebrating her second place finish as if she won the whole shebang.

Team USA is hanging strong with only a few athletes being sent to repercharge heats. Their Boys 16U division is killing with Kalohe Andino and Conner Coffin punishing the waves and competitors a-like, while Nat Young has also been coming in strong, but got sent to the repercharges yesterday in the Boys U18. Courtney Conlogue is also in top form, focused and ready to take it all in the Girls U18, though she’ll also have to make her run in the repercharges now.

I paddled out to the point at sunset last night and caught a few waves with Nat Young and Chase Wilson. Both groms were hacking away at the left like nobody’s business. -James Pham

DAY 5 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:

(Salinas, Ecuador) April 2, 2009 – The Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship saw one of its most intense days at Playas de la FAE. The swell continued to hold up throughout the day, delivering solid overhead surf. This afternoon the Under 18 Boys returned to the competition after a lay day yesterday. Having a little extra rest and fresh legs, these future world champions turned out amazing performances in the five to six foot surf at la FAE in Salinas, Ecuador.

With their sights set on the gold medal and the prestigious ISA World Junior title, the competition was intense as 12 of the world’s best Under 18 surfers fought to stay in the main rounds of competition. Each of the four heats could have been a final match in any other junior division contest. Nine countries were represented, including past ISA World Juniors Champions Australia, Brazil and Hawaii and 2009 contenders France, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Chile and Costa Rica.

Heat two was intense with 2007 Under 16 gold medalist Garrett Parkes of Australia up against South Africans Shaun Joubert and Matthew Bromley along with New Zealander Alex Dive. With less than five minutes in the heat, Parkes was sitting in third place and was not able to put together a decent score because he was riding a damaged board. He decided to trade out his equipment. One of the Aussie teammates ran Parkes’ backup board 300 meters up the beach, leaving Parkes with less than half the heat to get an 8.5 to advance. With only minutes remaining Parkes caught a wave and gave it everything he had, but came up just short, scoring an 8.0. Joubert and Dive advanced, relegating Parkes and Bromley to the repecharges.

In heat three of Boys Under 18 French surfer Maxime Huscenot, Brazilian Miguel Pupo, New Zealander Matt Hewitt and Costa Rican Carlos Munoz met for a grueling 20 minute bout. Within the opening minutes, Pupo and Huscenot took the lead. Huscenot grabbed the top spot with his second wave earning an 8.60 and then closed out the heat with an 8.73 for the win. Pupo placed second to advance and Hewitt and Munoz finished third and fourth respectively.

"You really had to be ive and choose only the good set waves today. The paddle back out is almost five minutes long. Having patience is almost as difficult as the surfing," said Huscenot after his win. "This is my third ISA juniors event. We have a really good team this year and we are having a great time in Ecuador."

Contest organizers ran four rounds of elimination repecharge heats with 88 surfers exiting the competition today. It was a difficult day for Germany and Ireland with both teams’ last remaining surfers losing their heats. Made up of 10 surfers, Germany had their largest team to date in an ISA competition. They will stay in Ecuador through the finals but will likely take advantage of the free time to check out the local sight, sounds and waves of the Salinas area.

Portuguese surfers Francisca Souza and Ana Sarmento kept their team in the Under 18 Girls as both of them made it through two rounds of repecharges today. USA surfer Kaleigh Gilchrist not only made it through both of her "do-or-die" elimination heats, but also earned the highest combined score of the competition for the Under 18 Girls with a 17.66.

Gilchrist’s wins helped lift the spirits of the USA team which had three difficult losses today. Standout Under 16 Boys surfer Evan Geiselman went down in his second repercharge heat against Peruvian Miguel Tudela, Frenchman Pierre Rollet and Venezuelan Felix Vargas. USA surfer Chase Wilson lost his heat in the Under 18 repercharges. Despite an injured ankle, Wilson was able to put two scores together but neither was big enough to advance. Fisher Heverly of the USA also lost his heat to Tahitian Haunui Aumeran and lone Nicaraguan Rex Caulderon. With three surfers exiting the competition today, the USA will have a challenging road ahead if they hope to be standing on the podium come Sunday.

Local Ecuadorians Johnatan Zambrano and Fabio Dapelo continued to charge through the repercharges today making for an exciting celebration on the sand at the southend competition area. Johnatan’s heart touching story will be included in FUEL TV’s half hour special on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship which will air this summer on FUEL TV.

Competitors will be back tomorrow for nine rounds of repercharges and the Under 16 Boys round four. The swell is expected to continue to hold through the weekend for the finals. Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. at Playa de las FAE beach in Salinas, Ecuador.

For more information on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, LIVE web, free photos and on-demand video highlights, visit quiksilver.com/isawsxrdcwrcseqcuyzercfcwetexsycq.

CLICK THROUGH TO THE NEXT PAGES TO SEE PREVIOUS DAYS’ PHOTOS AND HIGHLIGHTS.

After Day 4 of competition at the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships, the Round 4 heats are slated for all three divisions. The repercharge heats also got running today to determine which persevering competitor in each division can surf their way through ten repercharge heats to earn a spot into the main event finals.

On the girls side of things, the French, Hawaiians, and Australians almost all have their whole girls teams’ in to Round 4. The only other two women who aren’t from these countries are South African Bianca Buitendag and American goldenchild Courtney Conlogue. Round 4 for them will be a good indicator of whether they can break through the outnumbering.

Things are set to get underway once again tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., and it doesn’t look like the swell in Salinas, Ecuador is slowing down anytime soon. Make sure to watch the live webcast at quiksilver.com/isa and stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for constant updates. -Ryan Brower

DAY 4 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:

(Salinas, Ecuador) April 1, 2009 – A powerful 6-8 foot south swell slammed into la FAE beach today making for challenging conditions for surfers at the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. Amazing performances were turned in by the world’s best young surfers as they bravely fought through treacherous currents and clean up sets.

"We had some high scores today but for most of the competitors, it was really difficult," said Contest Announcer Gary Linden. "La FAE is one of the most consistent waves in Ecuador because it is the most exposed. When it gets big, it is often too big. In most contests, you are always hoping the swell will come up but in this one we are hoping it backs down some. Tomorrow and through the weekend will be really good as the swell fades and these kids are able to show more performance surfing."

Under 16 Boys teammates Carlos Muñoz and Jordan Hernandez found the right waves in their heats and showed the world today that Costa Rica is home to a stable of exciting junior surfers. The team’s star, Carlos Muñoz, is surfing in both Under 18 and Under 16 division. He could potentially surf an exhausting 20 heats this week.

The competition has gotten much tighter as the event continues on to the later rounds. Heat three of the Boys Under 16 was stacked with the future of surfing’s powerhouses as South Africans David Brand and Mikey February faced USA’s Kolohe Andino and Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau. In the end Brand took the win, followed by Andino for second, and February and Lau in third and fourth, falling to the repercharge rounds.

The standout of the day for the Under 16 Boys was Hawaii’s Keanu Asing. His experience in bigger waves proved to be advantageous in today’s conditions. Taking off on a solid 8 foot wave, Asing put together a combination of beautiful backhand turns, connecting to the inside and finishing off with a few more solid hacks in the shorebreak.

The French team currently leads the Under 18 Girls division with all four surfers still in the main rounds. Teammates Canelle Bulard and Justine Dupont ended up in the same heat today, but were able to both advance, taking first and second over Peruvian Nadja de Col and New Zealand surfer Rosa Thompson. French surfers Johanne Defay and Marie Dejean also made it through their heats to advance on to round four.

In heat three with the swell peaking, only eight waves were surfed between the four competitors. South African Bianca Buitendag and Australian Laura Enever were able to put together two scores a piece to finish in the one and two spots. Team USA surfer Lakey Peterson caught only one wave in the entire 20 minute heat. Peterson finished third and Hawaiian Nage Melamed finished fourth falling to the repercharge rounds.

Team USA surfer and former ISA World Junior medalist Courtney Conlogue placed second in her heat and will be the only USA Under 18 Girls surfer to continue on to round four of the main event. Teammates Peterson, Lani Doherty and Kaleigh Gilchrist will compete in the repercharge rounds starting tomorrow.

It was a difficult day for surfers in the repercharge heats at the secondary contest site with the increased swell combining with an onshore wind and bottoming tide. Organizers held only two rounds before postponing the Girls Under 18 repercharge heats until tomorrow when the swell is expected to decrease slightly.

Two of the leading teams, France and Hawaii, each saw one surfer from each team exiting the competition today, Dimitri Ouvre and Kyle Galtes bid farewell to the contest. Local Ecuadorian Fabio Dapelo kept his medal hopes alive taking the win in repercharge heat two over Hawaiian Tanner Hendrickson who finished second. Kai Ojima from Japan won his heat while teammate Taiki Kurokoshi finished second later in the round. Barbados surfer Lewis St. John kept his team in the running for the Under 18 Boys division, winning his heat over Tahitian Teiki Charles, Japan’s Kaishu Tanaka and Chilean Tomas Villegas.

In the Boys Under 16 repercharge heats at Podium 1, Jamaica and Ecuador had exciting wins. The two teams had surfers in the same heat back-to-back and both teams advanced to the next round. The reaction on the beach to their wins was electric as surfing is new to these nations and their surfers are having their most successful ISA juniors event to date.

Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. at la FAE beach in Salinas, Ecuador with round four of Under 18 Boys and Under 18 Girls, along with repercharge rounds for all three divisions.

For more information on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, LIVE web, free photos and on-demand video highlights, visit quiksilver.com/isa.

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With the swell really starting to fill in, and the sun taking it’s toll on the competitors, the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships has got the pedal to the floor. Day 3 of competition has set up the Girls U18 Round 3 heats, the Boys U18 Round 4 heats, and the Boys U16 Round 3 heats for Wednesday and beyond. The well-rounded nations are starting to rise to the top of the field as things are starting to get narrowed down and each heat is becoming more and more stacked with the best of the best young international surfers.

Though there is also still the repercharge, teams that are fairing very well right now are Brazil (all four Boys U16 and three Boys U18 still in), Hawaii (all four Boys U16 and all four Girls U18 sitll in), Australia (all four Girls U18 still in), South Africa (three Boys U18 still in and three Girls U18 still in), USA (three Girls U18 still in), and France (all four Girls U18 still in). Don’t get us wrong though, those medals are still up for grabs, as there is a lot of surfing still to be done.

Checking in with Team USA:

There’s been a few tough losses for the young Americans (Kaleigh Gilchrist, Ian Crane, and Evan Geiselman all in Round 2), but USA has still got a legitimate shot in each division. Courtney Conlogue, Lani Doherty, and Lakey Peterson are proving to be solid surfers on their backhand at the Ecuadorian left-hand point. Plus when Courtney breaks the nose off her board on her first wave in a heat (Round 2) and still wins the heat, you know she’s on her game. Conner Coffin and Kolohe Andino are seasoned competitors in international competition and are the two remaining Americans in the Boys U16 division. And the most experienced competitor on Team USA, Nat Young, is taking charge. The mix of a rippable fronthand point and the caliber of wins under his belt is a solid combination. But keep in mind, the Boys U18 Round 4 is stacked (Shaun Joubert, Nick Godfrey, Garrett Parkes, Dylan Goodale, and Maxime Huscenot, just to name a few), so it won’t be easy for the Californian. -Ryan Brower

Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for daily updates, photos, and videos of the ISAs, or head to quiksilver.com/isa to watch the event live.

DAY 3 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM DAY 2

OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:
(Salinas, Ecuador) March 31, 2009 – The surf picked up today, with the south swell making its first solid appearance at the third day of competition of the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Salinas, Ecuador. The left point at La FAE offered super fun four-to-five foot surf all day and Under 18 Girls and Under 16 Boys finished Round two. The Under 18 Boys also faced off on the south end of the beach at the secondary contest area for Round three and for the grueling, "life or death," repercharge rounds. Today saw some of the highest scores of the event as well as the first eliminations of the contest with 32 surfers exiting the competition.

"We had amazing waves today and so many of these kids really stepped up their game," said web commentator and 1989 ASP world champion, Martin Potter. "We saw the future of surfing come to Ecuador."

While all of the powerhouses have all team members still in the contest, 2005 event champions, Hawaii leads with nine surfers still in the main rounds. France and 2003 event champions Brazil are tied with eight a piece, while Australia has seven, the USA six and South Africa five.

The Hawaiians and the USA team went head-to-head in nearly every heat today. The teams have one of the greatest rivalries in surfing since the ISA recognizes Hawaii as its own nation because of the state’s historical contribution to the sport. In the end, Hawaii claimed the victory flag for the day but with all of USA still in contention it remains very much uncertain as to which team will finish higher at the end of the contest.

French Under 18 Girls surfer Canelle Bulard set the pace this morning, posting a combined 17.17 (out of 20), the second highest score of the entire contest. She kicked out early on her first two waves, each scoring under 1.0, but then found her spot on one of the larger sets, scoring an 8.0 as she demolished the wave on her forehand. As if that wasn’t enough, on Bullard’s next wave she posted a 9.17 to put the nail in the coffin.

"The heat was really good and I was able to catch two set waves," said Bulard. "I felt like I surfed them to my ability. My coach told me where to sit and he was right, the waves came my way. Our team is really strong and working together. Everyone is giving me good advice."

Last year’s gold medalist and Roxy team rider Laura Enever of Australia posted an impressive 16.66 total points for the win in heat five. Hawaiian Leila Hurst and USA’s Lakey Peterson each had high scores for first and second respectively in heat six, while South African Bianca Buitendag continued her quest for gold with her win in heat seven.

Brazil made a strong showing in the Under 16 division with three of their four surfers taking first. Tahitian Mihimana finished in second in heat two behind Brazil’s Caio Ibelli while the rest of the Tahitians Under 16 teammates were relegated to the repercharges.

Under 16 had a few share of big wins and big upsets. Moroccan surfer Ramzi Boukhiam overtook favored-Australian Matt Banting, along with local Ecuadorian Roberto Rodriguez and South African Slade Prestwich. Coming in third and fourth, Rodriguez and Prestwich still have a chance at the title if they are able to prevail through the repercharge heats.

The Moroccan team, representing one of the smaller surfing nations in the ISA, traveled with only two surfers to compete. Being without a coach or manager, the French team informally adopted the two and has been on the shore cheering on the Moroccans with the same gusto reserved for their teammates.

In the next heat, one of the closest contests of the day with all four surfers being separated by less than two points out of 20, USA’s Evan Geiselman and New Zealand’s Ben Poulter went down to Hawaiian Matt Costa and Costa Rican Jordan Hernandez. Geiselman and Poulter were unable to post a strong enough second score to advance. Matt Costa had the wave of the heat scoring an 8.83 which held up in spite of his low 2.60 second wave score.

The afternoon finished off with local Ecuadorian surfer Dominc Barona making history by becoming the first girl to make it to Round three of an ISA World Junior event. The home team couldn’t have been more excited and thrilled to learn that she had advanced.

Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00am at Playa de las FAE beach in Salinas, Ecuador with round three of Under 18 Girls and Under 16 Boys, along with repercharge rounds for all three divisions.

For more information on the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, LIVE web, free photos and on-demand video highlights, visit quiksilver.com/isa.