April 21 - 27, 2024: Issue 622


Surfing Australia's Irukandjis Updates: 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Team Announced - Milla Brown Team Captain +  Irukandjis Team Now In El Salvador For The 2024 ISA World Longboard Championship

 17-year-old Dane Henry and 16-year-old Milla Brown who have been named team captains. Pics: Surfing Australia

Surfing Australia is excited to announce the 12 surfers who will represent Australia at the 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in El Salvador, next month.

The athletes have been attending a training camp at the Surfing Australia Hyundai High Performance Centre as they prepare for the waves of La Bocana and El Sunzal.

Surfing Australia Talent Pathway Coach, Peter Duncan, who is travelling with the Junior Irukandjis, said: "This camp is all about preparing them for the ISA's in El Salvador. We're going to throw different challenges at them, make sure they adapt and get the gist of what an ISA campaign is.

"The team consists of surfers from across Australia, who qualify either by winning the Woolworths Australian Junior Surfing Titles, winning the national rankings or through a wildcard system. The level of talent is unbelievable. These surfers are setting the benchmark in international standards, which is cool as well.

"The wave in El Salvador can be a nice, punchy kind of wave, which suits the Aussie style of surfing. We expect to see big combos and big turns and we expect the team to do pretty well. Sierra Kerr won individual gold last year. We ended up fourth overall but are hoping to get back into that top tier and take home gold this year. Isabella Nichols and Jacob Wilcox were in the last team to do that. And they're currently on the World Tour, so it's great to see the pathway and where you can get to from the ISA's."

14-year-old Charli Hately said: "This camp is about team bonding, figuring out what it's going to be like when we get over to El Salvador, heat drills and just having fun.

"Representing Australia on this team is amazing. I've never been to El Salvador before and I hear it's an amazing wave and the culture is amazing too. Our team is good on paper, so I think our chances are pretty good of winning. Sierra (Kerr) is amazing and has won it. I could only hope to do what she did."

17-year-old Dane Henry and 16-year-old Milla Brown have been named team captains.

"Being named captain is a huge accomplishment. I'm really keen to work with everyone. We have a really strong team and I think we have a good chance of getting gold so I'm hoping to get us there," Henry said.

"Looking forward to surfing with the crew and having as much fun as possible and hopefully leading the team to gold. It's a pretty big role, to be the captain alongside Dane, and pretty cool," Brown said.

The best junior surfers from every part of the globe will contend for medals at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, which will take place from the 3rd to the 12th of May. This championship has proved to be a direct pathway to the Olympic Games, with  Olympic Bronze Medallist Owen Wright, eight-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, two-time World Champion Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons among the past ISA World Junior Champions.

For more information visit the ISA event website.

2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship - Team Irukandjis:

U18 Girls
Milla Brown (Newport, NSW)
Willow Hardy (Gnarabup, WA)
Isi Campbell (Denmark, WA)

U18 Boys
Eden Hasson (Port Stephens, NSW)
Dane Henry (Fingal Head, NSW)
Fletcher Kelleher (Freshwater, NSW)

U16 Girls
Ziggy Mackenzie (Bilinga, Qld) 
Charli Hately (Tugun, Qld)
Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW)

U16 Boys
Lachlan Arghyros (Kingscliff, NSW)
Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough, WA)
Ocean Lancaster (Merewether, NSW)

Event Schedule:

*subject to change at any time at the ISA’s discretion

Pre-Competition: Friday, May 3rd

4pm - Opening Ceremony / next to Casa de Mar

Competition: Saturday, May 4th

7am-5pm - Competition @ El Sunzal and La Bocana

Finals Day: Sunday, May 12th

TBD - Finals

30min after competition - Closing Ceremony / behind Casa De Mar

Follow the team and the Irukandjis on Surfing Australia's Socials.

Surfing Australia is thankful for the support it has received from the Australian Government - through the Australian Sports Commission - to help enhance the Irukandjis medal chances at Paris 2024.

The Irukandjis are proudly presented by Hyundai.

Photos; Above: whole team and Top: 17-year-old Dane Henry and 16-year-old Milla Brown who have been named team captains. Pics: Surfing Australia

Irukandjis Team In El Salvador For The 2024 ISA World Longboard Championship

In related news, Australia’s Irukandjis longboard team has landed in El Salvador to compete at the 2024 ISA World Longboard Championship.

The event commenced on Thursday April 18 with competition to start on Saturday, and run until the 25th of April.

Team Irukandjis Head Coach, Belén Alvarez Kimble, said the longboarding culture in Australia has always been strong, both in competition and free surfing.

“The opportunity to showcase our talent on the world stage is something that we really look forward to,” Alvarez Kimble said.

“We’re thrilled to represent Australia as longboarders. Our team all have a good understanding of the wave and are seasoned ISA surfers. We have incredible talent representing our country, with excellent technical longboarding skills and traditional, impeccable stylish surfing – you just can’t teach that.”

A fundraising drive, led by Surfing Australia’s High Performance Program, has provided athletes with additional support leading up to the event and will help cover travel costs including for a coach and physiotherapist.

“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who donated and is supporting the longboarding culture within Australia. This year, for the first time, we’ve had extra funding. Athletes have been able to better prepare for the event and have that ongoing support while overseas that we know will help them immensely in their quest for gold,” Alvarez Kimble said.

The Irukandjis team comprises 2023 Australian Champions Kirra Molnar (Noosa Heads, QLD) and Clinton Guest (Bokarina, QLD), along with wildcards Tully White (Allambie Heights, NSW) and Declan Wyton (Manly, NSW).

The 2024 World Longboard Championship follows the record-breaking 2023 edition, also hosted by Surf City El Salvador, where 118 surfers from 33 nations were present to challenge for the world championship in pristine conditions at the world famous El Sunzal point.

Follow the event via the ISA website and our Surfing Australia's media channels.

Free Surf: 18 April 2024, Photos: ISA/Pablo Jimenez:

Event schedule

*subject to change at the ISA’s discretion

Pre-Competition - Thursday, April 18th

2:30pm: Press conference at Club Salvadoreño

7 to 9pm: Managers’ Meeting at hotel Acantilados

Opening Ceremony - Friday, April 19th

4pm to 5:30pm: Opening Ceremony / Behind Casa De Mar

Competition Day 1 - Saturday, April 20th to Wednesday, April 24th

7am to 5pm: Competition at El Sunzal

Final Day - Thursday, April 25th

TBD: Finals

30min after competition: Closing Ceremony / Behind of Casa De Mar

Here are 10 things you should know about the competition:

1. Record Participation

129 athletes from 39 nations will gather to compete for the Team Gold medals, surpassing the previous record, set last year in 2023. Current back-to-back Team World Champions, Team France, will return to defend their title.

2. Gender Equality

The 2024 WLC will be the closest ISA event yet to achieve equal men’s and women’s numbers. A record 48% of competitors (61 women) will compete and represent their nations.

In an effort to promote gender equality in surfing and promote women’s participation, the ISA adjusted its competition format in 2017 to offer equal competition slots for men and women across its World Championship Series. Since the 2018 edition, the WLC has broken the record for female participation each year, attesting to the growth of women’s surfing on all continents of the globe, and especially in longboard.

3. Can Alice Lemoigne Make it Three in a Row?

The two-time defending gold medallist Alice Lemoigne (FRA) returns to chase her unprecedented third gold medal. However, Team Hawaii will also be returning in full force, with three-time WSL Champion Honolua Blomfield (HAW) and 2023 WSL runner-up Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) no doubt bringing strong competition. The 2013 silver medallist and 2015 WSL Champion Rachael Tilly (USA) will also be reappearing for Team USA, while 2023 silver medallist Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) will be looking to back up her Santiago 2023 Pan American Games Gold Medal.

4. Returning Men’s Gold Medallists

Three returning men’s champions will be looking to increase their medal counts. 2019 World Champion Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente (PER), 2018 World Champion Kai Sallas (HAW), and 2010 World Champion Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) will come up against the likes of two-time silver medallist Ben Skinner (ENG), Declan Wyton (AUS), Edouard Delpero (USA), Kaniela Stewart (HAW), Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Pignataro (URU) and Rogelio Esquievel Jr (PHI), who are each hungry to claim their first world title.

5. Longboarding and the Olympic Games

The ISA has long recognized the potential value of longboarding in the Olympic Games. Now that (shortboard) surfing has been confirmed as a core sport in Olympic Program for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics, the ISA has formally submitted longboard to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the LA28 organizers for inclusion. A decision on longboard is not expected until the first quarter of 2025, which underlines the importance for the ISA and the longboard community of continuing to grow and develop the sport globally.

6. The History

Longboard was first held as an ISA medal division at the 1988 ISA World Surfing Championships (now the ISA World Surfing Games) in Puerto Rico. The discipline continued as part of the ISA World Surfing Games until 2013, when it was held as a stand-alone event for the first-time in Huanchaco, Peru. 2024 will mark the fifth time the global event will run, set to crown ISA Longboard World Champions in El Salvador for the second year running.

7. The ISA and El Salvador

Surf City El Salvador has become a massive supporter of the ISA and surfing, demonstrating itself as a true world class surfing destination. This will be the sixth major ISA event carrying the title Surf City El Salvador in as many years.

The 2019 World SUP and Paddleboard World Championship, the 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, and the 2023 ISA WLC have been joined by two qualifying events for the Olympic Games, the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, which was the final Surfing qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games, which was the second qualifying event for Surfing in Paris 2024.

The 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships will follow the WLC in Surf City El Salvador May 3 – 12.

8. Where to Watch

The live webcast will be streamed on www.isasurf.org from April 19 – 25.

Visit our website for results, team rosters, photos, videos, and news pertaining to the competition.

The event can also be viewed live on the ISA’s Facebook page: International Surfing Association.