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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Mon, 5 November 2018

It's all happening for Japan two years from the Tokyo Olympics with their first team gold medal at the world juniors, while SA's Luke Slijpen scooped a bronze in the U18 boys.


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ON A ROLL: Japan won the World Surfing Games and now the junior worlds. Photo ISA / Reed


Led by the individual Gold Medal performance by Boys U-18 competitor Keanu Kamiyama and four additional individual medals, Team Japan pushed ahead of Silver Medal Team USA to take the Junior Team World Title by a margin of 132 points on the USA's home turf of Huntington Beach.

Japan’s first Junior Gold comes not long after their historic first Gold Medal at the World Surfing Games in September in Tahara, Japan. Team Australia earned the Bronze Medal and Team Hawaii the Copper Medal. South Africa came 8th, which qualifies them for the SA Aloha Cup next year. The unique team relay surfing format is contested by the top eight nations from the previous event.

Slijpen was one of only two surfers in the U18 boys division who finished first or second in all six Main Event stream heats. He won his Round 6 heat to qualifying directly for the final. The 25 minute final saw gold medalist Keanu Kamiyama (Japan) off to great start with a score of 7.33 and he secured the coveted crown with a 6.33 later. Slijpen could not find the waves he needed, and the Capetonian was eventually overtaken by Azuchi and had to settle for third spot ahead of Cole Houshmand (USA).

 

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FIRST FOR GERMANY: This is the first medal Germany has won in a ISA event. Photo ISA / Reed


Slijpen’s haul of 730 points towards the team total saw South Africa finish the annual event ranked eight among the record 44 nations that attended, an improvement of three places over their result in the corresponding event in Japan in 2017.

Team Japan’s Gold Medal depended on the Boys U-18 final heat of the day featuring two Japanese athletes, Keanu Kamiyama and Joh Azuchi, and USA’s Cole Houshmand. Kamiyama and Azuchi shined in a closely-surfed heat and took the Gold and Silver Medals to lead Japan to the Gold. Houshmand earned the Copper, resulting in Team USA falling to the Silver Medal position.

Germany’s Rachel Presti made history in the Girls U-18 and earned the first ISA medal for Germany across any discipline, and this was gold. The Girls U-16 Grand Final kicked off with a bang as USA’s 13-year-old Caitlin Simmers posted the highest wave score of the day with 9.17. The Japanese duo Shino Matsuda and Sara Wakita were never able to catch Simmers after her blazing start, finishing with the Silver and Bronze Medals, respectively. Spain’s Lucía Machado earned the Copper.

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STANDOUT SURFER: Luke Slijpen won or took 2nd in all six main event heats. Photo WSL / Reed


Australia’s Grayson Hinrichs put on a show in the Boys U-16 Final. He jumped out to an early lead with a solid 7.5 and then waited until the dying minutes of the heat to earn his highest score of 8.6 to take the Gold Medal. USA’s Kade Matson and Levi Slawson respectively earned the Silver and Bronze Medals. Japan’s Riaru Ito finished with the Copper.

Hawaii’s Keala Tomoda Bannert earned the top performance for Team Hawaii with the Silver Medal, followed by Japan’s Minami Nonaka with the Bronze. Summer Macedo’s efforts to earn her second ISA Junior Gold came to an end despite great performances in the event, earning the Copper Medal.

The Boys U-18 Final capped off the day, where Japan’s Kamiyama paved the path to the Gold Medal for his team. Japan’s Joh Azuchi, the 2017 Boys U-16 Gold Medalist, followed his teammate Kamiyama with the Silver Medal in an emotional display of team camaraderie. Slijpen earned the Bronze and Houshmand the Copper.

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GOLD ON GREEN: Aussie Grayson Hinrichs blasts to a win in the U16 final. Photo WSL / Reed


TEAM RANKING
Gold – Japan
Silver – USA
Bronze – Australia
Copper – Hawaii
5 – France
6 – Spain
7 – Brazil
8 – South Africa
9 – Germany
10 – Portugal

Girls U-16
Gold – Caitlin Simmers (USA)
Silver – Shino Matsuda (JPN)
Bronze – Sara Wakita (JPN)
Copper – Lucía Machado (ESP)

Boys U-16
Gold – Grayson Hinrichs (AUS)
Silver – Kade Matson (USA)
Bronze – Levi Slawson (USA)
Copper – Riaru Ito (JPN)

Girls U-18
Gold – Rachel Presti (GER)
Silver – Keala Tomoda Bannert (HAW)
Bronze – Minami Nonaka (JPN)
Copper – Summer Macedo (HAW)

Boys U-18
Gold – Keanu Kamiyama (JPN)
Silver – Joh Azuchi (JPN)
Bronze – Luke John Slijpen (RSA)
Copper – Cole Houshmand (USA)

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