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Kiwi Team Sits in Fourteenth with Two Days Remaining at World Junior Championship

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The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team suffered several blows at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships today as the event heads toward the final two days of competition.

Half of the twelve-person team were still in the mix at the start of the day but the team lost a further five members battling solid 1.5m – 2.0m conditions at El Tunco, El Salvador.

Going into the final two days, the team sits in fourteenth position overall with Tao Mouldey (Mnt) the lone surfer remaining in the event.  Mouldey will be up on Day 8 at 4:30am (Sunday NZ time) competing in the Under 16 Boys Division.

Today it was the youngest female of the team, Piha’s Leia Millar that put up the biggest fight, advancing through her first heat of the day with a heat win but coming up short in her second heat to finish the event 22nd equal overall in the Under 16 Girls Division.

Millar is the highest placed of the Kiwi females at the event and will take a lot from the event heading into future world championship events, especially with one year remaining in the Under 16 Girls Division.

“I’m super happy with my overall result, it would’ve been nice to have gotten through that last repechage heat but the waves were pretty tricky and I couldn’t quite get another wave in that heat” said Millar.

Christchurch surfer Jack Tyro was one of two Kiwis in the Under 16 Boys Division today and had his chances to advance but fell on a critical wave to finish third in the heat and end the event in 33rd overall.

“I struggled to catch a lot of waves during the heat as there were a lot big clean up sets that kept me from easily getting out the back” said Tyro in reference to the massive set waves in his heat causing him to have a 10 minute paddle out.

“The waves I did get were real good waves and I rode them to the best of my ability however the end sections were definitely a challenge as there was a lot of punch in the waves” added Tyro.

Tyro reflected on his first international campaign, “Something I can take home from the trip is that sometimes heats don’t allow you to surf the way you want to surf or catch the waves you want to catch but everyone’s in the same boat and sometimes you have to surf to what’s needed rather than going for broke.”

Spencer Rowson (Tara) was the second surfer in action and suffered the same fate as Tyro finishing in third and 33rd overall.  Spencer was left needing a low 3.28 to advance through the round but the solid conditions and big close out sets prevented him from hunting down the required score.

Rounding out the day were two of the senior members of the New Zealand Team in Kora Cooper (Rag) and Finn Vette (Gis).  Both surfers finished the event in 33rd equal in the Under 18 Boys Division.

Finn Vette was close to advancing with a 6.33 point ride in his score line and only needing a small 4.77 point ride to move through to the next round.

Kora Cooper was also close in his heat but a slow start had him on the back foot from the outset.

“The other competitors in my heat got waves straight away and I had to wait about six minutes for my fist one. I fell on the last turn then didn’t find a wave right until the end which wasn’t the score, the heat was close however, and I can learn from my mistakes for the next one,” said Cooper.

Both Cooper and Vette had spent much of the event competing at the La Bocana podium and the change to the El Sunzal podium had implications.

“The two venues are totally different.  From a punchy left to a point with a slow right made it hard to transition,” said Cooper.  “However, there were some that peeled around the point nicely and those were the waves to have high potential scores on. Unfortunately. I couldn’t find one of those gems” added Cooper.

The team will be down the beach to support Mouldey on the penultimate day of the event and Cooper couldn’t speak more highly of the Kiwi team atmosphere.

“The support the team gives out is amazing. From getting up early to watch teammates heats, the team chant before and after our heats, and cheering from the beach, really motivates all of us to paddle hard, not give up and keep fighting.  Also talking to Khan and Matt (coaches) before heats always puts us in a good mindset and hopefully this works for Tao tomorrow,” said Cooper.

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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