Tim O'Connor, Team New Zealand : photo Daniel Smorigo
2006 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships
International Surfing Association
6 - 14 May 2006
(Scroll down for team reports)
NEW ZEALANDS MASON KEEPS KIWIS IN THE GAME
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 May, 2006 : - - New Zealands Airini Mason kept the Kiwi hopes alive on the penultimate day of the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships at Maresias Beach, Brazil. Mason surfed through three sudden death rounds to make it to the final six surfers in the Under 18 Girls. Her stunning performance spurred the Rip Curl New Zealand Team into second place in the semi finals of the tag team event giving the team two chances to gain world titles on the final day of the event, scheduled to take place over night.
Masons performances got better and better as the day went on. First up she placed second in round 6 to Australian surfer Kira Townsend, the two surfers disposing of local Brazilian girls. Next up Mason surfed to a heat score of 12.5 to win out over Australian and Hawaiian surfers. In her final heat of the day Mason scored 14.83 to get one back on Townsend who progressed in second with New Zealand team nemesis Lee Ann Curren of France finishing in third. Mason scored 6.83 on her first ride and then bettered that with an excellent 8.0 point ride to leave the other two girls requiring near perfect rides to catch up.
Mason will now face Kira Townsend for the third time alongside her fellow team mate Jessica Hickson and Hawaiis Monica Burn Wickey. To progress to the grand final Mason will need to place first or second in her next two heats. Making the final eight surfers betters Masons previous best result at the event a ninth placing in 2004 when the event was staged in Tahiti.
The last action of the day saw the Rip Curl New Zealand tag team take on teams from Brazil, USA and France. This format sees teams of five surfers from each country battle it out in a relay format. Each heat is one hour in duration with each surfer being scored on two of the three rides they are allocated. Each team also has a power surfer for which all three of their rides are counted.
New Zealand got off to the best start possible with Ryan Hawker (Piha) scoring a 6.83 and 7.83 to take an early lead. Billy Stairmand (Rag) was up next and the difficult conditions got the better of him as he posted two low scores. Power surfer Richard Christie followed and Christie surfed several good waves to put New Zealand back in the lead. With two surfers remaining New Zealand were in good shape with Tim OConnor out in the water. However in a strategic blunder, OConnor failed to claim one of his waves before running up the beach.
Officials made him paddle back out to get another wave leaving New Zealands last surfer Airini Mason with less than four minutes to get two waves and return to the team box. The ever reliable Mason did not fail to deliver as she picked up two inside waves in quick succession and made it back to the team box with only seconds to spare. The outcome was New Zealand scraping into second place and a finals berth on the final day. Final results: France was first (43.77), ahead of New Zealand (41.95) second, with Brazil (38.66) third and USA (38.38) fourth. In the first semi the results were Australia placed first (62.19 points), with South Africa (42.45) second, Hawaii (33.00) third and Tahiti (28.77) fourth.
The World Junior Surfing Championships is an annual event having been held since 2003. New Zealand has competed at the event since its inception as well as competing at the World Grommet Titles as it was formerly known since 1989. New Zealand has been one of the top nations at each event with Jay Quinn (Gis) securing New Zealands first World Championship in the Under 18 Mens division in 2001. New Zealand has placed 7th at the last two World Junior Championships. A record twenty seven countries will compete at the event in 2006.
Team New Zealand reports
# 1 : New Zealand Juniors set to take on the world in Brazil
# 2 : Captain Christie leads the way for team New Zealand
# 3 : Divers through to U16 last 24 for team NZ at ISA WJSC
# 4 : Mason last Kiwi standing in qualifying rounds of WJSC
# 5 : Conditions & tough competition take toll on Kiwi Team
# 6 : Team New Zealand: Mason keeps Kiwis in the game
Team news - Surfersvillage