All Hawai‘i team members remain alive, including all six Kaua‘i competitors at the International Surfing Association World Jr. Surfing Championships in Maresias, Brazil.
Tyler Newton, Alex Smith, and Dylan Melamed of the boys 16-and-under division moved on in their heats yesterday.
“They’ve been learning the break and improving,” Dylan’s father Andy said.
Andy said he got up at 2 a.m. yesterday to watch the heats online. Both Dylan and Tyler fell in their earlier rounds, but they rebounded and moved into new heats.
In the 18-and-under boys competition, Kyle Ramey and Nathan Rex found success in their contests.
And Hanalei’s Bethany Hamilton cruised into the next round of competition in the 18-and-under girls division.
Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a shark attack in 2003, defeated Ariel Engstrom (Puerto Rico) and Victoria Ventura (Argentina), even though she was called on an interference with Ventura at the beginning of the heat.
“I was feeling nervous, especially starting with an interference,” Hamilton said. “It was a junk closeout, so I don’t know what I was thinking. But I think the competition will get harder and harder now so I definitely want to take it up a notch.”
Hamilton’s team, Hawai‘i, are the defending world junior champions and they will be fighting off strong challenges from USA, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and France to defend their title in Brazil.
The eight-day competition continues until Sunday May 14 when gold medals will be decided in three divisions n under 18 and 16 Boys, and under 18 Girls.
The scores of the top three athletes per division are added to reach the final ranking to decide the World Junior Surfing Champion Team, a title currently held by Hawai‘i.
The 27 countries competing in the event (in order of their placing in last year’s contest) are: Hawai‘i, Brazil, USA, Australia, South Africa, France, New Zealand, Tahiti, United Kingdom, Peru, Portugal, Japan, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Barbados, Jamaica, Chile, Canada, Italy, Germany, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay.
• Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.