Silver What Does it Mean?, A Return to Respectability!

The Silver medal for the Americans at the recent Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships is a huge statement for a revitalized US program that began earlier this year when Surfing America was granted National Governing Body(NGB) status by ISA at the ISA World Games in Ecuador.


I told the kids on this team as we were shooting the USA Surf Team in Tahiti photo with silver medal draped around their necks, “Twenty years from now this photo may signify the change that brought the US back to respectability, it’ll pave the way for some of you to be taken seriously when you “Show Up”! in a WQS quest to try and make the big show WCT 44″.

Just like those team shots of the ‘{{{80}}}’s inspired countless groms to want to make the team, with the Curren’s, Parson’s, Gerlach’s, Booth’s, Mearig’s, Holland’s, etc., in their Arena warm-ups motivating the Slater generation that mainland Americans could hold their own in international surfing circles. Those team photos had a huge influence on the re-emergence of American surfing led by Curren in the Eighties and I believe the same will hold true for the photo here.

At the moment, the US is still living off the Nineties “Momentum” generation of Slater/Knox/O’Connell/Beschen/Machado with a mini-surge in the late {{{90}}}’s of Hobgood’s/Lopez’s/Tim Curran keeping the US in contention, but up until this year with the Ward/Reyes breakthough, the first in half a decade it’s been a drought of new talent breaking through to the elite WCT 44 from mainland America.

The new look USA Surf Team may provide the stepping stone for the next era of US talent to emerge.

Interestingly enough the Brazilians have had their program, much like the Aussies in place for near two decades under the leadership of coach Marcus Conde and since Fabio Gouveia won the ISA World’s in Puerto Rico in ’88, most of the WCT Top 44 Brasileros have come through their National Team program. It’s their road to professionalism.

Most recently though the example of what National Team programs can provide from a point of view of preparing you for the pros, is the new WCT ASP Women’s World Champion Sophia Mulanovich. Earlier this year she represented her native Peru at the ISA World Games in Ecuador to win the the women’s individual championship and lead her country to a fourth place finish, their best in modern competitive surfing history. Sophia continued from there with an ISA World title under her belt to dominate the early events of the women’s WCT tour on the road to the ASP WCT pro championship and two titles in one year. It’s never been done before.

I dare say the new look USA Surf Team will offer the same opportunities for career development as a result of the silver success in Tahiti.

The QUIKSILVER ISA World Junior Championships 2004


2. USA5503
3. BRAZIL4588
4. HAWAII4283

MENS Under 18:
1. James WoodAUST
2. Jeremy JohnstonUSA
3. William CardosaBRAZIL
4. Ben DunnAUST

MENS Under 16:
1. Matt WilkersonAUST
2. Julian WilsonAUST
3. Joan DuruFRANCE
4. Tanner GudauskasUSA

1. Stephanie GilmoreAUST
2. Karina PetroniUSA
3. Erica Hosseini USA
4. Jessi Miley-DyerAUST

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