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Junior surfers for world meet

Heather-Lynn Evanson

Junior surfers  for world meet

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TWELVE OF THE ISLAND’s top juniors have been chosen to carry the flag at the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships in Ecuador in April.
And an executive member of the sport’s local governing body feels it’s the best team the island has put together in recent years.
The eight boys and four girls represent a dash of youth mixed with international experience.
Leading the field in the Under 18 division are Dane Mackie and Joshua Burke, both fresh off successful overseas forays; Daniel Edghill who is no stranger to ISA surfing competitions and newcomer to the international stage Dylan Downie.
The Under-16 boys also represent a strong tour de force with “veterans” of the international surfing scene Che Allan, Zander Venezia and Andrew Rose. Rounding out that field is another newcomer Lance Blades.
The new faces in the girls’ divisions are Giselle Allan and Olivia Warden representing the Under 16 Girls and Roma Bellori and Gabriella Gittens in the Under 18 Girls.
The reserve for the Under 16 Boys is Caleb Rapson; Caelum Blanford is the reserve in the Under- 18 boys, while Jodie Burke is the reserve in both the Under-16 and Under-18 Girls.
 The surfers were chosen from points garnered from last year’s Surfer of the Year (SOTY) series.
Treasurer of the Barbados Surfing Association Louis Venezia feels the 12 surfers represent the strongest team the island had fielded in recent times.
“Our Under 16 team ranges from boys as young as 12 in Zander and the older boys are 14, so it’s a very young team and it will give them some experience while, with our Under 18 team, all of those boys, with the exception of Dylan (Downie) have been to the World Games two or three times already so they have experience already,” Venezia told NationSport.
“So it’s looking like it’s going to be a good team. Our kids are definitely making a mark around the world and we want to continue this on a world level,” he said, adding that the international experience would stand the surfers in good stead.
When the team journeys to Ecuador in April, the surfers will be competing against athletes from 27 surfing nations, including powerhouses United States, Hawaii and Australia.
With hundreds of surfers expected to descend on the South American country, the organizers will run simultaneous heats from two different podiums.
One of those podiums is long left point break, similar to Soup Bowl, while the other is a beach break reminiscent of Cattlewash, both in St Joseph.
As a result training might be concentrated on the East Coast, said Venezia.
“Our kids are very, very good on point breaks because we have so many of them. It’s the beach breaks we need to train with,” he said, adding that emphasis would also be placed on physical training to prepare local surfers for the long left point break which can limit surfers to two waves a heat.
Training is scheduled to begin in February and Venezia revealed the BSA was looking to raise sponsorship so it could fully fund the surfers to Ecuador.