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New Zealand Junior Surfing Team Readies for World Champs

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A fresh-faced New Zealand Junior Surfing Team has touched down in California ready to tackle the World Junior Championship next week, the team including seven new faces amongst the country’s twelve top junior surfers.

The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is competing at the 2019 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship being held at Huntington Beach, California, USA.

Leading the way for the Kiwis are two surfers in the Under 18 Divisions – Saffi Vette (Gis) and Caleb Cutmore (Rag).  The two surfers enter the event for the final year before moving up into the open age category.  In 2018 Vette and Cutmore were the team’s top performers advancing well into the event finishing 16th and 13th respectively.

Vette comes off a great build up to the event which has seen her win her first Australasian Pro Junior event held in Australia earlier this month, a result that elevated her to seventh on the year-end rankings.  Vette backed up the result in the juniors with a career best fifth-place finish at the Mandurah Pro QS1000 in Australia last weekend which has seen her rise up the World Qualifying Series rankings to 141st.

Vette is competing at the event for the third straight year and will face some tough competition from the big nations including two Olympic qualifiers in Shino Matsuda (JPN) and Daniella Rosas (PER).

Cutmore has also spent time in the team for the last two years and his 13th place finish in 2018 at the same venue bodes well for a big result next week.  Cutmore has been based in New Zealand in the build up to this year’s event, most recently finishing runner-up to New Zealand teammate Tom Butland (Tara) at the National Scholastic Championships two weeks ago.

Butland is one of seven new faces in the team including Georgia Wederell (Mnt), Jack Lee (Ohope) and Luke Griffin (Mnt) in the Under 18s.  Jayden Willoughby (Rag), Ava Henderson (Chch) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) join Butland in the Under 16s.

The team will compete 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.

The 2019 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:

Under 18 Boys Division
Caleb Cutmore (Raglan)
Jack Lee (Ohope)
Luke Griffin (Mount Maunganui)

Under 18 Girls Division
Estella Hungerford (Christchurch)
Georgia Wederell (Mount Maunganui)
Saffi Vette (Gisborne)

Under 16 Boys Division
Jayden Willoughby (Raglan)
Tom Butland (Taranaki)
Tom Robinson (Whangarei)

Under 16 Girls Division
Ava Henderson (Christchurch)
Brie Bennett (Raglan)
Natasha Gouldsbury (Taranaki)

Please see below for schedule of events (New Zealand dates and times):

27 Oct – 6:00am – 8:00am – Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony

27 Oct – 11:00am – Potential start to competition
28 Oct – 4 Nov 3:30am – 1:00pm – Surfing competition – dual arenas
4 Nov – Closing Ceremony

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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