Hot In Here

Kolohe Andino

Conditions: 3-4 foot
Events Held: Mostly repechage today
Nature's Call: Smaller tomorrow but could be good on Sunday
Predictions: Anyone's game

You'd expect a country called sitting right on the equator to be hot, but for the last week temperatures here have been warm, but not unbearable. Today was different – not only was the sun scorching at La FAE, but smaller cleaner waves and do or die repechage heats made for a day that was on fire on the beach and in the water.

Case in point was the Under 16 Boys. Winning groms were forced into making the {{{300}}} yard paddle out 3 times and they seemed to get better and better every time they did it. Hawaiian powerhouse Keanu Asing and Santa Barbara stylist Conor Coffin both surfed incredibly well and took down highly touted Brazilian and Australian competitors. Asing's success was followed by that of the Hawaiian Under 18 girls surfers, Malia Manuel, Nage Melamed, Alessa Cuizon and Leila Hurst who are ALL still in the contest and whose performances has pushed Hawaii into the overall team lead.

Peru was also fired up on the performances of Carlos Maria Zapata and Cristobol de Col. De Col, a skinny goofyfoot with curly hair who looks and surfs like a young Rob Machado, threw tail all the way down the point but fell to a suspect judging call in the afternoon.

In the Under 18 Boys, American Nat Young continued his stealthy march through the repechage rounds and torched the inside section for a 9.7 in his last heat. "It's hard to tell when you take off which ones are going to line up on the inside," he said. "But the more I surf this place the more I'm figuring it out."

Just like they did for Young, things started clicking for his teammates. After suffering heavy losses on Wednesday and Thursday, the USA only lost one surfer today in Evan Thompson who was a victim of some heavy hassling. But with 5 of their surfers still remaining in the contest, the stars and stripes are in 4th place and are still in the running for the gold. Australia, who's won this event three years in a row, uncharacteristically had a shocker when two of their top prospects, Garrett Parkes and Matt Banting, got knocked out. How good are these guys normally? Parkes won the ISA Under 16's two years ago and Banting had made 36 finals in a row coming in to this event. Other Aussie standouts fell short as well and the team went from first place yesterday to a shocking 6th today.

"This contest could come down to the last heat," said Australian coach Mark Richardson. "There's so many teams that are still in it. We're going to come back."

In order to make it happen they'll have to make up a 700 point deficit on the last two days and move past France, South Africa and Brazil who are ahead of them. The French team lead by Under 18 surfer Maxime Huscenot and a strong girls contingent are having their best run ever at an ISA and, at 2nd place in the standings, have a great shot at gold.

With 6 teams all within striking distance we're looking at what could be the most exciting finish ever at the ISA's.

For updates on the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Juniors, stay tuned to, and