Hosted by New Zealand and attended by 21 countries representing the best young amateur surfers from around the world. After 8 continuous days of double elimination competition thru storms, and sun, and waves ranging form small to extra large, Finals Day came down to a face off once again between team Australia and team Hawaii. Although this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Hawaiians they found themselves in a battle for the GOLD with 4 heats remaining in the overall competition.
The key to the overall finish was to have surfers in the Finals of all three divisions.
Koa Smith advanced to the finals in the boys under 16 rounds.. Alessa Quizon advanced to the womens final for the second consecutive year,
In the under 18 division Keanu Asing, who was just 16 and was last years under 16 world champion just missed advancing in the repercharge semi final, while Tanner Hendrickson¹s valiant effort in the repercharge final fell just one point short of overtaking Gabriel Medina. Thus the Hawaiians were not represented in the under 18 grand finale and the odds of the young Hawaiians upsetting the Australians grew dim in the mid day sun. But its never over until the fat lady singsŠor paddles outŠ.or both..
Koa Smith faced off against Matt Banting from Australia in the under 16
final. Both had sites on the gold. Koa did well leading off with some
decent scores, then Banting overtook him and Koa returned only to have Jake Halstead bump into 2nd place at heats end, giving Koa a respectable 3rd place finish in his first year of ISA competition.
We did not know what we were in for until the last two minutes of the spirited girls under 18 final. The Hawaiians went ecstatic as Alessa Quizon ripped a midsize left straight up, blew her fins, and boosted air while landing perfectly near shore scoring a solid 8.3 that pushed her into first placeŠ..then with 35 seconds left Tyler Wright (last years world champion and Australian all star )answered with an 8.6 as the horn sounded. That gave Australia another gold medal and ultimately rewarded Australia another world championship trophy.
The under 18 Boys finale might have been anti climactic with the outcome of the world championship already decided..Not the case for Brazil¹s Gabriel Medina who saw an opportunity to put on a show worldwide.. with nothing to lose and so much to gain Gabriel Medina let it all hang out, driving huge bottom turn projectiles down the line while launching himself well above the lip, then air reversing himself cleanly thru the foam and landing perfectly ahead of the whitewater.. not once..but twice.. gaining a perfect 10 followed by a 9.9Š giving him a two wave total of 19.9. the crowd went wild as Gabriel paddled to shore. Nations united in honoring his amazing efforts and performance.
Surfing is not a sport of inches.. it¹s a sport of feet.. Feet that remain in control on the board in all sorts of situations.. Feet as in a measurement while flying above the lip and landing in troughs of swirling whitewater. Best of all, feats, as in fantastic feats when the pressure is on..holding nothing back when you are going for the Gold.. and this is what was most evident over the 8 days of competition in New Zealand.
The contest illustrated an amazing depth of surfing from riders around the world.
Hawaii finished the event in second place with a Silver medal.. these young Ambassadors of Aloha were far from favorites this year..and yet they gave everyone a run for the money. The team is primarily composed of youngsters that have time to grow and compete for years to come. They have gained more experience, more grace, more power and more hunger for the Gold and it was an honor for each of them to represent Hawaii and for the world to see.
The Verizon Wireless Hawaii Junior World Surf Team is supported by the private sector. The support from Verizon Wireless, Hard Rock Café Hawaii, and H20 OVERDRIVE makes their training, travel and community service programs throughout the state and a round the world possible. Coach Rainos Hayes and assistant Bert Ishimaru, coach Megan Abubo and Kahea Hart spend countless hours training and chaperoning and making sure these Ambassadors of Aloha represent Hawaii wherever they roam, paddle and ride. And we can be proud of our 2010 Silver Surfers.