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Isa world juniors surfing

At its core, the ISA World Surfing Junior Championships is about spreading the stoke. Photo: ISA.

The Inertia

Editor’s Note: This piece is brought to you by our partners at the ISA.

Starting today, May 27, the ISA World Juniors will take place in Surf City, El Salvador at the surf breaks of El Sunzal, a long, righthand pointbreak, and La Bocana, a river-mouth wave with A-frames galore. And with plenty of swell in the water thanks to an active South Pacific, it should be quite the show. Catch all the action at

The last time the ISA World Surfing Junior Championship were held was in 2019 at Huntington Beach (thanks, COVID) so there’s a whole host of ripping groms who are frothing to make their name on the world stage. Former winners of the ISA World Junior Championships have gone on to do a lot – 33 of the 40 Olympic surfers in Tokyo were former ISA World Junior Championship participants, 16 of them medalists – so winning the ISA Juniors can be a massive springboard to a pro surfing career. In fact, the 2019 championships were won by Gabriela Bryan, who’s currently sitting sixth on the Championship Tour and has been on a meteoric rise through pro surfing’s ranks since.

Gabriela Bryan ISA

Gabriela’s strong and progressive surfing earned her the Women’s U18 gold medal at the 2019 World Juniors. Photo: Ben Reed/ISA.

Here’s how it works: participating countries are allowed to field a team of three athletes for each division – Under 18 Boys, Under 18 Girls, Under 16 Boys and Under 16 Girls. Athletes’ individual performances can earn them medals within their division, and the entire team’s performance will determine which country takes home top honors. In 2019, the USA won team gold, riding five individual medals to victory, followed by Hawaii, Japan, and Spain, respectively.

Before the action gets started, take a peek below to learn more about some of the top competitors this year, and be sure to follow ISA on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to stay tuned as the event gets underway.

Jackson Dorian Waco

Jackson, getting tube time at Waco. Photo: Jackson Dorian//Instagram.

Jackson Dorian

One hardly need to introduce Jackson Dorian. Son of surf legend Shane Dorian and certified wondergrom, Jackson never fails to amaze. At 15, he’s already landing tricks that most pro surfers can only dream of, and it’s only a matter of time before he starts competing against them, too. Born and raised on the Big Island, Jackson started out skateboarding and only picked up surfing about 7 years ago, but since has gone all-in, traveling, competing, and following in the footsteps of his father (Shane) and godfather, Kelly Slater. He’ll be competing on Team Hawaii at the ISA Juniors, and will certainly be one to watch – both for his entertaining performances in the water, and as one of the favorites to win the event.

Sky Brown Aerial Surfing

Sky Brown takes to the air. Photo: Sky Brown//Facebook.

Sky Brown

Sky is another rad young shredder who’s been absolutely on fire of late. She’s the youngest athlete from Great Britain to ever win an Olympic medal, taking the bronze in women’s park skateboarding at 13 in Tokyo, and she’s sure to bring that competitive fire and skateboarding style to El Salvador. Sky and Jackson Dorian have definitely been pushing their aerial games in wavepools and the ocean, so things could get interesting if conditions align.

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Bella Kenworthy

No conversation about ripping groms is complete without mentioning Bella Kenworthy. Daughter of legendary surf photographer Jason, the 15-year-old from San Clemente basically grew up in the world of pro surfing, traveling with her dad and getting to learn from the likes of Carissa Moore, Coco Ho, Kolohe Andino, and others. She’s been competing since seven, and similar to Sky, looks to bring her experience in skateboarding with her into the water. “Skateboarding really made it easier to learn airs in surfing,” Bella told The Inertia. “In skateboarding, you get a lot of repetition which you don’t really get in the ocean.” Her long term surfing goals? “To travel the world going on surf trips with my friends and winning comps and world titles.” We can see that.

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Sierra Kerr

Sierra Kerr, daughter of freesurf god Josh Kerr, is another ripping grom to follow. She’s been wowing the surfing world since she was nine, and now at 14 she’s competing in WSL QS events and getting shacked silly in waves that most of us only dream of. Growing up as the daughter of surfing royalty does have its advantages. If she continues to compete, Sierra could certainly set her sights on winning a world title someday. And if she keeps landing tricks like the StaleFish Air Reverse, above, it makes that possibility all the more likely.

Dimitri Poulos ISA Juniors 2019

In 2019, last-minute replacement Dimitri Poulos took home a gold medal, sealing the deal on Team USA’s victory. Photo: Sean Evans/ISA.

Along with the athletes outlined above, there’s a ton of interesting storylines to follow at the ISA World Juniors. Especially since it’s such an international gathering. Senegal and Thailand are both fielding teams for the first time this year, sisters Maxima and Candelaria Resano, daughters of Argentinian Maverick’s charger Manny Resano, will be hitting the lineup for their home country of Nicaragua, as well as hundreds of other groms from around the world, each with their own story.

Watch at where the event will be streamed live, starting today.


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