Team Japan wins at ISA Vissla World Junior Champs
- Japanâs Keanu Kamiyama earns Boys U-18 Gold to boost Japan to overall Team Gold
- USA earns Silver, Australia Bronze, Hawaii Copper
- Rachel Prestiâs Girls U-18 Gold is first in history for Germany
- 13-year-old Caitlin Simmers earns Girls U-16 Gold
- Australiaâs Grayson Hinrichs earns Boys U-18 Gold
Team Japan made junior surfing history and earned their first-ever Team Gold Medal at the 2018 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Visit Huntington Beach.
Led by the individual Gold Medal performance by Boys U-18 competitor Keanu Kamiyama and four additional individual medals, Team Japan pushed ahead of Silver Medal Team USA to take the Junior Team World Title by a margin of 132 points.
Japanâs first-ever Junior Gold Medal performance comes shortly after a historic first Gold Medal for Team Japan in the World Surfing Games that took place in September in Tahara, Japan.
The exceptional performances by Team Japan across both open and junior divisions is a testimony to the extraordinary growth of Surfing in Japan since the sportâs inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Team Japanâs Gold Medal depended on the Boys U-18 final heat of the day featuring two Japanese athletes, Keanu Kamiyama and Joh Azuchi, and USAâs Cole Houshmand. Kamiyama and Azuchi shined in a closely-surfed heat and took the Gold and Silver Medals to lead Japan to the Gold. Houshmand earned the Copper, resulting in Team USA falling to the Silver Medal position. Team Australia earned the Bronze Medal and Team Hawaii the Copper Medal.
Joh Azuchi (JPN)
Cole Houshmand (JPN)
Australiaâs Grayson Hinrichs put on a show in the Boys U-18 Final. He jumped out to an early lead with a solid 7.5 and then waited until the dying minutes of the heat to earn his highest score of 8.6 to take the Gold Medal. USAâs Kade Matson and Levi Slawson respectively earned the Silver and Bronze Medals. Japanâs Riaru Ito finished with the Copper.
This is the best feeling of my life, Iâve never dreamed of this happening. Itâs the biggest boost of confidence to think that all the top surfers have won this event, and now I have done it too.Grayson Hinrichs
Kade Matson (USA)
Levi Slawson (USA)
Germanyâs Rachel Presti gave a standout performance throughout the whole event and earned the Gold in the Girls U-18 â" the first-ever ISA medal for Germany across any discipline. Hawaiiâs Keala Tomoda Bannertearned the top performance for Team Hawaii with the Silver Medal, followed by Japanâs Minami Nonaka with the Bronze. Summer Macedoâs efforts to earn her second ISA Junior Gold came to an end despite great performances in the event, earning the Copper Medal.
I am really happy to take it home for Germany, This first Gold for Germany means a lot. I want to encourage other people in Germany to surf and bring it to a global stage.Rachel Presti
Keala Tomodo Bannert (HAW)
Minami Nonaka (JPN)
The Girls U-16 Grand Final kicked off with a bang as USAâs 13-year-old Caitlin Simmers posted the highest wave score of the day with 9.17. The Japanese duo Shino Matsuda and Sara Wakita were never able to catch Simmers after her blazing start, finishing with the Silver and Bronze Medals, respectively. Spainâs LucÃa Machado earned the Copper.
It feels so good, Team USA is really supportive. Itâs an honor to be a part of the team. This is my biggest win. Since Surfing is in the Olympics, that is a new goal for me to strive for.Caitlin Simmers
Shino Matsuda (JPN)
Sara Wakita (JPN)
Gold â" Japan
Silver â" USA
Bronze â" Australia
Copper â" Hawaii
5 â" France
6 â" Spain
7 â" Brazil
8 â" South Africa
9 â" Germany
10 â" Portugal
Gold â" Caitlin Simmers (USA)
Silver â" Shino Matsuda (JPN)
Bronze â" Sara Wakita (JPN)
Copper â" LucÃa Machado (ESP)
Gold â" Grayson Hinrichs (AUS)
Silver â" Kade Matson (USA)
Bronze â" Levi Slawson (USA)
Copper â" Riaru Ito (JPN)
Gold â" Rachel Presti (GER)
Silver â" Keala Tomoda Bannert (HAW)
Bronze â" Minami Nonaka (JPN)
Copper â" Summer Macedo (HAW)
Gold â" Keanu Kamiyama (JPN)
Silver â" Joh Azuchi (JPN)
Bronze â" Luke John Slijpen (RSA)
Copper â" Cole Houshmand (USA)