Hawai‘i surfers finish fourth

Hawai‘i, the defending Quiksilver International World Junior Surfing Champions, fell to fourth place in the finals on Sunday in Brazil.

Led by six Kauaians, Bethany Hamilton, Kyle Ramey, Nathan Rex, Alex Smith, Dylan Melamed, and Tyler Newton, team Hawai‘i wasn’t able to topple Australia, who won the 2006 title.

Smith was the top Kaua‘i finisher with a fifth place showing in the under-16 boys final.

“What an event! The best junior surfers from every surfing nation, great waves every day, the festive Brazilian spirit that we all love … diverse cultures, races and religions sharing the beach and waves, and competing just for honor and medals. Congratulations to all medallists,” ISA president Fernando Aguerre said.

Hawai‘i, which is the only non-country in the event, received an exemption to participate because of its storied history in the sport.

This year 27 countries and 251 athletes competed in the event. The final placings (in order of finishing) were: Australia, France, Brazil, Hawai‘i, South Africa, USA, New Zealand, Venezuela, Tahiti, Portugal, Peru, Japan, Ecuador, United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Spain, Barbados, Italy, Uruguay, Jamaica, Canada, Germany, Dominican Republic, Sweden and Guatemala.

The next Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships will be held in Portugal in May 2007.

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