Tactical Burn, Shove + Leash Pull Ends In Tears, Disqualification + Fines At ISA World Juniors  - Stab Mag

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Tactical Burn, Shove + Leash Pull Ends In Tears, Disqualification + Fines At ISA World Juniors 

The young Portuguese surfer has since apologized for her ‘grevious unsportsmanlike conduct’. 

news // May 11, 2024
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Socrates’ downfall was hemlock, for most of us it will be the internet. 

A contentious ethical debate was not what you would expect to follow the completion of the ISA World Juniors U18 girls repechage round — nevertheless it did. 

Two days ago, Costa Rican Rachel Aguero faced off against Australian Willow Hardy and two Portuguese surfers, Maria Salgado Green and Erica Máximo White. 

With 50 seconds remaining, the Australian competitor needed a 2.4 to advance. Holding third priority and the best score of the heat, Willow spent her last minute frantically searching for an insider that would allow her a few wiggles to cobble the required mid-two.

But the 18 year old surfer from Carcavelos, Erica Máximo White – who was in fourth place and fourth priority — wasn’t going to let her teammate in second be relegated without first trying to place some serious sticks in Willow’s spokes…  

Erica proceeded to blatantly burn Willow on a measly insider, pushed her in the back, screamed in her face as she zig zagged to the shore, then in one desperate last ditch effort, jumped off and tried to pull the Australian’s leash.

“That’s disgraceful” – wrote filmmaker Dan Scott. 
“Maybe use your surfing to get through heats not trying to push others off waves. Hope Willow Hardy wins the whole event,” said Raya Campbell 
“Good sportsmanship never crossed her mind ….. 🤦‍♀️”, wrote ISA competitor Saffi Vette
“This is the worst behavior I have ever seen in a event,” penned 99’ World Champ Pauline Menczer

Clearly, very few saw the loyalty and team-spiritedness in Erica’s choice of actions, who had very little to gain other than ensuring the success of her teammate.

But ultimately even that failed, as the judges awarded Willow with a 2.7, seeing both Portuguese surfers eliminated before bearing the full brunt of a brooding online shitstorm and a very disgruntled governing body.

The ISA released the following statement in the aftermath:

“Following an incident in the 3rd heat of the Girl’s U18 Repechage Round 5 at today’s Surf City ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, the athlete Erica Maximo from Portugal was disqualified from the event, forfeiting her team points. In addition, the Portuguese Federation was fined. 

Maximo was seen to physically impede and verbally harass the surfer from Australia in a deliberate attempt to block her competitor from advancing in the heat. Maximo’s actions were intentional and repeated, and in clear view of the judges, webcast and general public. 

The ISA Technical and Contest Directors reviewed the incident firsthand and on video and deemed that Maximo’s actions were not only a grievous example of unsporting conduct but also damaging to the sport of surfing due to her misbehavior.”

Erica has since taken to IG in a tearshed address, apologizing for any wrongdoing.

“Yesterday we had a situation that I realize wasn’t my brightest moment. I committed an interference on the Australian surfer’s wave in an unsportsmanlike manner. That was not my goal, I just wanted to help my team but I recognize my mistake, and I am here to apologize to that surfer, the Australian team and the ISA. I want to make this video as an example for young athletes that these situations can’t happen.”

Follow along for more action here.

While I am reluctant to dispense sympathy to any pro surfer complaining about their job, I actually feel for Erica – who is presumably coiled up in a ball in a corner of an El Salvador Airbnb contemplating a digital detox after wearing nefarious stares and ropable DM’s from enraged surf parents for 48 hours straight.

Does the punishment outweigh the crime? Wouldn’t pro surfing benefit from more devious heat tactics and drama? Is Erica really the villian here or just a well-meaning, loyal friend you would call in a time of crisis?

We’ll hand that matter over to the wisdom of the crowd.

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Tactical Burn, Shove + Leash Pull Ends In Tears, Disqualification + Fines At ISA World Juniors 

The young Portuguese surfer has since apologized for her 'grevious unsportsmanlike conduct'. 

May 11, 2024
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