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New Zealand Junior Surfing Team Inside Top 10 – Five Kiwi Athletes Remain in Event

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The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team has held their position inside the top ten overnight as the World Junior Surfing Championship heads into the final stages in Brazil.

The team sits in ninth place after a good showing in tough conditions at Rio de Janeiro’s Praia da Macumba Beach overnight (Wednesday 29th November).

Five surfers remain in the event with the four female athletes of Tayla Green, Pia Rogers, Lola Groube and Leia Millar joined by Spencer Rowson.

Day five of the event was cut short by the incoming tide that rendered the small waves of under 1.0m unrideable in the afternoon.

Prior to the postponement, it was the senior girls that led the way for New Zealand with Tayla Green and Pia Rogers (WGM) advancing to the final 24 surfers in the Under 18 Girls Division.

Green posted an 8.17 point heat total to finish second, 0.03 point behind her Portuguese opponent.

“My game plan definitely was not to be waiting until the last few minutes to solidify my second score, but the conditions were slow and there was a chance of this situation happening, I just maintained calm breathing and didn’t panic” said the Australian based Green of her performance.

Green is joined in her Round of 24 heat by Pia Rogers who had to fight hard to advance out of her heat with a 4.63 point heat total.

“My last heat was pretty tricky and the waves were small. I tried to pump myself up heaps before the heat and just to think as the other girls as ‘coloured rashies’, said Rogers who finished in second place behind the French surfer.

Asked about coming up against each other in the next round, Green noted the option of working together in their heat, a feature that was prevalent throughout Day 5 action when other nations teammates drew each other.

“Depending on the conditions we will both look for a fast start and then start to build the house, if it comes to a priority situation where we can help each other out, we definitely will for sure,” said Green.

Taranaki surfer Spencer Rowson is the last Kiwi male athlete remaining in the event after advancing to the Round of 32 in the Under 18 Boys Division.

Rowson’s professional approach shone through in his performance again today as he picked off two good waves that allowed multiple turns, a rarity in the trying conditions, the waves netting him an 8.80 point heat total.

“Pretty happy to make it into the top 32 but I definitely have more to give. I feel more confident and comfortable than last year,” said Rowson who moved into the Under 18 Division this year.

It was Leia Millar (Piha) and Lola Groube (Pauanui) that rounded out the success of the team, both surfers advancing in the Under 16 Girls Division pushing through to the final 24 surfers.

Millar secured her progression on her final wave with a 4.07 which was enough to see her advance alongside the Spanish surfer.  Lola Groube survived a wave starved heat with the 12-year-old only managing to ride two waves, but they were more than enough to advance in second place alongside the Chilean surfer.

Five team members finished their 2023 campaigns at the hands of the slow ocean on Day 5.  Navryn Malone finished fourth in his Round 3 match up and had to settle for 49th overall in the Under 18 Boys Division.

In her first appearance at a World Junior Championship, Anna Brock finished the Under 18 Girls Division in 25th place at the hands of surfers from Ecuador and Venezuela.

In the Under 16 Boys Division, Alexis Owen (Dun) was advancing through his heat for much of the 15 minutes before he was overtaken by the German and Brazilian surfers.  Owen finished in 33rd place overall.  Tao Mouldey finished in 49th position in the Under 16 Boys in another challenging heat with the Mount Maunganui surfer only managing the one wave and requiring a meagre 2.61 point ride to advance.

In the Under 16 Girls Division, Alani Morse (Rag) battled the full tide prior to the event going on hold and finished the event in 37th overall.

Day 6 of the event is scheduled for an 8am start with officials expected to assess conditions to see if it is contestable first thing in the morning.  Conditions are expected to remain small with a slight bump in the swell on Friday (Brazil time).  The event is expected to finish two days ahead of schedule before the ocean goes completely flat.

You can view the livestream of the event here.  There is also a single camera live stream of the second podium without commentary via www.isasurf.org.

Day 6 Schedule (all times in NZT)
Podium 1
1:15am – Under 18 Boys Round 4 Heat 4 – Spencer Rowson
2:30am – Under 16 Girls Round 4 Heat 1 – Leia Millar
3:15am – Under 16 Girls Round 4 Heat 4 – Lola Groube

Round 5 heats from 4:00am subject to progressions.

Podium 2
12:30am – Under 18 Girls Round 4 Heat 3 – Tayla Green and Pia Rogers
Round 5 heats from 3:30am subject to progressions.

The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 365 surfers from 46 nations in 2023.  The divisions contested are Under 18 and Under 16 Boys and Girls.

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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