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The Inertia

It’s been a week of nonstop action down in Surf City, El Salvador, as the ISA World Juniors went down in stellar conditions at the breaks of La Bocana and El Sunzal thanks to a very active Southern Pacific Ocean as of late.

The event just wrapped up yesterday, with Team Hawaii finishing strong to earn its fourth Team Gold and the first time they’ve held that honor since 2014. They fielded a strong team this year, with the likes of Luke Swanson, Eweleiula Wong, Luke Tema, and Shion Crawford bringing home individual hardware that elevated their team to the top of the podium. Behind Team Hawaii, Team Australia gained silver, Team USA took the bronze, and Team France took home the copper medal.

Ewa wins for Hawaii

Ēwe Wong wins gold for Hawaii. Photo: Sean Evans.

In the U18 Girls, the story was a “Cinderella” one, with Eweleiula Wong coming out on top. The young Hawaiian had a tough road to the finals ahead of her after a devastating loss in Round Three sent her through seven rounds of repechage. That extra time in the water must have made something click for “Ēwe,” as she’s known back home, and she gained an early lead in the final that Lucia Machado (ESP, Silver), Hina-Maria Conradi (FRA, Bronze), and defending Silver Medalist Zoe Benedetto (USA, Copper) simply couldn’t match. “I feel like all my hard work has paid off,” Wong said. “I think it all goes to Team Hawaii coaches, Shane Dorian and Chris Martin.”

Luke Swanson ISA

Luke Swanson, majorly tweaked out. Photo: ISA/Sean Evans.

The U18 Boys was a much more strongly contested matchup, with Luke Swanson of Hawaii taking to the air to defeat fellow Hawaiian Shion Crawford. “I just can’t believe I won,” said Luke. “It was my goal, I wrote it down, but the fact that I actually achieved that, I don’t know what to say. I guess it’s just a testament to believing in yourself.” South African Luke Thompson took home the bronze, and Kobi Clements of Australia earned the copper, but neither was able to match the fiery performances of the two Hawaiians.

Mike Rodriguez Erin Brooks

Erin Brooks’ progressive surfing took home the win at La Bocana. Photo: Mike Rodriguez.

In the girls U16 matchups, no one looked more in-form than Erin Brooks, surfing for Team Canada. At just 14-years-old and with very little competitive experience, Erin showed an impressive competitive mindset, going both right and left at the beachbreak of La Bocana in a display of progressive and critical surfing that was very hard to follow up. “All of the coaches were telling me that no matter what I was getting the first Canadian medal,” Brooks said. “But I wanted to get gold.” She did, defeating USA’s Bella Kenworthy, who also looked in fine form, opening the finals heat with a fantastic score.  She finished with a silver. Bronze went to Mirai Ikeda of Japan, and 11-year-old Tya Zebrowski of France ended up with the copper medal.

Willis Wins Gold for Australia

Willis wins gold. Photo: Sean Evans.

Spain’s Hans Odriozola was the surfer to beat in U16 Boys throughout the competition, and Willis Droomer set out to do exactly that in the finals. Odriozola started the heat strong with two quick scores, but Droomer fought back with two high-scoring sevens that earned him the lead over France’s Inigo Madina who won silver, Luke Tema of Hawaii, who took bronze, and Odriozola who ended up with copper. “It’s the best event I’ve ever been to and I’m just so happy to bring gold home, not only for myself but for Australia and the Irukandjis,” said Droomer. “It’s a big name to live up to and a lot of pressure, but I’m stoked to come out on top.”

“As far as I am concerned, these are the best World Junior Surfing Championships in history,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “The best waves, the largest amount of competitors, the largest amount of teams and the largest amount of supporting crew that came along with the athletes. This event has been a huge success in uniting the junior surfers of the world in peace, through surfing, for a better world for everybody.”

For event replay action, click play above, and find more on isasurf.org and the ISA YouTube channel.

Results

Team ranking:

Gold – Hawaii

Silver – Australia

Bronze – USA

Copper – France

5 – Spain

6 – Japan

7 – Brazil

8 – Portugal

9 – Canada

10 – South Africa

Boys U-16:

Gold – Willis Droomer

Silver – Inigo Madina

Bronze – Luke Tema

Copper – Hans Odriozola

Girls U-16:

Gold – Erin Brooks

Silver – Bella Kenworthy

Bronze – Mirai Ikeda

Copper – Tya Zebrowski

Boys U-18:

Gold – Luke Swanson

Silver – Shion Crawford

Bronze – Luke Thompson

Copper – Kobi Clements

Girls U-18:

Gold – Eweleiula Wong

Silver – Lucia Machado

Bronze – Hina-Maria Conradi

Copper – Zoe Benedetto

 
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