Praia da Macumba Tests Kiwi Juniors Early at ISA World Championship

For immediate release

27th November 2023

From:  Surfing New Zealand
Sport: International Surfing
Event: 2023  ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
Divisions: Under 18 and 16 Boys and Girls
Date:   November 24-3 December
Location: Praia da Macumba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Websites: ISA World Juniors and Surfing New Zealand

Praia de Macumba Tests Kiwi Juniors Early at ISA World Championship

The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team has commenced their week long campaign at the ISA World Surfing Games in Brazil with two days of competition in challenging surf that has rewarded some but put others on the back foot.

Kicking off their campaign the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team joined 365 of the world’s best junior surfers in the Parade of Nations and the opening ceremony.

Celebrating the 19th edition of the event over 46 national teams, and over 200 team officials walked the beachfront of Praia da Macumba as thousands of fans cheered on. With Brazil holding the event for the second time in its history the Brazilian hospitality and surfing passion was certainly on offer. In a world first, junior competitors from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine are in attendance as are Romania with 2023 being the first time the country has ever entered an ISA event. In addition, 44% of the field in 2023 is made up of young women showing a growth in female high-performance surfing.

With the formalities nearly over and the pouring of the sands ceremony underway it was the kiwis who stole the show, who sticking with tradition, gave the crowd a rousing haka doing Aotearoa proud and putting New Zealand on the surfing map once again.

Opening day of the event saw Lola Groube of Pauanui take to the water in her Under 16 Girls heat. She put on a dominating performance, showing patience and experience well beyond her years as she advanced through to Round 2. “I am stoked to win my first heat an ecstatic Groube commented” the team vibe is awesome we went and saw Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana before the event and now we are all in game mode”. “Everyone’s ripping and I can’t wait for my next heat” she added.

Tao Mouldey of Mount Maunganui surfed his first heat on Day 1. Coming up against surfers from Sweden, Greece, and Argentina he put on a performance to be proud of holding Argentinian Thiago Passeri to second place and taking out the win. Tao advances to Round 2 of the Under 16 Boys.

Leia Millar also surfed her Round 1 Heat in the Under 16 Girls and put on a performance that saw her hold 2nd place and therefore advance in to Round 2.

Alani Morse and Alexis Owen placed third in their heats in the Under 16 Girls and Boys divisions and now face the arduous repechage rounds to advance through the event.

With the expected overnight increase in swell eventuating. Day 2 delivered pumping, four-to-six feet peaks to Praia da Macumba.

Although the sizeable conditions proved exciting for the crowd it turned out to be quite challenging for many surfers including members of the New Zealand Team.

The Main Round 1 of the Under 16 Boys was completed by Theo Morse of Raglan surfing in the 30th heat of the division. Although he put up a great performance, he was unable to get out of 3rd position in the challenging conditions and as the clock ticked down, he kept his 3rd place and has been relegated to Heat 16 Repechage 1.

With all Under 16 divisions now complete it was the Under 18s who took to the water with Kalani Louis of Taranaki getting underway in the 2nd heat of the Under 18 men’s. Unfortunately, he had a challenging heat and was unable to get out of 3rd place. He will surf again in Repechage 1 Heat 2.

His teammate Spencer Rowson also of Taranaki was next up in the event and although relishing in the solid conditions he was unable to find the waves with enough scoring potential placing 3rd and joining his teammates in the repechage round. He will surf in Heat 7.

Moving through to the Under 18 Women’s division it was Anna Brock of Mount Maunganui who took the lead in the testing conditions. With 2 small scores on the board, Brock was not far off only needing a 4.6 to progress. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and she will now get her second chance and redemption in Heat 4 of the Under 18 Girls Repechage 1.

With Podium 2 providing some good waves it was an inform Pia Rogers of Whangamata who took to the water in the 10th heat of the division. Putting to use her training over the past season she moved into 2nd place where she remained for the rest of the heat. This solid performance will see her advance to Round 2 where she will surf in Heat 5.

Rounding out the day for the Under 18 Women it was Tayla Green who absolutely dominated in her Round 14 heat despite the nerves. Speaking after her heat Tayla commented “it felt great to get a good first heat under my belt, the opening rounds are always nerve wracking but I’m feeling good”. She went on to add that the team vibe had been amazing and that having all that support really helps. After a great first effort Tayla advances to Round 2 Heat 8 of the Under 18 Women.

In what was to be the final heat of the day Navryn Malone (Raglan) took to the water in the Under 18 Men’s division. In what was a slow heat he put up a strong performance in Heat 30 narrowly placing 2nd to Gabriel Ljubicic of Peru. Post heat Nav commented “The waves were average, and it was a slow heat. There weren’t many waves that offered a lot which meant only 2’s and 3’s, but I made it so on to the next one”.  With this result Navryn advances to Heat 15 of Round 2 in the Under 18 Men’s division. On his first experience in Brazil, he added “It’s so much fun I’m loving it, the warm weather the water and the people, the vibes are high!

The 2023 WJSC will continue tomorrow at 6:30 am BRT at Praia da Macumba.

All Surfers in the New Zealand team will surf on Day 3 except for Alani and Spencer.

Please see below for the day 3 schedule
(All heats are 15 minutes and subject to change without notice)

Podium 1 (Times are in NZ Time)

MAIN ROUND 2, GIRLS UNDER 18  Pia Rogers – 11:30pm

MAIN ROUND 2, GIRLS UNDER 18  Tayla Green – 12:15am

MAIN ROUND 2, BOYS UNDER 16 Tao Mouldey – 3:00am

REPECHAGE 1, BOYS UNDER 16  Alexis Owen – 5:45am

REPECHAGE 1, BOYS UNDER 16  Theo Morse – 8:45am

Podium 2

MAIN ROUND 2 BOYS UNDER 18 Navryn Malone – 2:00am

MAIN ROUND 2 GIRLS UNDER 16 Leia Millar – 3:00am

MAIN ROUND 2 GIRLS UNDER 16 Lola Groube – 3:45am

REPECHAGE 1, GIRLS UNDER 18  Anna Brock – 6:15am

REPECHAGE 1, BOYS UNDER 18 Kalani Louis – 8:45am

About the event
The team is competing at the 2023 ISA World Junior Championship being held at Praia da Macumba, Brazil November 24-3 December.

In 2022 the New Zealand Team placed 13th

The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 365 surfers from 46 nations in 2023.

You can view the livestream of the event here

The schedule can be found here

About International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email

High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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Author: Dan Westerkamp