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Young Guns in Ecuador - ISA World Junior Surfing Championships

A week or so ago a few of our young guns – Leo Fioravanti, Kanoa Igarashi, Noa Mizuno, Kehu Butler, Noe Mar McGonagle and Cody Robinson – competed in the 2014 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships at La Fae Beach, Salinas, Ecuador.

Leo Fioravanti represented Italy – as a team of one. So what was it like? Here’s what Leo had to say:

After 36 hours of traveling, I finally got to Las Salinas, Ecuador. I caught up with my good friend Kanoa Igarashi representing the USA team at the registration day and after some competitor photos and a video interview, we were finally able to get in the water. The wave is a left hand point break, long and really fun.

A couple of days later, the championships began with an opening ceremony – a two-mile walk along the promenade that ends in the town center. All the teams were there, and since I was the only person representing Italy, my mom Serena walked with me.

The parade gives you a chance to meet a lot of the kids on different teams. I met some of the cute girls on team Chile, also met Ulu boy Napeahi from Hawaii who also happens to be a tiger shark attack survivor from Hawaii. One of the standout teams in the parade was Japan – they were on fire and had so much fun.

When the contest started, I surfed my first heat on the beach break and dropped a 7.83 and a 6.97 to win the heat. The next day I surfed my heat on the point. The waves were fun, but inconsistent, so I started with an 8.00 point ride then a 3.00 and missed advancing by 0.60 point.

So it was repechage time for me with lots of heats to surf. My plan was to give 100 per cent and go all the way!

After going into the repechage, I knew had about nine heats to make before the final. So I put my head down, concentrated on not making mistakes and surf my best.

The first day of repechage I saw a shark right next to the comp site while I was free surfing. The announcer told everyone to ‘go in immediately’ and the contest was called off for the day.

After that for four days in a row I surfed three heats every day and made all of my heats. I surfed a heat with Kanoa that we both made which was cool. I made it all the way to the repechage 10. On the final day, the waves were big and hard to surf, but still looked fun. I paddled out for my heat all excited cause I knew if I made it I would be in the grand final, but unfortunately I didn't find any good waves and finished fifth overall. It wasn't the result I wanted but still happy to have made it that far!
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