Team Hawaii juniors look to add to medal count today at ISA Championships

With one gold in their pocket, the Team Hawaii junior surf squad will hope to add to its medal tally today in Azores, Portugal. It’s finals day at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships and the Hawaii groms are in third place with some good opportunities to move atop the podium.

After already securing the mid-event Aloha Cup victory, all eyes will now be upon this final session where juniors from around the globe still hope to experience that chair up the beach for the biggest moment of their young surfing careers.

It won’t be the biggest name who earns the most points for Hawaii, ever since Mahina Maeda was eliminated in round three of the Under 18 Girls division. But her departure just moves the spotlight to Brisa Hennessy, who is one of eight wahine into the semifinals. Hennessy can try to exact a bit of revenge for Maeda, who was knocked out by Vahine Fierro (Tahiti) and Raiha Ensor (New Zealand). Both of those opponents remain in the field as potential further spoilers.

Hennessy has been a major force throughout the week, piling up big scores round after round. She has certainly made a name for herself on this international stage as she now tries to grab another Under 18 Girls gold medal for Hawaii.

In the Under 16 Girls bracket, Zoe McDougal is the one still vying for the podium and not the more heralded Summer Macedo. McDougal has won three of her four heats, doing so with some nice totals amid the uneven conditions.

For the boys, a duo of veterans have paired nicely to make it this far. Kaulana Apo and Cody Young understood the format perfectly as they teamed up to help each other into the Under 18 Boys semifinals. Teammates are placed far from each other in the bracket so that these circumstances don’t happen early on, but Apo and Young found themselves in the same round five heat. Since the best case scenario would be for both to advance, they managed to use their priority for themselves or for the other, moving on in the top two spots.

The Under 16 Boys are all spectators at this point, with Barron Mamiya and Finn McGill going farthest with round five eliminations.

In terms of team totals, it’s France currently atop the standings with 7,825 points. Point totals are the maximum a team can still attain, so that number illustrates what France would earn if all remaining surfers got as far as possible.

Australia sits in second with 7,455 and Hawaii is third at 7,065. France has competitors remaining in two of four divisions, while Australia and Hawaii have three divisions still active, so there is a chance for plenty of movement up top.

Much has been made by the ISA of this being the first event since surfing has become an official Olympic sport. We could be watching some young talent that will also be on display four years from now in Japan. But the focus is all about today as the Ambassadors of Aloha attempt to scale the podium yet again.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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