Team Australia Crushes ISA World Juniors, Ending 11-Year Drought - Stab Mag

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Team Australia Crushes ISA World Juniors, Ending 11-Year Drought

Dane Henry bags Australia’s first U/18 title in 15 years, Vaihiti Inso wins Hawaii’s 11th gold medal.

Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Finals Day at the 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championship saw Australia end an 11-year dry spell with a show-stopping win—bagging the most dominant team victory in recent ISA history.

Dane Henry (who leveraged a successful GoFundMe campaign to pay his way to El Sal) and Ziggy Mackenzie snatched individual golds, with Fletcher Kelleher grabbing silver and Milla Brown a copper. Their squad dominated so thoroughly that they nearly clinched the team gold medal before Finals Day even started.

Perfect conditions at La Bocana set the stage, with clean four-to-six foot peaks transforming the lineup into a surfer’s paradise. The action heated up in Boy’s U/18 Round 5 as Dane Henry nailed a lofty air reverse for an 8.77, almost one upping it with one of his signature backflips.

On his journey to becoming the first Aussie Boy’s U/18 champ in over a decade, Henry managed a series of impressive heats, including a near-perfect 10 earlier in the week. Despite a lull in the final that pushed him to the Repechage Final, he rebounded with a vengeance, scooping more waves than anyone and sealing the deal with a 9.23 in the Grand Final.

“This is the best moment of my life,” an elated Henry said. “We learned we’d won gold before the semis and celebrated with a big ring of fire. It’s unreal. Best experience ever.”

Meanwhile, Ziggy Mackenzie’s last-second heroics in the Girl’s U/16 Final snagged her a medal, continuing Australia’s junior champion legacy. “I’m so stoked,” Mackenzie beamed. “We’ve got a powerhouse team, and it’s amazing to keep pushing and end up on top.”

Spain’s Dylan Donegan dazzled throughout the event, clinching the U/16 title with flair and praising the tough competition in Spain.

B2B wins for Spain in the U/16’s.

Hawaiian Vaihiti Inso shone in U/18, her powerful forehand carves earning her an 11th gold for Hawaii.

ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, wrapped up the event: “Incredible waves, incredible week. Thanks to El Salvador for the warm welcome. Congrats to all our champs, some of you are heading to the Olympics in 75 days, others have their sights set on Los Angeles 2028.”

Hawaiian girls account for the most gold medals in the WJSC. The pattern will continue thanks to Vaihiti.

RESULTS

Team Rankings:

Gold – Australia
Silver – Hawaii
Bronze – France
Copper – USA

Boy’s U/16:

Gold – Dylan Donegan (ESP)
Silver – Lukas Skinner (ENG)
Bronze – Thiago Passeri (ARG)
Copper – Alexis Owen (NZL)

Girl’s U/16:

Gold – Ziggy Mackenzie (AUS)
Silver – Clémence Schorsch (FRA)
Bronze – Louise Le Pront (RSA)
Copper – Eden Walla (USA)

Boy’s U/18:

Gold – Dane Henry (AUS)
Silver – Fletcher Kelleher (AUS)
Bronze – Rickson Falcão (BRA)
Copper – Ikko Watanabe (JPN)

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