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Kiwis continue to dominate at ISA World Junior Surfing Championships

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For immediate release

7 May 2024

From:  Surfing New Zealand
Sport:  International Surfing
Event:  2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
Divisions: Under 18 and 16 Boys and Girls
Date:    3-12 May
Location: El Salvador
Websites: ISA World Juniors and Surfing New Zealand

Kiwis continue to dominate at ISA World Junior Surfing Championships

As the sun rose in El Salvador on Day 3 of competition the kiwis got ready to give it their all in their most important heats yet. Having already surfed twice in the tropical heat day 3 is often when fatigue sets in but putting up impressive performances on the third day of competition the kiwis have held strong with 6 of 10 surfers progressing through their respective matchups.

In the final heats of the Under 18 girls round 1, Sophia Brock of Mount Maunganui surfed to a 3rd place finish in her heat, starting the day in challenging conditions.” It was tricky out there she exclaimed post heat, there were definitely a few good ones, but I couldn’t quite get on them, super frustrating but heading into the repechage I will take what iv learnt from that heat and will give it my all”. Sophia will surf again in the repechage round of the Under 18 girls. Making the most of her time in El Salvador she said “I am loving El Salvador, the water is so warm the vibes are awesome and the team is really cool, Its such a special occasion”.

Indi Lee Ruddell took to the water in her round 2 heat which saw very few waves surfed. Rudell found 2 waves in the heat, a solid set wave and another smaller wave scoring a 5.5 and a 4.5 which saw her advance to the next round behind South African Louise Le Pront. “The long paddle back out is draining, the high temperatures are taking its toll, but I’m stoked to be here”. Indi Lee will now surf in round 3 heat.

Alani Morse came up short in her heat placing 3rd to surfers from the Netherlands and Australia. Morse found a 4.0 ride early but with just a 1.4 as a back she came agonizingly close to advancing with Australian Ocea Curtis holding just a 5.5, unfortunately Morse was unable to find the 2 required to advance and will now surf again in the repechage round.

Lola Groube rounded out the under 16 girls also surfing a wave starved heat. However, she found confidence early on with a 4.5 and a 5.1 to her name. With her Mexican and Dutch opponents failing to find any waves with real scoring potential a 9.6 heat total was enough to see Groube through the next round where she will surf against French and Dutch surfers in heat 7.

In the Under 18 boys, Taimana Marupo took to the water for his 2nd outing of the event putting on a dominant performance against his peers from Germany, Spain, and China. He placed 2nd behind German Kekoa Hummel. Using excellent wave selection Marupo picked off two of the best waves of the heat “The key is to get 2 good ones and hold your nerve, the waves are pumping all day every day so it’s pretty easy to catch too many waves and get fatigued plus the paddle back out takes forever, I’m just focusing on finding a few good ones and surfing them to their full potential”.

Tai Murphy put on his most dominant display yet leaving his opponents from USA, France, and Taipei well on the back foot. In what looked to be a wave starved heat Murphy commented “The heat started pretty slow, I was just focused on getting the first exchange, it took a while but once I got underway the heat went my way, I was in time with the sets and picked off a few bombs”. After an excellent display this morning Tai will now surf in Round 3.

Spencer Rowson of Taranaki also took to the water in round 2 where he narrowly missed out on advancing. A challenging heat he placed 3rd with a 5 and a 4.5 falling on a final turn which cost him the score. With this he fell short of the requirement to make it into round 3 and will surf again in the repechage rounds.

After an excellent result on day 2, Benji Lowen in the Under 16 boys looked strong coming into round 3 but it was not to be. Lowen, struggling to find waves with any scoring potential despite surfing 5 waves. Placing 3rd behind Colombian Romeo Chavez and Brazilian Levi Silva “that heat didn’t go my way but I’m loving El Salvador, the water is so warm and its totally pumping, the atmosphere around the comp is intense though, everyone’s dropping in, grabbing leg ropes, it’s pretty chaotic” Lowen will look to surf in his last chance heat in the next round of repechage.

Harrison Biddle was the 2nd surfer to take to the water in the Under 16 boys today coming up in the final heat of round 1. Surfing just 4 waves he made them count earning a 6.9 and a 6.8 for his patience. A lot of waves were ridden in the heat, but most were average, Biddle showed patience and excellent heat strategy as he picked off the 2 best waves of the heat, he looked unstoppable until the very end with only Canadian surfer Shea Bruhwiler coming relatively close with a 4.6. Harisson will now surf in Round 2 heat 16 against surfers from Spain, the Netherlands and Mexico.

Alexis Owen, surfing for the first time in the event, put on an incredible display of talent, getting one of the top heat scores of the day. With wave selection again coming into play Owen surfed 3 waves scoring an 8.2 and a 7.5 for his efforts.” The waves were super fun today, long bowly rights which suit me well”. I knew I needed to be on a big one, so I sat and waited, sure enough that bomb came through and that set me up for the heat”. On his 8.5 Alexis said, “I was so happy to get that first excellent score, getting that in a domestic event let alone International is pretty special so its really set me up, has given me a lot of confidence and will hopefully be getting plenty more!” Alexis will surf in round 2 heat 14 against surfers from Germany, Australia, and France.

Poppy Arkle and Ariana walker were the only surfers not to compete on day 3 with all kiwi surfers are likely to be surfing tomorrow Day 4.

La Bocana

Round 2 MAIN EVENT BOYS UNDER 16  ( Heats #10 to #16 )



1 REPECHAGE BOYS UNDER 18  ( Heats #1 to #6 )

El Sunzal

Round  2 MAIN EVENT GIRLS UNDER 18  ( Heats #3 to #12 )



1 REPECHAGE GIRLS UNDER 18   ( Heats #1 to #4 )

The team will compete at the 2024 ISA World Junior Championship being held in Surf City, El Salvador from the 3-12 May.

In 2023 the New Zealand Team placed tenth overall.

The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 340 surfers from 44 nations in 2024.

The 2024 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:

Under 18 Boys Division
Taimana Marupo (Mnt)
Spencer Rowson (Tara)
Tai Murphy (Whaka)

Under 18 Girls Division
Sophia Brock (Mnt)
Ariana Walker (Mnt)
Poppy Arkle (Piha)

Under 16 Boys Division
Alexis Owen (Dun)
Benji Lowen (Aus)
Harrison Biddle (Wgm)

Under 16 Girls Division
Alani Morse (Rag)
Indi Lee Ruddell (Whng)
Lola Groube (Pau)

Please see below for schedule of events (El Salvador dates and times):
(NZ is 18 hours ahead of El Salvador)

3rd May 4PM Opening Ceremony
4th May 7am-5pm Competition @ El Sunzal and La Bocana
12th May Closing Ceremony

You can watch the livestream of the event here

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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Follow Surfing New Zealand via all social media platforms – @surfingnz.

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