Surfing is a sport for the young, right? The teenagers with boards and time to ride.
Some teens grow up to be professional surfers and they dominated the International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games in Tahara (JPN), as two former teen winners took the gold medals.
In the men’s final, it was Argentina’s 2011 champion, Santiago Muniz – now 25 – who won the title, scoring 7.67 and 6.00 on his two best runs to compile 14.63 points and finish almost a full point ahead of Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi. It’s worth noting that Igarashi had the highest score on any single wave of 7.90.
The women’s title was a 10-year celebration for Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons, who won at age 17 back in 2008, but smoked the field with scores of 9.17 and 9.47 for a total of 18.64, way ahead of Paige Hareb (NZL: 14.66) and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag (12.30).
“It is the biggest buzz to bring the Gold back to Australia!” said Fitzgibbons. “It’s so meaningful to me to surf against my mates that I’ve known for as long as ten years. We all work so hard, so to share a heat with them under the green and gold flag is amazing.
“The Japanese crowd has been excellent. They are the biggest surf fans. It has been such a pleasure to come here and compete for them. Team Australia has built great momentum heading towards Tokyo 2020. I know that whoever represents Australia are going to do us proud.”
Japan won the team title for the first time and the top four place-winners in each division earned quot places for the 2020 Games. Summaries:
World Surfing Games
Tahara (JPN) ~ 19-22 September 2018
(Full results here)
Men/Final: 1. Santiago Muniz (ARG), 14.63; 2. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), 13.67; 3. Lucca Mesinas (PER), 12.94; 4. Shun Murakami (JPN), 9.96. Also in the top 10. 5. Kevin Schulz (USA).
Women/Final: 1. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18.64; 2. Paige Hareb (NZL), 14.66; 3. Bianca Buitendag (RSA), 12.30; 4. Summer Macedo (USA), 11.40. Also in the top 10: 9. Zoe McDougal (USA) and Caitlin Simmers (USA).
Team (Men and Women combined): 1. Japan, 3,368 points; 2. Australia, 3,093; 3. United States, 3,000; 4. South Africa, 2,703; 5. Peru, 2,605; 6. France, 2,598; 7. Spain, 2,528; 8. Argentina, 2,240; 9. New Zealand, 2,275; 10. Canada, 2,248.