2014 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships Begin Today in Salinas
The world’s best junior surfers descend on Salinas, Ecuador this weekend as the infamous break at La FAE Beach plays host to the 2014 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships (WJSC) from April 5th to April 13th. Opening ceremonies and a parade of nations are on tap this Saturday, with the exciting surf competition set to begin Sunday, April 6th.
This year’s competition will take place during the 50th anniversary year of the ISA, which hosted its first WJSC in 1980 in Biarritz, France, where legendary surfer Tom Curren launched his successful career. Since Curren, there has been a long list of ISA World Junior Champions including current surfing stars Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, Gabriel Medina, Alejo Muniz, Filipe Toledo, Owen Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Laura Enever, and Tyler Wright.
The beach at La FAE offers a long, peeling left point break with a flat reef and sand bottom as well as a consistent punchy beach break for the double-area contest site. The best swells are from the south-west and west, with generally light offshore winds, sunny conditions, and warm waters the norm for this time of year.
“We are excited to return to Ecuador as the location couldn’t be better to hold the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship during the ISA’s 50th Anniversary year,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “Besides its welcoming people, warm weather and the amazing support of the Ecuadorian government, the area has a rich history that provides the perfect backdrop for the next generation of surfers to compete at the highest level,” Aguerre added.
Ecuador previously hosted the 2004 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2009 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship and the 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. Last year’s 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, held in Montanita, featured high profile participants, including 2012 and 2013 ISA Grand Masters Gold Medalist Sunny Garcia, and 2013 ISA Women’s Masters Gold Medalist Layne Beachley of Australia.
The 2014 World Junior Surfing Championship will showcase nearly 400 of the world’s best Junior surfers (under 18 boys and girls) who are competing for individual Gold Medals across four divisions — Under-18 Boys, Under-16 Boys, Under-18 Girls, and Under-16 Girls. The WJSC will also crown the prestigious overall ISA World Junior Team Champion Trophy. Teams that competed last year include: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Tahiti, Uruguay, United States of America, and Venezuela.
The logo for this year’s World Championship includes an image of the Sumpa Sun, which is a religious and mystic icon of the Sumpa Ecuadorian Paleo-Indian civilization that existed from 11,000 to 4,000 B.C. “Sumpa” is the native name of the Peninsula of Santa Elena where the event takes place. One of the first human groups to settle in Ecuador, and the only ones of this period discovered in the coastal region in the area, the Sumpa people based a lot of their life around the ocean. The logo not only pays homage to the ancient and rich history of the area, but it also provides a symbol to welcome young surfers from around the globe to enjoy and ride waves in the same ocean the Sumpa people based their lives around thousands of years ago.
“VISSLA is proud to present this year’s ISA World Junior Championship,” said Stokehouse Unlimited President Paul Naude. Naude continued, “As a global surf brand that truly embodies the cutting edge in performance surfing, we believe that this is the ideal venue to showcase the talent of top young surfers from around the world who will carry the sport forward for decades to come. It is especially meaningful to present this event in a country with such a rich history and surf culture as Ecuador.”
Photo Credits: ISA/Rommel Gonzales