New Zealand’s Saffi Vette surfed her way to sixth at the Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship today (Monday 4th November), a truly courageous result after her campaign started in the worst way possible earlier last week.
The 17-year-old Gisborne surfer contested eleven heats throughout the week after her early exit from the main round of the event on day two. That meant she had to fight her way back through every repechage round, surfing as much as double the heats of some opponents she faced.
Vette contested eight heats in the last three days as the event neared a crescendo, advancing out of each one with steely determination as if the podium was an easily attainable end result.
Today, Vette pushed through one further round on the morning of the finals before incurring a soul-crushing interference in the semifinals with a podium finish in sight.
There was under one minute remaining in her semifinal with the Kiwi holding down second position. She took off on a small wave behind the heat leader Minami Nonaka (JPN) who had priority. It was deemed that she got too close to the heat leader and as a result of the interference she was scored on only one wave instead of two, effectively relegating her from second to fourth in the heat.
Progression looked well within her grasp with a 9.89 point heat total and her closest rival Sara Wakita (JPN) falling on her last wave with 50 seconds remaining but it was Japan that eventually went 1-2-3 in the heat.
Vette will now switch her attention back to the WSL World Qualifying Series with the final female events being played out in Australia at the end of the month.
The New Zealand Team finished in fourteenth place overall, two places lower than their 2018 campaign with hosts USA defeating Hawaii, Japan and Spain as the top four nations in 2019.
Please see below for final New Zealand results from day eight of the 2019 Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship held at Huntington Beach today (Monday 4th November):
Under 18 Girls Division Repechage Round 9
Sara Wakita, JPN, 16.43, 1, Saffi Vette, NZL, 11.67, 2, Sanoa Olin, CAN, 7.77, 3, Nyxie Ryan, AUS, 5.76, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Repechage Round 10
Minami Nonaka, JPN, 16.83, 1, Sara Wakita, JPN, 8.84, 2, Shino Matsuda, JPN, 7.93, 3, Saffi Vette, NZL, 5.93, 4
Under 18 Boys Division
Dimitri Poulos, USA, 15.33, 1
Alan Cleland, MEX, 13.23, 2
Tommy Coleman, USA, 12.1, 3
Joh Azuchi, JPN, 9.97, 4
Caleb Cutmore (NZL), 17th
Jack Lee (NZL), 21st
Luke Griffin (NZL), 65th
Under 16 Boys Division
Jackson Bunch, HAW, 17, 1
Taj Lindblad , USA, 10.53, 2
Afonso Antunes, POR, 10.5, 3
Ryan Huckabee, USA, 9.46, 4
Jayden Willoughby (NZL), 41st
Tom Butland (NZL), 41st
Tom Robinson (NZL), 65th
Under 18 Girls Division
Gabriela Bryan, HAW, 14.07, 1
Minami Nonaka, JPN, 11.53, 2
Noah Lia Klapp, GER, 6.66, 3
Sara Wakita, JPN, 5.23, 4
Saffi Vette (NZL), 6th
Estella Hungerford (NZL), 37th
Georgia Wedrell (NZL), 73rd
Under 16 Girls Division
Noah Lia Klapp, GER, 11.34, 1
Zoe Benedetto, USA, 10.97, 2
Betty Lou Sakura Johnson, HAW, 9.93, 3
Caity Simmers, USA, 8.16, 4
Brie Bennett (NZL), 25th
Ava Henderson (NZL), 31st
Natasha Gouldsbury (NZL), 43rd
9. South Africa
13. Costa Rica
14. New Zealand
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.
For further information on the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.
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