Despite two chances to convert heat advancements into medals Cory Arrambide and Courtney Conlogue couldn’t pull it off both finishing third in their last chance repercharge heats after losing earlier in the day in the winners bracket. Both went to the last day without a loss an achievement in itself but not enough to get a medal.
Individually they both finished fifth in the world to be the US’s best performers in the 2006 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships.
After two years of medaling as a team and individually this is devastating result for the USA Surf Team program and emphasizes still how far the US program still has go the achieve a gold medal.
Although our team in Brasil was young it cannot be used as an excuse. The bottom line is our kids were not good enough in 2006 in the demanding conditions of the beachbreaks of Brasil and that proved to be our archilles heal except for in the Under 18’s where Arrambide, Eric Geiselman and Trevor Saunders held the own.
Hawaii last year’s ISA team champions had no finalists either, but still managed to hang in there for the copper medal for fourth place further illustrating the difficulty to repeat year to year and the depth of the talent internationally and how it has grown. Just like the Aussies after Tahiti the Hawaiians dropped from first to fourth.
The Aussies though in Maresias though were back with vengence, in winning form after their disappointing fourth place in Huntington Beach to convincingly take the team gold and four other medals, two gold with Julian Wilson winning the Under 18’s and Owen Wright the Under 16’s, Sally Fitzgibbons a silver in the Girls and Caleb R-Boquist a bronze in Under 18’s. They also captured silver in the ISA Cup tag-team which was won by the South Africans.
The big surprise though were the French who took team silver and their first ever gold medal with a last minute win in Girls from Pauline Ado who rode a man-sized wave backside with man-sized turns to take it away from the Aussie Fitzgibbons who had lead the entire final.
The Under 18 finals was an exhibition of junior surfing at finest in glassy, sunny six foot pumping conditions with winner Julian Wilson holding off South African Jordy Smith and Wilson’s Aussie team-mate Caleb R-Boquist whilst trading scores in the eights and nines amongst them, Frenchman Jeremy Flores had a struggling performance making many mistakes, but all of them with the level of surfing that was going down keep the final in doubt till the final horn sounded.
In under 16’s Aussie Owen Wright dominated and had the entire final combo’d mid-way the heat with a devastating performance that the other guys in the final couldn’t match.
The only positive for the USA was in finishing in the top eight nations which will qualify them in Portugal in the ISA Cup tag-team in May 2007.
But that’s the only positive!
Jordy Smith/South Africa
Shaun Joubert/South Africa
Airini Manson/New Zealand
ISA Cup Tag-Team