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Image 1 for ISA World Longboard Chamionships kicks off in Surf City El Salvador

Aussie Kirra Molnar. Pic: Pablo Jimenez

Image 2 for ISA World Longboard Chamionships kicks off in Surf City El Salvador

Kiwi Jack Tyro. Pic: Pablo Jimenez

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Aussie Declan Wyton. Pic: Jerrson Barboza

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Hawaii’s Kai Sallas. Pic: Jerrson Barboza

Image 5 for ISA World Longboard Chamionships kicks off in Surf City El Salvador

Italy’s Ginger Caimi - the youngest competitor at just 11 - and a first round heat winner! Pic: Pablo Jimenez

ISA World Longboard Chamionships kicks off in Surf City El Salvador

21 April 24

Excellent waves at El Sunzal for the opening day for the record 129 competitors from 39 countries. A bunch of the big guns from the US, Japan and Europe racked up heat wins along with Australia’s Declan Wyton.

Fellow Aussies Clinton Guest, Kirra Molnar and Tully White all took solid seconds, as did Kiwis Jack Tyro, Hannah Kohn, Gabi Paul and Matt Newdick – so all team members from Oz and NZ are through to the second round tomorrow.

Check the link at the bottom for the full scores and breakdown of the heats – and here’s the news release supplied by the ISA:

Returning and Aspiring ISA Longboard Medalists Commence Road to Gold as Competition Kicks Off in Surf City El Salvador

Surf City El Salvador – April 20, 2024: The long, open faces of El Sunzal provided the perfect canvas for the world’s best longboarders to shine on the opening day of competition at the 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Longboard Championship. Past ISA longboard medalists put on strong performances in hopes to regain podium positions, while those aspiring to earn their first ISA medal also asserted themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

Hawaii’s Kaniela Stewart was one of the standouts, earning the day-high heat total of 16.5 with an elegant combination of rail work and nose rides. Stewart, a contender for Gold in his ISA debut, showed the connection that he has built with El Sunzal after winning the WSL Surf City El Salvador Longboard Classic last year at the same venue.

Japan’s Kai Hamase kept pace with Stewart’s performance with stylish noseriding of his own that matched the day-high total of 16.5.

The top women’s heat total was earned by USA’s Rachael Tilly with 15 points, who earned a Silver Medal in 2013 and a Team Gold Medal in the event in 2018.

In the men’s draw, the decorated ISA medalists, France’s Edouard Delpero (15.67), Hawaii’s Kai Sallas (14.93), and Brazil’s Carlos Bahia (14.5), all looked to be medal favorites once again with high heat totals and an excellent-range ride for each. Delpero’s 9 point ride was the highest of the day.

South Africa’s Mbuso Zozi didn’t advance out of his Main Event heat, but he took the time to reflect on how rewarding his journey has been thus far in El Salvador.

“This experience has been amazing,” said Zozi. “Coming here was my first time on an airplane. I never thought that I would be able to make it here and it’s beautiful because you get to know a lot of nations and a lot of people. You learn from them and they learn from you. It brings the whole world together.”

Women’s top performers were two past ISA Copper Medalists, Japan’s Naomi Taoka (14.5) and France’s Zoe Grospiron (12.5). The two-time defending Gold Medalist, France’s Alice Le Moigne, earned a solid 14-point heat total to close out the day. Her 7.83 wave score matched Tilly for the best women’s score of the day and got her campaign for a third consecutive Gold off to a strong start.

Other past ISA medalists, Hawaii’s Honolua Blomfield and Peru’s Maria Fernanda Reyes, will make their debut in the competition tomorrow when Women’s Main Event Round 1 continues with heats 10 through 16.

Team Italy’s Ginger Caimi, the youngest competitor in the event at 11 years old, gave the world a glimpse of the future generation of longboarders with a first place finish in her heat.

“I like the wave a lot here, it was awesome,” said Caimi, whose favorite longboarder, Honolua Blomfield, is a fellow competitor in the event. “It’s a unique, amazing feeling (to surf among my heroes). Being small or big doesn’t matter. What matters is to have fun!”

Already showing promise at such a young age, Caimi is already looking ahead to the possibility of longboard being included on the program of the 2028 Olympic Games.

“It would be exciting to go to the Olympics,” Caimi added. “I would love to go!”

Team South Korea showed the global the development of longboarding and impressed in their debut appearance in the event. Dongkyun Kim and Leena Mun both earned first place in their respective men’s round 1 and women’s round 1 heats, the first ISA longboard heat wins for their nation.

The competition will continue Sunday 21st at 7 a.m. local time with the remaining heats in Women’s Main Event Round 1.


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