Erin Brooks, Luke Swanson and Eweleiula Wong Win ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.
Nine incredible days of non-stop action in Surf City, El Salvador, featuring a record 419 athletes and 45 national teams at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.
The ISA (International Surfing Association) is the recognised organisation in relation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), they hold the keys for athlete qualification into the Olympic Games. The 18th edition of the event featured the best up-and-coming surfing talent from around the globe, reaffirming the premier stature of the event as a leading pathway to world class and Olympic surfing.
After nine incredible days of surfing, Erin Brooks, Luke Swanson and Eweleiula Wong have walked away as ISA World Junior Champions! Boosting Hawaii to number one on the leaderboard, for the first time since 2014. While Australia finished in second place, followed by the USA in third and France in fourth.
After an emotional loss in Main Round 3, Eweleiula Wong fought her way back through seven heats of surfing to find herself atop the Girls U-18 podium. The Hawaiian was mostly uncontested in the Final, a huge forehand gouge gaining her a lead that proved impossible for others to catch up with.
“I feel like all my hard work has paid off,” Wong said. “I think it all goes to Team Hawaii coaches, Shane Dorian and Chris Martin.”
It was a much closer affair in the Boys U-18 Final, with two Hawaiians battling it out. Luke Swanson finally found the air sections he’d been hoping for all week, taking Gold on the strength of two backhand tail-high air reverses.
“I knew these guys were so good that it would take all my effort and the best of my surfing,” Swanson said. “I just can’t believe I won. It was my goal, I wrote it down, but the fact that I actually achieved that, I don’t know what to say. I guess it’s just a testament to believing in yourself.”
It was almost a foregone conclusion that Erin Brooks would find herself draped in Gold. Despite little competitive experience, the 14-year-old looked unstoppable all week in the Girls U-16 division.
Looking to the rights of La Bocana for the first time in the competition, Brooks unleashed a series of under-the-lip hooks for an 8.60, before switching back to the left and allowing her forehand to garner an 8.17.
“All of the coaches were telling me that no matter what I was getting the first Canadian medal,” Brooks said. “But I wanted to get Gold.”