Huntington Beach, United States.– A perfect sea with waves of 3 to 4 feet gave the women their debut at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games on the third day of competition.
Sophie McCulloch – Australia. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez
Australia’s Sophie McCulloch set the pace in the main round 1 and continued with the highest heat of the day (16.43) in round two. The 2022 Van of Surfing semifinalist is enjoying representing her country for the first time since the US Open 2015 ISA World Juniors.
“When they asked me to come with the Australian team, I didn’t hesitate. We have a great vibe and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said McCulloch.
Nina Zvodchikova – Ukraine. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans
Two powerful backspins were enough for WSL Championship Tour (CT) Rookie of the Year Gabriella Bryan (USA) to earn a 9.00, the highest single wave score of the day. The only CT female surfer in the draw to pass the WSL mid-season cutoff, Brianne proved she has what it takes to back up her 2019 ISA World Juniors gold medal won in Huntington Beach.
Other former ISA World Junior gold medalists also won big in the main Round 2 heats, including Rachael Presti (GER), Wahine Fierro (FRA), Mahina Maeda (JPN), and Tessa Thiessen (FRA).
Although no qualifiers have been played yet, ten Tokyo 2020 Olympians were happy to advance to Round 3 of the main event.
Olympic athlete Anat Leliore feels like a girl again
When Anat Leliore (ISR) entered the water at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she had no idea she was injured, nor how long it would take her to return to international competition. However, the 22-year-old welcomes the experience.
“It’s fun to go back to racing. I feel like a girl again, like a dude,” she said. “I think it’s been good. I’m looking forward to 2024 and to continue my surfing career because I believe in myself. Represent Israel until the end. So far, so good.”
The surf community shows its love and support for Ukraine
The six surfers and three members of the Ukraine team each have a different story from their incredible trip to Huntington Beach, but one common theme is that they are extremely grateful to be here and able to speak on behalf of their war-torn nation. . In return, the international surfing community is honored to be able to show their support.
Nina Zvodchikova lives in the small town of Slavutych in northern Ukraine, which was invaded in March. The show of support during the opening ceremony was overwhelming for him.
“When Ukraine came on stage at the opening ceremony, suddenly everyone stood up. It was very loud, everyone was clapping loudly,” Zvodchikova shared. “It was so exciting that I literally cried with gratitude. It’s just amazing.”
ISA President Fernando Aguirre said:
“The international surfing community is huge and spans all parts of the world, but no matter where we come from, the color of our skin, the language we speak or the religion we follow, we are one family. We are united by our passion for the ocean.
“When one member of the family suffers, other members also feel it. The incredible support for Ukraine from all teams is testament to that, as is the pain we all feel this week after the devastating loss of our brother Kalani David. We’ll carry that feeling throughout this week’s competition.
“The level of women on the first day of competition has been incredible. There is much more action and excitement for us in the remaining weeks with the huge goal of Olympic qualification at stake.”