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 of a 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 surfed 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!