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Three Kiwis Alive in Main Round as Crucial Day of Surfing Looms

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Three Kiwi surfers have kept their hopes alive in the main round of the Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in California as they look to gun for a berth in the top 16 tomorrow.

Tom Butland (Tara) and Jack Lee (Whaka) joined Caleb Cutmore in the main rounds of their respective divisions today, on a day that saw five of their teammates get relegated to the repechage rounds.

The surf decreased in size at Huntington Beach, California with the 1.0m swell hampered by big tidal differences and sea breezes making afternoon conditions tough for many surfers.

Butland is surfing on a tender ankle which he injured while training at the event site over the weekend.  However, he managed to advance to the third round in second place with a heat total of 10.0 points today.

“I feel like I am surfing at 60%.  But hopefully, it gets better for my up and coming heats” said Butland of his injury.

“Conditions are hard, but not as hard as previous years, there’s currently no Huntington Hop happening on either tide which is epic” he added in reference to the famous bouncing action required to ride waves through to the shore-break in previous years.

It is Butland’s first time at the event and he has been inspired to surf better every time he watches his international opponents. “My game plan has stayed the same but has just intensified as the heats go on as the surfers you are up against are some of the best juniors in the world.”

Butland’s teammates in the Under 16 Boys Division were not so lucky being relegated back to the repechage rounds but Tom Robinson (Whngrei) and Jayden Willoughby (Rag) will be in action on day four as they look to further their cause at the event.

Jack Lee was the other Kiwi to advance out of his heat in the main round of the Under 18 Boys Division with a second-place finish to his French counterpart.  Both Lee and Cutmore will be back in action early on Thursday morning in a bid to reach the top 16.

After shock early exits in the main round of the Under 18 Girls Division, Estella Hungerford (Chch) and Saffi Vette (Gis) bounced back in their repechage rounds today with comprehensive heat wins.

Hungerford admitted to letting nerves get the better of her in the first round and even today she had to build confidence.

“It felt really good to get some decent scores, my surfing today was still pretty shaky, yesterday I let the nerves get to me and I’m still super gutted because I only needed to do one turn to get through that heat, but definitely feeling more confident after my heat today,” said Hungerford.

“Now that I’m in the repo rounds every heat could be my last so I’m just going to give it everything and hopefully catch the best waves and get through a few more heats” she added.

Vette followed suit after Hungerford posting a 13.5 point heat total to advance.

New Zealand lost its first surfer in the event with Georgia Wederell (Mnt) dropping out of the Under 18 Girls Division finishing in 73rd equal.

Brie Bennett (Rag), Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) and Ava Henderson (Chch) were all relegated to the repechage rounds and will have the day off on Thursday to regroup before their next matchups.

Please see below for results from day three of the 2019 Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship being held at Huntington Beach today (Wednesday October 30):

Under 18 Boys Main Round 2
Heat 16
Justin Becret, FRA, 11.54, 1, Jack Lee, NZL, 9.57, 2, Juan Ruggiero, ARG, 9.3, 3, Sélyann Zouhir, MAR, 6.73, 4

Under 16 Boys Main Round 2
Heat 1
Monnojo Yahagi, JPN, 15.87, 1, Nicolas Paulet, FRA, 13.9, 2, Yuri Barros, BRA, 9.4, 3, Tom Robinson, NZL, 8.94, 4
Heat 7
Noa Dupouy, FRA, 13.84, 1, Tom Butland, NZL, 10, 2, Tao Rodriguez, PAN, 9.17, 3, Manake’i Kahiha, TAH, 7.07, 4
Heat 15
Taj Lindblad, USA, 10.34, 1, Arkin Ido, ISR, 8.94, 2, Jayden Willoughby, NZL, 8.3, 3, Kainan Meira, BRA, 7.17, 4

Under 18 Girls Repechage Round 1
Heat 4
Estella Hungerford, NZL, 11.6, 1, Wang Xuemin, CHN, 3.9, 2, Dominique Charrier, CHI, 3.04, 3
Heat 6
Fanny Buhlmann, SUI, 6.44, 1, Alleau Ines Fiona, MAR, 4.97, 2, Georgia Wederell, NZL, 3.6, 3
Heat 10
Saffi Vette, NZL, 13.5, 1, Antonia Vidueira, CHI, 6, 2, Elvira Shvetsova, RUS, 0, 3

Under 16 Girls Main Round 2
Heat 3
Nanaho Tsuzuki, JPN, 8.7, 1, Zoe Steyn, RSA, 8.3, 2, Ava Henderson, NZL, 6.23, 3, Rachel Agüero, CRC, 3.06, 4
Heat 5
Ceara Knight, RSA, 12, 1, Sanoa Olin, CAN, 7.73, 2, Brie Bennett, NZL, 6, 3, Indiana Ferri, CRC, 5.37, 4
Heat 7
Kana Nakashio, JPN, 11.77, 1, Noah Lia Klapp, GER, 9.93, 2, Paulina Summers, CRC, 6.6, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury, NZL, 3.9, 4

Please see below for the day 4 schedule (New Zealand times):

Podium 1 (Live webcast)
5:15am – Caleb Cutmore – Under 18 Boys Main Round 3
6:35am – Jack Lee – Under 18 Boys Main Round 3
10:15am – Tom Butland – Under 16 Boys Main Round 3

Podium 2 (Live scores only)
3:15am – Luke Griffin – Under 18 Boys Repechage Round 2
6:00am – Estella Hungerford – Under 18 Girls Repechage Round 2
9:30am – Saffi Vette – Under 18 Girls Repechage Round 2
10:30am – Tom Robinson – Under 16 Boys Repechage Round 2

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.

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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