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Junior Team Members Advance Through Big Heats

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Two of the youngest New Zealand Junior Surfing Team members put on big performances today (Friday 1st November)  at the halfway mark of the Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.

13-year-old Ava Henderson (Chch) and 15-year-old Jayden Willoughby (Rag) advanced through two rounds of their respective Under 16 Divisions.  Both surfers are first-time participants at the event being held at Huntington Beach, California and both are slowly coming to grips with the enormity of the event comprising 44 nations and almost 350 surfers.

“Everyone shreds super hard and the level of surfing is so high this week,” said Henderson.  “I’ve learned to take it one heat at a time and not stress about how good the other competitors are because everyone is beatable” she added after advancing out of her final heat in first place alongside Australian Cedar Leigh – Jones.

“It was a huge day and I am pretty stoked with my performances.  The surf was only 2ft and it was onshore but there were a few fun waves out there and it is good to stay alive in the event” Henderson said.

Henderson is joined by Brie Bennett (Rag) who also surfed through two rounds, the two surfers set for a big day six where they could surf up to three times if they continue to advance.

Unfortunately, Bennett was one of two surfers that finished Taranaki surfer Natasha Gouldsbury’s run at the event, the two surfers getting pitted against each other in a 15-minute heat.  Gouldsbury finished fourth in the heat and 43rd overall.

Jayden Willoughby joins Tom Butland (Tara) in action tomorrow after he pushed through his heats today.  Willoughby started his final heat of the day with a 6.5 point ride but found himself languishing in fourth place for a short time, unable to find a backup wave until late in the heat.  The wave finally came pushing him into second and progression.

“In some heats, it took a while to get the best waves but I made it so that’s the main thing,” said Willoughby of his final heat.

“I was just trying to get the best waves and go vert I guess, and trying to play my own game at the start of the heats and not get into hassling with the other competitors” added Willoughby who suggests a similar strategy will be employed for his heats tomorrow with conditions expected to be similar.

The only Kiwi surfer in the Under 18s in action today was Jack Lee (Ohope) who surfed his fourth-round heat.  Lee lost his rhythm with the ocean and couldn’t find the good waves finishing fourth in his heat and getting pushed back to the repechage rounds where he will be back in action tomorrow.

Please see below for results from day five of the 2019 Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship being held at Huntington Beach today (Friday 1st November):

Under 18 Boys Main Round 4
Heat 4
Malakai Martinez, CRC, 12.83, 1, Cristian Portelli, SWE, 12.67, 2, Edoardo Papa, ITA, 11.17, 3, Jack Lee, NZL, 7.16, 4

Under 16 Boys Repechage Round 2
Heat 15
Jayden Willoughby, NZL, 11.27, 1, Lance Bourne, BAR, 7.93, 2, Neil Zouhir, MAR, 5.94, 3, Chen Chaoting, CHN, 2.84, 4

Under 16 Boyrs Repechage Round 3
Heat 7
Aarón Ramírez, CRC, 10.86, 1, Jayden Willoughby, NZL, 10.77, 2, Nico Coli, USA, 10.47, 3, Nazareno Pereyra, ARG, 9, 4

Under 16 Girls Repechage Round 2
Heat 3
Ava Henderson, NZL, 11.87, 1, Jasmine Porter, CAN, 10.03, 2, Wendy Velásquez, ECU, 4, 3, Maya Karl, PUR, 3.46, 4
Heat 5
Brie Bennett, NZL, 9.07, 1, Lisa Boos, GER, 7.5, 2, Clemence Checa, SUI, 3.54, 3, Génesis Borja, ECU, 2.23, 4
Heat 8
Kayla Nogueira, RSA, 10.06, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury, NZL, 7.6, 2, Kelsey Pitcher, BAR, 3.73, 3, Kenza Guemmi, MAR, 1.7, 4

Under 16 Girls Repechage Round 3
Heat 1
Ava Henderson, NZL, 8.07, 1, Cedar Leigh-Jones, AUS, 6.4, 2, Isabela Saldanha, BRA, 5.44, 3, Summer Sivori, MEX, 3.9, 4
Heat 3
Gabriella Knudson, HAW, 10.73, 1, Brie Bennett, NZL, 6.5, 2, Indiana Ferri, CRC, 3.8, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury, NZL, 3.5, 4

Please see below for the day 5 schedule (New Zealand times):

Podium 1 (Live webcast)
4:55am – Tom Butland – Under 16 Boys Repechage Round 4
6:10am – Jayden Willoughby – Under 16 Boys Repechage Round 4
6:25am – Ava Henderson – Under 16 Girls Repechage Round 4
7:10am – Brie Bennett – Under 16 Girls Repechage Round 4

Podium 2 (Live scores only)
3:45am – Estella Hungerford – Under 18 Girls Repechage Round 3
5:00am – Saffi Vette – Under 18 Girls Repechage Round 3
5:45am – Caleb Cutmore – Under 18 Boys Repecahge Round 4
11:00am – Jack Lee – Under 18 Boys Repechage Round 6
*TBC more heats to be confirmed depending on progressions

Caleb Cutmore, Jack Lee, Saffi Vette, Estella Hungerford and Tom Butland will have the day off.

The team is competing at the 2019 VISSLA ISA World Junior Championship being held at Huntington Beach, California, USA from the 26th October – 3rd November.  In 2018 the New Zealand Team placed twelfth overall.  Japan stunned the event winning the team title over USA and Australia.

The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 340 surfers from 44 nations in 2019.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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